HOW A LOCOMOTIVE IS BUILT
Railroad Man's Magazine1907
To describe the process of building a locomotive with full
technical details would require several books, and then something
would be overlooked In the article that follows the attempt has
been merely to give our readers a general glimpse of the interior
of a great locomotive works, a faint idea of the character of
the work that is required before one of these giants of the rail
emerges a finished product from the chaos of the foundry, the
forge, and the machine-shop.
Following the Growth of a Locomotive
from the Pig-Iron Stage to
the Day When It Goes Out Under Its Own Steam.
A VAST inferno, with myriads of blackened, shouting, sweating,
panting imps, some hurrying to and fro with flaming brands, dozens
poking at blazing fires, scores pouring their fiery hell-broth
from giant dippers, hundreds struggling with giant forms silhouetted
against the red, glowing mouths of seething fire caverns, thousands
in the darkness prodding great screaming, groaning, shadowy bodies
that seem to flinch and shudder! A realm of huge black monsters
which stealthily crawl up and down the enveloping shadows and
float noiselessly back and forth over your head or hover directly
above with unnerving nearness! A bedlam where deafening shrieks
and hisses and moans rend the fume-laden air, even above the continuous
thunder which issues, now with a rumble, now with a crash, while
the lightning flashes all about and the earthquake sways the black
Such is the impression made upon the visitor who for the first
time steps from the midsummer glare of Philadelphia's Broad Street
into the great shops of the Baldwin Locomotive Works. At first
he is dazed by the vastness of what lies before him, and then
he is appalled by the awful possibilities of the mammoth machinery
that looms up everywhere.
But once this first plunge into the seething sea of activity
has been made, he feels his veins tingle from the stimulation
of seeing tremendous things produced at incredible speed. So,
after the first hour spent in exploring the recesses and labyrinths
of this fascinating place, it becomes but a matter of refreshing
excitement to dodge a ton or two of steel swung noiselessly toward
one's head by some giant crane or thrown red-hot at your feet
from the door of a seething, furnace.
Nineteen Thousand Engine-Builders.
The Baldwin Locomotive Works is the largest locomotive
plant in the world. Last year its output was 2,666 locomotives,
together with duplicate parts equivalent to at least 100 more.
In other words, the total output equaled over 230 locomotives
a month, 53 per week, 9 per working-day. Making allowance for
holidays, about one locomotive was turned out every two hours.
An army of nineteen thousand men, divided into day and night
shifts, work in the great shops between sunrise and sunrise each
day. They comprise a body about equal to the population of Madison,
the capital of Wisconsin; of Sandusky, Ohio; Newport News, Virginia;
Lafayette or Richmond, Indiana; Paducah, Kentucky; Concord, New
Hampshire; Battle Creek, Michigan; Evanston, Illinois, or Burlington,
This great aggregation of men is more than half as great as
the personnel of the United States navy. If armed and equipped,
they, would form an army as great as the combined national guards
of New York and Ohio.
Adding the members of their families, we have a total of about
eighty-seven thousand mouths fed by the companyan aggregation
of men, women, and children as great as the population of Richmond,
Virginia, or Dayton, Ohio.
The 47 buildings in which they work comprise a floor space
of over 63 acres, and ring with the din of industry 23 hours out
of each 24 on week-days. The steam-engines which aid them in their
work have the power of 12,138 horses; the electric-motors, that
of 14,200; the oil-engines, that of 4,850a total equal to
the power of 31,188 horses, or of twice the number of mounts used
by all of the cavalrymen and mounted officers of our army.
These men work in the shops under the glare of 7,000 incandescent
and 951 arc electric-lamps. They consume per week 3,000 net tons
of coal, and 5,000 net tons of iron. From 1831, when Matthias
Baldwin founded the works, to July 1, 1907, they had turned out
31,000 locomotives, supplied to practically every country which
boasts any kind of a steam railroad.
Now I am going to take the readers of THE RAILROAD MAN'S MAGAZINE
with me on my personally conducted tour of this mammoth plant,
which I lately made as the result of unusual courtesies extended
to me by the proprietors, Messrs. Burnham, Williams & Co.
I am going to give you a word snapshot of every stage of locomotive
building, from the designing-room to the last stage in the process
of delivery to the purchasing road. To go into all of the details
I would have to spend the next year of my life in filling this
magazine from cover to cover.
First Step, Designing.
The specifications for a new locomotive having been
given to the firm, the first step is made in one of the two big
drawing-rooms of the plant, where about two hundred draftsmen
are at work. The specifications give detailed information as to
all principal dimensions, all special materials, and special equipment.
Each specification is copied into a great ledger about two feet
high. At the top of the page is recorded the classification number
of the ordered engine, and this number is a combination which
concisely describes the locomotive.
Let us suppose, for example, that it is "1030DNo.
442." The first number, "10," means that there
is to be a total, of ten wheels, "30" represents the
cylinder diameter in inches, "D" gives the number of
driving-wheels, and, " No. 442 " means, that the locomotive
designated is the four hundred and forty second of the above type
ordered from the firm.
Sometimes the specifications fill two pages of the big ledger.
From these data the draftsmen make the working drawings, the first
being a side view one sixth actual size and covering a sheet of
canvas-backed. paper about six feet long.
From this detailed drawing another, giving the cross-sections
of the same engine and its parts, is made. These two drawings
are the basis of all work in the shop.
From them separate drawings of the various parts are made on
a larger scale. These latter are traced, and "white prints"
are made by a photographic printing process. The latter are mounted
on heavy pieces of cardboard, varnished, and given the classification
number of the engine.
This number must later be marked on each part turned out of
the shops, so that there will be no confusion in assembling the
parts when the engine is finally put together. At the proper time
the detail drawings of the parts are distributed among the many
shops, and the real work of manufacturing the engine begins.
Making a Wooden Engine.
The pattern-shop is the first to receive drawings of all parts
which must be cast-molded out of metal-rather than forged. For
each such part there must be made a wooden patternan exact-size
modelwhich will afterward be pressed into wet sand so as
to make a mold.
These molds are made in the foundry, molten iron or steel being
poured into them and then cooled, after which this metal comes
out as a reproduction of each original wooden pattern.
We will next visit the boiler-shop. Here pandemonium reigns,
and you must be gifted in the sign-language of the "deaf
and dumb" if you wish to communicate with the representative
of the firm who is conducting you through. Steel-plate is here
used exclusively in making American locomotive-boilers, although
on many of the engines being built for foreign countries the fire-box
must be of copper.
No iron is used in either case, however. The steel is received
from outside steelworks in sheets of various sizes and thicknessessome
over twenty feet long.
You constantly see the great sheets sailing through the air,
held in the clutches of the big overhead traveling-cranes, whose
work is not impeded by belting, for the big boiler-finishing machines
are driven by separate electric-motors.
Preparation of the steel-plates for punching and drilling is
the first operation. Bear in mind that these flat sheets are to
be rolled into giant cylinders or bent into odd shapes for making
fireboxes and other adjacent parts. As you see them hauled out
by the cranes, you notice that they have been cut into odd shapes,
like the pieces of cloth out of which the tailor makes your clothes.
And, like the latter, they must be stitched together, not by
thread, however, but by rivets, to hold which rows of holes must
be provided around the edges. Each sheet is laid upon a great
table, and the centers of the holes marked out by standard gages.
Straight lines are first chalked out, and the centers of the
holes are then carefully spaced with absolute accuracy. The holes
are then cut around these marks, either by punching-machines or
drills. Foreign specifications require drilling, always, but American
railways usually require punching.
I saw five plates for as many foreign locomotives being drilled
at the same time. They were piled on one another, clamped together
on a big table, while four drills working at once were boring
out the holes wherever they were marked.
This operation was slow, compared to that of the stamping-machines
at work on American boiler-plates. Above each machine was a crane,
from which the plate was hung with chains, several men guiding
it and bringing the marks, one by one, directly within the field
of the punch. The latter had on its under-side a projection which,
when a lever was moved, would ascend and bite a round hole in
the edge of the sheet.
All punched holes are made smaller than the required diameter,
and must later be "reamed," or neatly trimmed out to
size, by the drills of the reaming machines. But the time for
both punching and reaming is less than for drilling alone, and
gives the same even finish.
Rolling Boiler Barrels.
The plates out of which the cylindrical shell, or "barrel,"
of the boiler is to be formed are trimmed off in a large sheering-press,
and the edges are planed on a plate-planer. They, are now ready
for the electric bending-roll, which consists of one great roller
poised midway above a pair of similar form.
The two lower ones are on the same plane, and the height of
the upper is controlled by large screws operated by gears. By
thus altering the position of the upper roll the plate can be
bent to any desired radius. It comes out of the press rolled into
a perfect cylinder, except that the lapping edgeslined with
the holes above accounted forawait to be joined by rivets.
But the great flat plates which form the fire-box are not thus
rolled into cylinders. They must be joined to form an irregularly
shaped case, and the edges to be joined must be "flanged,"
or bent to the desired angle.
If there is only one or just a few locomotives of a given type
to be built, the edge of each plate is placed in a fire, forced
by an air-blast, and when the desired heat is obtained the whole
plate is dragged upon a large table, whose front edge is rounded
and re-enforced by heavy metal. The desired width of plate having
been brought over the table's edge, a large metallic beam descends
and holds, the plate in place.
Then with heavy wooden mallets men pound the edge down until
the desired bend is obtained. Plates thus subjected to "hand
flanging" emerge from the flanging-machine rather warped
and bent. They are finally straightened out by being heated red-hot
all over and dragged from the great furnace upon a flat platform
where six men operating a huge hammer pound them flat. This hammer
is a heavy weight fastened underneath the middle of a long iron
bar, each of whose two ends terminates in a wide handle, held
by three men.
I saw the huge "back head" of a firebox thus being
"ironed out," so to speak. The six men operating the
great hammer protected their skins from the intense heat by turning
their coat-collars up and bending down the wide rims of their
felt hats, which steamed while they worked.
Where large orders for engines of the same type are being filled,
each of these plates is at one blow stamped out to exact shape
between the two dies of a hydraulic press. The diesa pair
for each machinemust be specially made, and are expensive.
Of course, it does not pay to make them where only a few plates
have to be given one special shape.
While I was in the flanging-shop a "throat sheet"the
lower front plate of a fire-boxwas being stamped out on
the largest hydraulic press of the works. This particular sheet
was one of eighty-eight, just alike, being manufactured for a
"A Fire-Eating Giant."
The flat plate of steel was first heated in a large
furnace. The signal being given by the skilled operative in charge
of the press, the horizontal furnace-doors parted like the jaws
of some fire-eating giant, a pair of long-handled pincers was
pulled outward by a reel, and the huge plate was thus dragged
upon a frame which held it between the upper and lower die, each
the reverse of the other.
The upper die was stationary, but the lower, actuated by two
large hydraulic accumulators, gradually ascended, pressing the
red-hot plate against the former. This was about the prettiest
operation which I witnessed in, the entire plant.
The ease with which the two great dies bent the immense plate
into shape did not seem so wonderful, however, when it was explained
that three hundred and sixty-five pounds pressure was being exerted
on each square inch of red-hot surface. Tube sheets, furnace door
flanges, smoke-box fronts, dome-rings, cylinder-heads, and many
other parts were being rapidly stamped out by smaller presses,
with a uniformity impossible in hand-work.
All of the plates, having been either rolled or pressed into
shape, are collected in the boiler-shop and prepared for assembling.
The roughened edges are planed off by special machines or are
dressed by chipping with a hammer and chisel. The flanged plates
have not yet received their rivet-holes, and these must now be
drilled or punched and reamed.
The boiler is then assembled into two principal partsthe
smoke-box and two front rings of the "barrel" forming
one, and the third ring and outer shell of the fire-box comprising
the other. The sheets comprising each part are first temporarily
united by bolts, placed through some of the rivet-holes.
Using Red-Hot Thread.
All parts being in position and a snug fit assured,
the parts thus basted together with bolts are taken to the mammoth
sewing-machines which permanently unite them with red-hot rivets
in lieu of thread. These riveters are operated by hydraulic power.
The largest are composed of two parallel uprights which rise
as high as the boiler to be joined is long. If you turned these
uprights to a horizontal position, you might imagine them forming
the mouth of a giant sewing-machine. The temporarily assembled
boiler is carried up and lowered gradually between them, one upright
being inside and the other outside.
On each upright is a horizontal die, one fed with red-hot rivets
and the other flattening their ends after they have been pressed
through the overlapping holes in the boiler. Thus the riveting
is started at one end and worked all the way to the other by simply
raising the boiler, which is suspended by chains from overhead
The movable die of the riveter is always on the outside of
the boiler, while the rivet-head is formed against the fixed die
on the inside. These great machines are practically noiseless,
and each one has its own furnace for heating rivets.
Three men swing the boiler into position and handle the machine,
while a boy looks after the furnace. When a boiler leaves one
of these big riveters, most of the riveting has been done, although
the inside shell of the fire-box has not yet been united with
the outside, and the front and back are still separated.
A twenty ton traveling-crane now hoists the two parts of the
boiler to the second floor of the shop. The rear halfthat
comprising the fire-box shell and third ring of the barrel, just
joined by the riveteris here placed upside down, and the
inside shell of the fire-box is, with the back-head and other
interior fittings, secured in place with bolts and nuts and afterward
riveted in so by hand, but mostly by small portable hydraulic
machines hung from cranes.
The inside fire-box and fittings having been thus riveted to
the outside shell, the rear half of the boiler is placed right
side up on pedestals, and the front half, previously finished,
is joined to it. The seam where the two halves unite is riveted
by hand, the rivet-heads being formed on the outside in a die
which is struck by heavy hammers, to the accompaniment of a deafening
The fire-box of a modern boiler is usually fastened all around
with stay-bolts hammered down at each end while cold. As the sheets
are assembled they are "calked" at the joints to prevent
This is done with a tool having a rounded edge which pinches
the plates tightly together without cutting the metal. The dome
having been mounted and the tube sheets inserted, the boiler is
now sent to the great erecting-shop to await the other parts which
are to form the completed locomotive.
Six Tons of Hell Broth.
The cylinder is one part of the locomotive that is
universally made of cast iron. The foundry of, the Baldwin works,
where cylinders, wheel-centers, and other parts are cast, extends
over the length of an entire city-block.
Down its center are placed a number of jib-cranes, and, in
addition, several small traveling-cranes which assist in handling
the molds and ladles. Here and there rises a "cupola"a
stack built of metal-plates, lined with fire-brick, and fed with
pig iron, scrap iron, and coke through a "charging-door"
about twenty feet above the ground.
Trucks containing the iron and coke are hoisted to a gallery
from which the cupolas are charged. The operation is started early
in the morning by building a coke-fire in each cupola, eighteen
hundred pounds of fuel being used to form a bed, on which are
placed alternate layers of coke and a mixture of "pig"
An air-blast produced by a large blower driven by a steam-engine
is forced into the cupola. The hot metal runs into ladles which
pour it into larger ladles holding twelve thousand pounds each
and swung to the molds on a large crane. The metal is poured steadily
until each mold is completely filled, and more is added as it
shrinks from cooling.
The mold stands for twelve hours, after which the casting is
taken out and relieved of the sand which has adhered to the surface.
Projections on the surface are also chipped off, giving each casting
a fairly smooth and clean appearance.
For modern Vauclain compound locomotives, the high and low
pressure cylinders and steam chest for one side are cast together
with half the "'saddle"the forked support of the
boiler. One of these castings weighs about eight thousand seven
How Cylinders Are Made.
The rough cylinder castings now leave the foundry and
are sent to the cylinder-shop, where the work of machining them
down to size is begun. All castings are made too large in the
rough, the exact dimensions being effected by various finishing-machines.
Each casting is first set on a planer, which takes a cut off
the end surfaces, upon which are then "scribed," by
means of gages, circles which indicate the exact interior diameters
of the cylinders and steam-chest. The casting is now sent to the
boring-machine, which bores out both cylinders and the steam-chest
at the same time.
As they come from the foundry the cylinders are about three-fourths
of an inch less in diameter than they are to be after the boring.
Three bores, and some times four, are made inside each cylinder,
the last bore being little more than a scrape.
The end faces of the casting are then turned up, and the inner
face of the saddle is planed to match the face of the corresponding
casting which it is to fit. The cylinder-heads are next clamped
and bolted in place, and the two corresponding castings are bolted
together, the two halves of the saddle now being united with the
pairs of cylinders on each side.
The "bushing," or ribbed interior lining of the steam-chest,
is then slowly forced into place by forty tons of hydraulic pressure.
This lining is thus made separate in order that when the "valve
seat" of the steam-chest becomes worn it can be replaced
by the provision of a new lining only, instead of an entirely
Drivers' in the Making.
The cylinders are now practically finished, and are
sent to the erecting-shop to; await the remaining parts.
We will now visit the great shop in which driving-wheels are
made. The centers, including hub and spokes in one piece, come
into the shop in the form of rough castingsgenerally steel
for fast passenger-engines, and iron for those of other classes.
In each casting the space for the counter-balance weight is
cast hollow, as is also the rim, which is split in four sections
to avoid undue strain while cooling.
Each casting is laid down on a rotating table, where the hubs
are "faced" and bored out to size and the keyway slotted
in each hub. The axles, always of hammered steel, are in the meantime
being turned and finished in lathes and being given keyways to
match those in the hubs, one at each end.
The diameter of the axle is made three-thousandths of an inch
less per each inch of the axle diameter than that of the hub.
Thus for a nine-inch axle the hub is made 8.973 inches.
The axle for each pair of drivers is held between uprights
projecting from a hydraulic press, and one of the wheels is set
up in front of it, the keyways exactly matching. While I stood
by one of these machines the operator daubed the end of the axle
and inside of the hub with black lead and oil.
The other end of the axle was placed against a wooden block
at the end of a hydraulic ram. The pressure was then applied,
and the ram slowly forced the axle into the hub, a gage at the
side of the machine registering a pressure of one hundred and
The axle was then turned around and forced into the other wheel
center by the same process. With both wheel centers now attached,
it was set up in a large electric lathe, which turned up the wheel
centers to the proper diameter for receiving the tires. Molten
lead was poured into the hollow counter-weight chambers and over
wedges which had been placed in gaps left in the rim.
Shrinking on Hot Tires.
The steel tires, which have been turned slightly smaller
than the wheel centers, were yet to be put on. A large furnace
door was opened and a hot tire dragged out, dropped upon a wooden
block, and lifted upon a wheel center, there being held in place
with great tongs while two brawny men drove it on with sledges.
At first it fitted on easily, as the heat had expanded it,
but after having been put firmly in place it was sprayed with
a stream of cold water, which cooled and shrunk it snugly to the
wheel center. The crank-pins were next inserted, and finally the
wheel centers received a coat of putty, which, having hardened,
was to be carefully sandpapered, and finally painted and varnished.
In a vast maze of other shops hundreds of connecting-rods,
which had come in from the steel-works in the form of rough castings,
were being forged under steam-hammers, trimmed on planers, grooved
by milling-machines. I saw also many planing-machines, each trimming
at one time eight castings of journal boxes of the same size.
Frames, of both wrought iron and cast steel, piled four deep
upon "vertical slotters," were being simultaneously
finished on the surfaces which were to be bolted to other parts.
Pistons, valve parts, eccentrics, springs, and the myriad other
sundries of the modern locomotive were being finished elsewhere
by scores of machines too complicated for description.
But before seeing the many parts finally united we must pause
in the tender-shop. It was not so many years ago that the tender
was little more than a tank and coal-bin set upon a flat car;
but to-day the Baldwins are turning out complicated tenders holding
as much as nine thousand gallons of water and sixteen tons of
coal, and weighing, when loaded, as much as eighty-five tons.
The work in the tender-shops is much like that in the great
space where we saw boilers being made. Great plates are laid in
rows upon tables, and men drilling holes along their edges are
followed by horseshoe-shaped pneumatic riveting-machines hanging
Two men swing each riveter along the seam, a third delivers
the red-hot rivets in a long-handled shovel, and a fourth picks
them up with tweezers and feeds them to the machine. Tenders are
begun on the ground-floor of this shop and finished on the fourth,
whence they are lowered on an elevator and rolled out to be joined
to their respective locomotives.
As a fitting climax to our tour within the works, we come last
to the great erecting-shop, the most awe-inspiring of all the
spaces visited. It is three hundred and thirty-seven feet long
by one hundred and sixty feet wide, and on a busy day we may see
here seventy locomotives, arranged in rows, all having their various
parts joined together.
Putting Them Together.
There are here two bays, each spanned by a pair of
electric traveling-cranes, one of one hundred and the other of
fifty tons lifting power. We will observe the assembling of the
parts of a single locomotive upon which work is now to be commenced.
A crane delivers first the cylinders and saddle, which we saw
finished from two castings joined together. This part is lowered
upon screw-jacks. Next there floats noiselessly down from above
the mammoth boiler.
The smoke-box shell is quickly bolted to the upper flange of
the saddle. The fire-box now rests upon jacks, and next the cab
is set over it, while work has begun on the insertion of the iron
tubes of the boiler, which have copper ferrules at the fire-box
ends. By means of a special tool operated by hand the tubes are
expanded on both sides of the honey combed vertical sheets through
which their ends protrude.
Meanwhile, the great frames forming the iron horse's backbone
have been swung into place by a crane. The two front rails, one
above the cylinders and the other below, are now bolted to the
The frame is then leveled, the guides and guide-yoke are put
in place, the running-board brackets are bolted on, and the air-pump
frame put in place. The boiler is finally secured to the frames
by a heavy girder.
All is now ready to put the driving-wheels in place. They are
set on a vacant track and are spaced the right distance apart.
Great cables of hemp as thick as your upper arm are wrapped twice
around the boiler, one at each end, and are grasped by the great
hooks of the one-hundred-ton crane.
A signal is given, and, like a newly launched air-ship, the
locomotive as thus far finished rises toward the ceiling, is maneuvered
about the crowded shop oftenthrough tight-places where there
is only a half-inch of clearanceand deposited gently over
the waiting drivers.
The journal-boxes are guided in between their respective pedestals,
the clamps are put in place, and the engine, with drivers secure,
is raised about a foot above ground and set upon the track.
The truck is now attached, nearly all the boiler fittings are
made secure, the throttle-pipe with its valve is lowered through
the opening of the dome-ring, and various other vital organs are
The Breath of Life.
Before leaving the erecting-shop each locomotive is
given the "water test" and "steam test." The
tank is filled with water, and calkers securely hammer together
all leaking joints or seams.
Next, steam from a stationary boiler is blown into the vitals
of the engine, and thus is life first breathed into it by its
makers. While it pulsates under its first steam, men go over every
part with lighted torches, and wherever a flame blows or quivers,
joints are tightened. In this test the steam applied must be ten
per cent greater than the working pressure of the finished engine.
Among the last steps are the "lagging" and "jacketing."
In the former operation the entire boiler and the top of the fire-box
are incased in panels of magnesia, an insulation preventing the
wanton escape of heat, and incidentally rendering life bearable
for the engineer and fireman.
Sometimes the cylinders also are "lagged" with pliable
magnesia cement. Over all of the lagging is finally placed a jacket
of sheet iron. After this the boiler is again connected with a
stationary steam-plant, and the engine is given three running
tests to make sure that the various parts are running properly
and in entire harmony.
These end the shop tests. The last fittings are now added,
the pilot is bolted to the bumper-beam, the steel monster is lifted
to one of the main tracks leading out of the works and is taken
to the plant's new roundhouse, on the Reading Railroad, near the
Ready for the World.
This great circular building, with its dozens of tracks
centering in a giant turn-table, is traversed by radial cranes
which carry the last fittings needed in the final finishing touchesstacks,
bells, parts of valve motion, final cab fittings, piping, etc.
Here the final painting is done.
The finished engine is now fired up for the first time and
is given a short run under its own steam. This is the newborn
monster's first step in learning to walk alone.
The time is now come for it to go abroad and make its own way
in the world, and its belongings must be packed for the trip.
It is stripped of its connecting and coupling rods, smoke-stack,
headlight, and some other fittings, which are packed in cases
and shipped to the purchasing company.
If it is sent abroad, its, cab is dismantled and snugly crated,
as are also the slabs of magnesia lagging. If it is a new type
of locomotive, its photograph is taken before it is thus partially
dismantled for shipment.
In the works I was shown a complete photographic plant for
doing this work. Negatives of every distinctive engine or engine
part are here made and prints filed.
With each single engine delivered by Burnham, Williams &
Co., or with each pair of engineswhen a group is sent out
at once a "messenger" is despatched upon the
road. Night and day this guardian must stay with his charges until
they are handed over to their purchasers.
Going to Its Master.
The cab of one of them is boarded up to afford him
comfortable quarters on the trip, which may be one of many days.
A bunk is fitted up on one side of the boiler, and he is allowed
a mattress and bedding, also a cook-stove, together with necessary
food-staples, as well as a per diem allowance for other
The new locomotives under his care are placed in between cars
at the middle of a freight-train, but the two engines are never
placed together. Cars must always intervene: The messenger must
see that all bearings are oiled and kept cool, and that everything
is maintained in prime condition during the journey.
If any emergency arises he must put the ailing locomotive in
the nearest shop. He must be prepared for all kinds of transfers
from train to train at all hours of the night, must keep off tramps,
must sleep with one eye open when he sleeps at all.
At the final destination he is met by one of the corps of expert
locomotive engineers regularly employed by the Baldwin works,
and this new custodian stays with the engine on the purchasing
road until it gives perfect satisfaction. Some of these engineers
have traveled all over the world, and when I visited the works
I was told that two were just starting for France.
Engines sent abroad are carefully installed in freight-steamers,
and need no "messengers" to attend them, as their wheels
are not running. But each is met on the other side of the ocean
by one of the company's engineers, who has preceded it on a passenger-steamer,
and awaits its coming.
Each foreign railroad ordering engines from Baldwin's sends
an inspector, who watches the progress of construction. Recently
a road in the Sudan sent a rush order for four or five locomotives.
Not realizing the rapidity with which locomotives could be turned
out by the Yankee plant, this road did not hurry its inspector.
When he did finally show up he was astonished to find his engines
completed and ready for delivery.
The record for building a locomotive at the Baldwin worksfrom
start to finish iseight days.
| Build a Locomotive