The sizes of locomotives are determined in many ways. Some use horsepower as the main criteria, while others rely on weight and others the greatest number of wheels. Except for the El Gobernador which was scrapped, models of the following locomotives have been preserved.
Dimensions of the El Gobernador
Built in 1883, the El Gobernador weighed 701 tons. It used a steam engine and the wheel arrangement was 4-10-0. The locomotive was built by the Central Pacific Railroad. The driver size was 57 in (1400 mm) in diameter. The weight on drivers was 128,000 lbs (or (58,100 kg).
Rebuilt, the weight was 121,600 lbs (55,200 kg). The size of locomotive El Gobernador gave it a weight of 146,000 lbs (66,200 kg). Rebuilt, it was 154,400 lbs (70,030 kg).
The boiler pressure was at 140 lbf sq in. The cylinder was 21 inches in diameter (530 mm) x 36 in stroke. The tractive effort was 33,150 lbf (147.5 kN).
Dimensions of the Big Boy
Built by American Locomotive Company around 1941-44, the Big Boy actually refers to several 4-8-84 locomotives. The gauge is 1,435 mm and the driver size is 68 in (1.727 m) in diameter. The Big Boy locomotives are 132 ft 91/4 in (40.47 m) long.
The size of locomotives in the Big Boy class put the driver weight at 540,000 lbs (244.9 tons). Combining the tender and locomotive, the weight will be 1,208,750 lbs (548.3 tons).
The fuel was coal and the capacity is 28 short tons (25.4 t). The Big Boy’s water capacity is 25,000 US gallons. This is equal to 95,000 liters or 21,000 imperial gallons. The boiler pressure is 300 lbf sq in (2.1 MPa).
The Big Boys has four cylinders. The cylinder is 23¾ in bore × 32 in stroke or 603 mm × 813 mm. The maximum speed is 130 km/h (80 mph). The size of locomotives like the Big Boy means the tractive effort is 135,375 lbf or 602.18 kN.
Dimensions of the Challenger
Built by the American Locomotive Company in 1943, the Challenger has a wheel configuration of 4-6-6-4. The gauge is 1,345 mm and the driver size is 69 in (1.76 mm) in diameter. The weight on drivers is 404,000 lbs (or 202 tons). The locomotive and tender combined, the weight is 1,073,900 lbs (537 tons).
The boiler pressure on the Challenger is 280 lbf sq in. The cylinder size is 21 in bore × 32 in stroke (533.4 mm × 813 mm). The tractive effort is 97,350 lbf.
Dimensions of the GTEL 8500 Big Blow
Built by General Electric in 1961, the Big Blow has 8,469 horsepower. The engine type is gas turbine-electric. It weighs in at 900,000,000 lbs (410,000 kg). The tractive effort is 240,000 lbf. The Big Blow is able to pull over 730 freight cars at 19 km/h or 12 mph. This would have created a train 7 km long.
The sizes of locomotives were determined by the need of cargo services. Since the advent of electric trains, locomotives have been put in retirement.