“The Big Engine”

Posted: June 23, 2011 in Construction, GENERAL NEWS, Industries, Locomotive, Travel

The PRR S1 class steam locomotive (nicknamed “The Big Engine”) was an experimental locomotive that was the largest rigid frame passenger locomotive ever built. The streamlined Art Deco styled shell of the locomotive was designed by Raymond Loewy.

The S1 was the only locomotive ever built to use a 6-4-4-6 wheel arrangement. Also, the S1 class was a duplex locomotive, meaning that it had two pairs of cylinders, each driving two pairs of driving wheels. Unlike similar-looking articulated locomotive designs, the driven wheelbase of the S1 was rigid. The S1 was completed January 31, 1939 and was assigned locomotive number 6100.

At (140 feet 21⁄2 inches/42.74 metres) over engine and tender the S1 was the longest reciprocating steam locomotive ever built; it could not negotiate curves on much of the PRR system. This problem, along with wheel slippage, limited the S1’s usefulness. No further S1 models were built as focus shifted to the T1 class. The last run for the S1 was in December 1945 and the engine was scrapped in 1949.


  1. Hieronymo says:

    That’s an amazing locomotive but it seems like it might have been poorly conceived based on the line “it could not negotiate curves on much of the PRR system.”

    What was it used for?

  2. Frank says:

    What ‘s worse, it was designed and built by Baldwin Loco Works!

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