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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Iron Pony: 1905

Iron Pony: 1905

New Zealand circa 1905. "E class locomotive, E 66, at the Petone Railway Workshops, with William Godber standing on the front. Known as 'Pearson's Dream,' designed by G.A. Pearson, and built in 1905 for use on the Rimutaka Incline; written off in 1917." Glass negative by A.P. Godber. View full size.

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Almost a Meyer 2-6-6-0

E 66's wheel arrangement was 2-6-6-0. Unlike a Mallet articulated, both its engine units were arranged as pivoting bogies, and the boiler, tanks, cab and bunker were carried on a separate frame. In that respect E66 is best described as a form of Meyer articulated, although the drawgear was attached to the main frame in the manner of a Du Bosquet loco. This photo shows the frame and engine units:

It also had a Vanderbilt patent firebox, which was a circular, stayless, dryback design derived from marine practice. In the confined space of E 66's cab the crew suffered badly from the excess heat generated by this type of firebox. This photo shows the firebox without its backplate:

All in all a rather peculiar design.


E 66 was the only locomotive of its class and therefore unique. It was experimental, and was powerful, but due to its high consumption of coal no more of that class were built. See this.

Tablet Anyone?

The object on the cab-side is a tablet catcher. It swings out through 90 degrees to allow an automatic exchange of single line tablets (or tokens). Common on Scottish single line railways, right up to the diesel era. It meant that you did not need to slow to walking pace for an exchange to take place.

Third cylinder is the valve - and a correction

The third cylinder you see tucked inside the smaller high pressure cylinder on the bottom is the valve that routed steam to the high/low pressure cylinders. On narrow gauge locomotives, the smaller high pressure cylinder was often placed on the bottom for clearance reasons.

The correction is from my previous post. I said E66 was a compound Mallet locomotive. It is a compound by virtue of the Vauclain system. However, it does not use the Mallet system of compounding. The cylinder sets on the two locomotive units were the same size fore and aft. A true Mallet would have smaller high pressure cylinders on the rear engine unit exhausting into larger low pressure cylinders on the front.

Double or Triple Expansion Cylinders?

It sure looks like deemery nailed it, the multiple cylinder functions similar to a marine steam engine in that the steam is expanded two, or possibly here three times -- is that a third cylinder in the cluster or the valve gear?

Vauclain yes, Fairlie no.

This locomotive was a Vauclain compound, but not built to Fairlie's Patent. It is actually an articulated compound Mallet locomotive. For some reason the high pressure cylinders were reversed from the normal configuration and placed in the same location as those on a Fairlie. Not only did it look like a Fairlie, but the NZR used the E classification for previous Fairlie engines. All were withdrawn by the time E66 entered service, so the class designation was available to re-use.


Is that a 2-6-6-2 non-articulated? Must be a pretty straight railway.

Fairlie and Vauclain patents?!

If I'm not mistaken, this uses Fairle's patent and the Vauclain patent patent for compound cylinders.

The problem with the Vauclain compounds was that they tended to be high maintenance, which mitigated against the efficiency in fuel and water consumption. Most Vauclain locos in the US were converted to simple locomotives.

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