Specifications for the "General"

Specifications for the Western & Atlantic Railroad’s GENERAL,

Rogers Locomotive Works, December, 1855

From The Story of the “General, a booklet by the Nashville, Chattanooga, and St. Louis Railway, 1906. Quoted from A History of the American Locomotive, by John H. White, Jr. I’ve reformatted the text for ease of reading.


We are indebted to Mr. Louis L. Park, Chief Draughtsman of the Rogers Locomotive Works, Patterson, N. J., for the following information in regard to the “General,” taken from the plans and specifications of that company.

Built by the Rogers Locomotive Works in December, 1855, for the Western & Atlantic R. R. An eight-wheel, wood-burning locomotive of type 440-50, weighing 50,300 pounds; gauge, five feet; cylinders, 15x22 inches; piston rod 2 ¼ inches in diameter; has four driving wheels, each 60 inches in diameter, made of cast iron, with journals 6 inches in diameter; driving wheel base, 7 feet; total wheel base of engine, about 20 feet, 6 inches; weight on drivers, 32,000 pounds; weight on truck, 18,000 pounds; heating surface: flues, 748.36 square feet; firebox, 71.08 square feet; total heating surface, 819.44 square feet.

Grate area, 12.46 square feet.

Boiler of type known as Wagon Top, covered with felt and Russian iron; diameter inside first course, 40 inches; working pressure, about 140 pounds; thickness of barrel of boiler, 5/16 of an inch; thickness of dome course, 3/8 of an inch; thickness of crown, 3/8 of an inch; thickness of flue-sheet, ½ an inch; thickness of sides and back, 5/16 of an inch; length of grate, 46 inches; width 39 inches.

Contains 130 flues, each 11 feet long by 2 inches in diameter. Steam-pipes 5 inches in diameter.

Engine truck, 4-wheel, rigid center; tender trucks, 4-wheel, inside bearing. Diameter of wheels, 30 inches.

Has 2 escape valves and 2 [water] pumps.

The smoke stack is of the old balloon type, and the cow-catcher is much longer and larger than those on modern engines.