Ten of these U-108b Class locomotives were built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works for the Union Railroad in 1936, the only 0-10-2s built new for a US railroad. They were consequently dubbed “Union” type locomotives.
The Union Railroad was created in 1896, running six miles from East Pittsburgh to Hays, PA. Between 1906 and 1915, the railroad expanded to include several other mills in the Mon Valley region, and was responsible for switching at each mill, delivering raw materials to the mills and finished products to interchange with the major railroads in the area.
After WWII, the Union dieselised and sold the Unions to the Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range in 1949. The DM&IR removed the engines' original boosters from the front tender truck, but compensated by adding weight to the locomotive frame. Most operated well into the 1950s, although #604 is the only survivor. It was donated to the City of Greenville, PA, in 1985 and is on display at the Greenville Railroad Museum Park on Main St.
As the steel industry declined in the US, the Union's operations were greatly scaled back, although it still serves three plants of the US Steel Mon Valley Works.
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The 0-10-2 arrangement resulted from the relatively short Union turntables, the need for high adhesive weight and power and the relatively short runs at low speed, which allowed for dispensing with a lead truck.
With Walschaert valve gear, a 32’ engine wheelbase and 22’ driver wheelbase, the Unions weighed 422,000 lbs, 364,600 lbs on their heavily counterbalanced 61” drivers. The grate was 82.25 sq ft and the 414 sq ft firebox was fitted with three thermic syphons totalling 90 sq ft and a combustion chamber of 72 sq ft.
The total heating surface of 6,197 sq ft included 1,389 sq ft superheating and, operating at a boiler pressure of 260 psi, the engines delivered 90,893 lbs tractive effort. To assist with starting especially heavy loads, the Unions were fitted with Franklin Reversible Boosters that delivered over 17,000 lbs tractive effort.
Right, #604 is on display with Bessemer & Lake Erie Ore Car #20567 and Steel Cupola Caboose #1985 built in 1956 for the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern by the International Car Company in Kenton, OH. It was leased to the B&LE from 1966 to 1982.