Central Railroad of New Jersey 113

 

Our locomotive began life in June of 1923 at the Schenectady Works of the American Locomotive Company, one of five B7s 0-6-0 switchers built for the Central Railroad of New Jersey, numbers 111-115, Alco order number S-1419.  In common with most of the steam locomotives on the Anthracite Roads (those that hauled hard coal from the Pennsylvania fields), these engines had wide, Wootten fireboxes (first designed by the Reading Company's John Wootten not long after the Civil War) so they could burn the same coal that they hauled.  Intended solely for yard service, the B7s locomotives had no leading or trailing wheels and six driving wheels (thus the 0-6-0 designation, or wheel arrangement); with all of the engine's weight on the small drivers, one of these workhorses could move almost any cut of cars a yard track could hold, although not very fast.  In common with all short-wheelbase locomotives, 113 and her sisters did not ride smoothly, and they rarely got beyond 15 miles per hour -- a speed at which 113's fireman would have to hold on for dear life and could probably not successfully aim a shovel through the clamshell firedoors!

 

The picture above, taken by Alco's official photographer, shows the first locomotive in the class at the builder's works before delivery.  113 and her sisters worked the CNJ's freight yards for almost three decades; in 1945, the railroad changed her class to 6S46 -- "6-wheeled Switcher, 46,000 pounds tractive effort" and by 1951 placed her out of service as diesels took over.  One photo of the engine in regular service appears on North East Rails; another shows her out of service at the CNJ's main shops at Elizabethport, N.J., in the company of other no-longer-needed steam power.

 

The Philadelphia & Reading Coal & Iron Co., now Reading Anthracite Co., bought our locomotive from the CNJ circa 1953 and used her at the colliery in Locust Summit, outside of Ashland, until she last steamed in 1960 -- the last CNJ engine to feel a fire on her grates; the CNJ itself ran a few fan trips with 4-6-0 #774 in 1954 but then had the engine scrapped.  Stored outside, eventually with trees growing up all around her, 113 sat for many years until the coal company donated her to Historic Red Clay Valley in Wilmington, Delaware, in 1980.  In 1986, Robert E. Kimmel, Sr., bought her and later moved her to Minersville.  (Only one other CNJ steam locomotive survives, 4-4-2 #592 at the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum in Baltimore, Md.)

 

Work to refurbish the locomotive to operating condition got under way in 1999 took more than twenty years, more than $600,000, and countless hours of volunteer labor.  Many parts had long since vanished before restoration started; because no commercial builder has produced steam locomotive parts in decades, the Project 113 crew had to make many from scratch.  As one example: Patternmaker Bernard Perch, from White Haven, made a wooden pattern of the three-chime whistle, measuring an original CNJ whistle, and had a new whistle cast.  It sounds just as lovely as the original!

 

Retrieving some parts of the locomotive took detective work: As an example, Reading Anthracite removed 113's bell after the engine went out of service and gave it to an official of the coal company; he put it on a post at Lake Wallenpaupack.  Eventually, Project 113 located the bell and it got returned to the locomotive, through a trade for another bell.  After further investigation, we found that 113 has a bell from a Baldwin-built camelback tenwheeler, stamped with a Baldwin class number.  Our Alco-built locomotive probably picked up the "foreign" bell during a visit to the Elizabethport shops at some point in her career.

 

 

113's vital statistics

 

Track gauge: 4'-8 1/2"     Cylinders: (2) @ 23" diameter, 26" stroke     Driving wheel diameter: 51"

 

Engine wheel base: 11'-0"     Engine and tender wheel base: 45'-4 3/8"

 

Boiler, inside diameter: 76 1/2 "     Working pressure: 200 pounds per square inch (as built; now 185 psi)

 

Firebox: 108 1/8" long, 90 1/4" wide     Grate area: 67.7 square feet

 

Boiler tubes, 2" diameter: 208     Boiler flues, 5 1/2" diameter: 34     Tubes and flues length: 11'-6"

 

Heating surfaces, in square feet: tubes, 1242; flues, 558; firebox, 180; total, 1980

 

Superheater heating surface, in square feet: 462

 

Weight in working order, in pounds: engine, 197,000; tender, 139,300; total, 336,300 (168.15 tons)

 

Tender capacity: 10 tons coal; 6850 gallons water

 

Maximum tractive effort: 45,800 pounds

 

 

A primer on switchers

 

"In the beginning, road engines coupled their own trains and placed cars from their trains as required.  By the time business increased to require several trains to be run each day, the work of gathering cars, making up trains, and spotting cars from inbound trains consumed too much time to be included in a road trip.  Older and nearly obsolete road engines were assigned to switching service.  During a day's work these could make up several trains and break up others and spot their cars for unloading. This permitted road engines to be used entirely for their intended work, coupling to their trains and hauling them over the road. As ever, they picked up and set out cars at places en route where there is not enough switching work to employ a switching crew.

 

"Engines were then built especially for switching.  Their outward appearance was generally that of road engines minus leading and trailing trucks, which were not needed to guide the drivers at the slow speed used in this type of work.  Since they were never far from the round-house, the early switchers were tank-engines.  The limited coal and water supplies became an irksome feature as business increased.  Consequently, later designs included separate tenders of ever-increasing sizes.  Imagine if you can, a yardmaster with a road engine and crew waiting for a train to be made up,another train entering the yard and the switch engine needing water and/or coal.  The later switchers could work an eight-hour shift on a tank of water and go two or more days on a tank of coal.  Today's diesels average about three days on a tank of fuel oil."

 

From North East Rails

Alco Historic Photos image

In this photo sent to us by William J. Diehl, 113's sister 114 rides the turntable at the Jersey Central's roundhouse in the Communipaw section of Jersey City, N.J.  The huge engine terminal served all of the CNJ's power, both passenger and freight, as well as that of tenant railroads Reading and Baltimore & Ohio.  (Both of these ran through trains from Philadelphia; the former's "Crusader" featured streamlined 4-6-2s from 1937 into the early 1950s, while the B. & O.'s "Royal Blue Route" featured one of the earliest road diesels in the United States, as early as 1935.  The "Crusader" ran in various forms until as late as 1981, while the "Royal Blue" quit in 1958.)  The CNJ's grand passenger terminal saw its last train in 1967, when the remaining commuter traffic moved to Newark's Penn Station; the Communipaw engine terminal last served freight power in 1973, then fell into disuse and disrepair, eventually succumbing to the wrecking ball.  The passenger terminal survives as part of Liberty State Park; no sign of the engine terminal remains.

Frank Reilly sent us these photos that came from the CNJ's Claims Department files. Aside from the date taken, the 18th of December, 1934, we have no other information about them -- not location, not the reason the photographer made them.  They do, however, provide absolutely workaday images of #113 before she had even reached her teens.  Note the various differences in details from her current "dress", among them the lettering style and the storage box under the fireman's side of the cab (in the photo at the right).  Note also the heavy cab curtains, used to keep the cold at bay in the winter (did it ever get colder than during the Depression?), and the oil lanterns on the top of the tender.

In this undated photo from the middle of her first career, #113 works in the yard at Elizabethport, New Jersey.

 

Used here with the permission of Morning Sun Books, Inc., the photo appears on page 289 of the book

Jersey Central Lines Official Photography by Joel Rosenbaum and Tom Gallo, copyright 2014.

© 2014-20 Railway Restoration Project 113       113 East Sunbury Street    Minersville PA  17954     570-544-8300     rrproject113@hotmail.com

 

All photos not otherwise credited  © rrproject113.org                                                                                Web site built and maintained by  Oren B. Helbok

 

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