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Lima, Ohio


Lima Locomotive Works entered the Class One locomotive market in 1911, but it came into its own through the design genius of William Woodard, who, through a series of dramatic improvements  engineered a new generation of  locomotives that generated more steam per pound of coal burned than the designs  prior to 1925. It was dubbed SUPER-POWER. Key in his design was the addition of a four wheel truck under the firebox, a signature of a majority of all  of the next generation of locomotives.

  William E. Woodard (1873-1942) is attributed with being the man who  engineered the "Super-Power" locomotive design for Lima Locomotive  Works.  Woodard, born in Utica, New York, was a consulting  engineer most of his life, residing in New York and having received his  engineering training at Cornell University (Class of 1896).  He lived in Lima, Ohio working as Vice President of Engineering at Lima Locomotive Works during the critical years  leading up to the design and construction of the A-1, the first prototype  Super-Power locomotive.  Prior to joining LLW, he worked variously at Baldwin Locomotive Works, and Cramp's Shipyard in Philadelphia. Then moved on to the Dickson Manufacturing at Scranton, a small builder of locomotives and the  Schenectady Locomotive Company at Schenectady, New York.  He was a part of  the design team for the United States Railroad Administration during WW I, but most of his radical designs, which were the essence of Super-Power were  rejected. Even after leaving Lima Locomotive Works, Woodard continued to do  design engineering for the firm while working heavily for other Coffin-owned firms including Franklin Railway Supply on many project including the Franklin poppet valve gear.  At the time of his death in 1942 he was working on a  design for a  poppet valve equipped 2-6-6-6 with a 25% increase in  horse-power and a radical change in boiler designs with a much higher operating  pressure.

  Joel S. Coffin (1861-1935) is the man who put  the team together, starting in 1916 when he and partner Samuel G. Allen purchased the assets of the nearly broke Lima Locomotive Works.  LLW was largely an industrial locomotive builder who had only stepped into Class One locomotive construction during 1911.  They were not encumbered with the many unique characteristics of locomotive builders like Baldwin and American Locomotive.  Their legacy was greatly successful and in many ways contributed to the downfall of the giant Baldwin Locomotive Works, but also made ALCO a sharper competitor.  The prototype Super-Power locomotive was Number A-1, of the new 2-8-4 wheel arrangement.  In theory, it was the first locomotive that could produce more steam per pound of coal than what the locomotive engine could use to pull the train.  It was a highly successful design and quickly embraced by the railroads.

The A-1, Lima Locomotive’s Works prototype locomotive that started the Super-Power era. -- Allen County Historical Society collection

Left and right side views of the A-1, Lima Locomotive’s Works prototype Super-Power locomotive. -- Allen County Historical Society collection

Original photograph which once hung in the office of the Lima Locomotive Works showing the A-1 with  the paint of the Boston & Albany Railroad on its tender.  Executives and staff from both Lima Locomotive and the Boston & Albany are gathered for the official portrait.  -- Allen County Historical Society collection



 This is Southern Pacific Daylight 4-8-4 #4416 c/n 7721 from a color lithograph of this locomotive produced by Lima Locomotive Works -- Allen County Historical Society collection

Southern Pacific Daylight 4-8-4 #4454 c/n 7852 produced by Lima Locomotive Works, May 1942


Detroit, Toledo & Ironton Railroad 2-8-2 #808 c/n 8469 May 1944 is posed for its builder's photo at Lima Locomotive Works.-- Allen County Historical Society collection


Chesapeake & Ohio Railway 2-6-6-6 #1603 poses for a  "record" photo prior to its delivery in 1941.  This was not intended to be  a builder's photo. .-- Allen  County Historical Society collection

Chesapeake & Ohio  Railway 2-6-6-6 #1633 poses for a builder's photo prior to its delivery in 1944.  The Allegheny was the largest steam locomotive built at Lima.   A total of 68 were built for two railroads, two survive.-- Allen County Historical Society collection

THE LAST LOCOMOTIVE - Nickel Plate Road  779

The last steam locomotive to depart from the erecting halls of Lima Locomotive Works was Nickel Plate Road #779, a 2-8-4 built in May 1949. It was donated to the City  of Lima, Ohio where it resides today at the John H. Keller Memorial Railroad  Exhibit at Lincoln Park  See the story of how this came to  the last steam locomotive  from Lima Locomotive Works, below.-- S. Trostel photo

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