Chesapeake & Ohio 2-8-4 K-4 #2732 is on display in the grounds of the Science Museum of Virginia on W Broad St in downtown Richmond, VA.
Although the 2-8-4 is usually known as a "Berkshire", it was named "Kanawha" on the C&O after the river that cut through its operational heartland in West Virginia. The first fourteen K-4s were built by Alco in 1943 (#2700-#2713), and #2732 is one of a second order for twenty-six also from Alco in 1944 (#2714-#2739).
The K-4 was highly successful, and the railroad ordered another ten from Lima in 1945 (#2740-#2749) and ten more in 1947 (#2750-#2759). The final order for thirty locomotives (#2760-#2789) went to Alco, bringing the full roster to ninety.
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Built as the Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac Railroad's southern terminus in 1919, Broad Street Station also served the Atlantic Coast Line and the Norfolk & Western. The Seaboard Air Line, which had used Richmond's Main Street Station, eventually also switched to Broad Street. Passenger service ceased in 1975.
The neo-classical revival style building was the only commercial
building designed by John Russell Pope. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1971, it became the home of the Science Museum of Virginia in 1977.
The K-4 design was based on the Pere Marquette Lima-built 2-8-4s, but with improvements such as cast steel frames with integral cylinders. Nevertheless, war shortages meant economies had to be made, including using steel bells instead of the customary brass. After the war, brass bells were retrofitted to the locomotives. (The Pere Marquette was, like the C&O, under the control of the Van Sweringen brothers).
Below, the trailing truck rear axles carried booster engines to aid traction when the locomotives were starting or working on heavy grades.
All the K-4s were equipped with Baker valve gear, and all engine axles were fitted with roller bearings. The cylinders are 26" x 34" and the drivers 69" in diameter.
The engine weighs 460,000 lbs, somewhat lighter than the fifty additional K-4s delivered between 1945 and 1947. Weight on the drivers is 292,000 lbs. With a 90 sq ft grate area, 462 sq ft firebox and a total heating surface of 6,705 sq ft, including 1,932 sq ft superheating, #2732 operated at a boiler pressure of 245 psi delivering tractive effort of 69,368 lbs.
The cast steel water bottom tender weighs 312,800 lbs light and has a 30 ton coal and 21,000 gallon water capacity.
Twelve K-4s have survived. You can see #2705 on the B&O Museum Yard and Car Shop page of this website, #2716 on the Kentucky Railway Museum, #2707 on the Illinois Railway Museum Yard, #2727 on the St Louis Transportation Museum Train Sheds, #2736 on the National Railroad Museum and #2789 on the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum pages. #2700, #2755, #2756, #2760 and #2776 each have their own page.