THE SUPER-POWER ERA
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