These images were scanned from a historical booklet published by the Chicago & North Western Railway in 1942 which somehow found its way into my father's small assortment of railroadiana. The booklet offers images and descriptions of several classes of C&NW steam power, both older engines (sometimes labeled as "obsolete") and more modern locomotives. The images are small and printed in halftone. I have tried to eliminate as much of the halftone screening as possible, but since the pictures could not be enlarged to any extent I have combined four of them in one image. For those who wish to explore further, Don's Rail Photos provides a good collection of images of C&NW power.
Upper left — Pacific 1657 represents the C&NW's class E locomotives, built by American Locomotive Company's Schenectady and Brooks Works between 1909 and 1923. No. 1657 was a member of the final group that featured a cast steel, rather than riveted, trailing truck and the Young valve gear. This group had 75-inch drivers, cylinder dimensions of 25x28 inches, and a boiler pressure of 185 p.s.i. They weighed 269,000 pounds and developed 36,678 pounds of tractive force. Their evaporative heating surface totaled 3150 square feet and their superheating surface 690 square feet. Later photos of this class reveal that most its members, including No. 1657, had their Young valve gears replaced with the more common Walschaert motion. In 1952 this locomotive was renumbered to 657, losing its first digit along with other members of its class in order to make room for diesels. Many class E locomotives, having been equipped with disc main drivers as shown here, spent their final years in Chicago suburban service, and all were retired by the end of 1956.
Upper right — To compete in the Chicago-Twin Cities corridor with the Milwaukee Road's Hiawatha and the Burlington Route's Zephyr, the North Western introduced the 400 in 1935. Initially this fast train was powered by four rebuilt class E-2 4-6-2s of which No. 2908, shown here, was one. The rebuilding was carried out in 1934 in the C&NW's Crawford Avenue Shops in Chicago. The rebuilt class E-2-A had 79-inch disc drivers and cast steel 26x28-inch cylinders, and weighed 295,000 pounds. Boiler pressure was increased from 210 to 225 pounds and the locomotives were converted to burn oil. These engines had a grate area of 63 square feet, 3250 square feet of evaporative heating surface, and 685 square feet of superheater surface. In 1939, after the 400 became a diesel-powered streamliner, the E-2-A class were converted back to coal-burners, reclassified E-2 and returned to general passenger service. The last member of this group was retired in 1957.
Lower left — Mikado 2557 represents the North Western's class J-A, a group of 24 locomotives the railroad rebuilt in 1935-1937 from older class J engines. The rebuilding replaced their 61-inch drivers with 64-inch Boxpok drivers and gave them mechanical stokers, but they retained their Young valve gear as shown here. They had 27x32-inch cylinders, sustained 200 p.s.i. of boiler pressure, and weighed 319,000 pounds. With a 63-square-foot grate area, the J-A class had 3755 square feet of evaporative heating surface with 1110 square feet of superheating surface, and mustered a tractive force of 61,965 pounds. Though not as powerful as the class H or H-1 4-8-4s, C&NW's more than 300 class J 2-8-2s — all Alco-built — were the mainstay of its heavy freight operations into the diesel era.
Lower right — The nine streamlined 4-6-4s of class E-4, Nos. 4001-4009, were the last new steam locomotives acquired by the C&NW. Painted dark olive with gold striping, the E-4s plied the main line between Chicago and Omaha at the head of fast passenger trains. With the encroachment of diesels, however, they were demoted and ended their careers in Chicago suburban service, the last member of the class being sent to the torch in 1956. For the specifications of the E-4 class see the commentary on No. 4002.