The reference for locomotives and railcars
Tender Locomotives 2-4-2 “Columbia”[Inhalt]
UIC Classification 1B1 and 1'B1'
The New Zealand Railways Class K of 1877 is considered to be the first 2-4-2 tender locomotive
The New Zealand Railways Class K of 1877 is considered to be the first 2-4-2 tender locomotive
Bernard Spragg

The wheel arrangement 2-4-2 designates a steam locomotive that has a leading axle, two coupled axles and a trailing axle. In different countries, this wheel arrangement is referred to as follows:


Depending on whether the carrying axles were fixed or flexibly mounted, the UIC wheel arrangement is specified as 1B1 or 1'B1'. The name “Columbia” comes from a prototype that Baldwin presented at the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893 as a new design for an express locomotive.

Tank locomotives with this wheel arrangement actually came into being very early on, but the number of tender locomotives was limited. The class K of the New Zealand Railways from 1877, which was also the first locomotive from US production in New Zealand, is considered to be the first tender locomotive. Others were created from locomotives with a 2-4-0 wheel arrangement, which were subsequently given a trailing axle to increase directional stability.

Locomotive of the Paris-Lyon-Méditerranée from 1868, which was only later given a trailing axle
Locomotive of the Paris-Lyon-Méditerranée from 1868, which was only later given a trailing axle
Locomotive Magazine, November 1899

In New Zealand, the greatest strength of the wheel arrangement was the good flexibility in curves, which was significantly better than that of the British locomotives with more rigid chassis previously used there. Another big advantage compared to the 4-4-0 wheel arrangement was that the firebox could be designed much more freely and, above all, wide. A more powerful boiler was therefore possible with the same number of axles.

The version with two completely fixed carrying axles was only possible on very good tracks. Thus, these were mostly in Adams axle bearings, which made radial adjustment possible. Especially with American machines there were also carrying axles in bogies. Due to the short, fixed wheelbase with two drivers and one leading and one trailing axle each, high demands were placed on the centering systems in order to be able to maintain directional stability at higher speeds.

The main area of the tender locomotives with this wheel arrangement was in France, Belgium and the also French-influenced Staatseisenbahn-Gesellschaft in Austria-Hungary. Elsewhere, the 4-4-0 wheel arrangement prevailed better. Before it could spread further, more powerful passenger and express locomotives with a total of five axles were needed.

New Zealand Railways class K (1877)
New Zealand | 1877 | 8 produced
The preserved K 92 in November 2016
The preserved K 92 in November 2016
Tony Hisgett / Rogers Steam Locomotive 2
Drawing with the original boiler (even if the year is wrong)
Drawing with the original boiler (even if the year is wrong)
Railway and Locomotive Engineering, August 1897

After some British locomotives, the K class of 1877 was the first US locomotive to see service in New Zealand. Externally, compared to the British locomotives, it had many special features that caused a stir. These included the graceful bar frame, the swinging trailing axle, many attachments located outside of the boiler and the rich decoration. The agile running characteristics in particular were apparently an advantage over the predecessors on the South Island of New Zealand. With the introduction of more powerful locomotives, they were used more on branch lines and some were moved to the North Island. After receiving new boilers, some with Belpaire fireboxes, they were retired in the 1920s.

Variantas builtrebuilt
Axle config2-4-2 (Columbia) 
Gauge3 ft 6 in (Cape gauge)
Dimensions and Weights
Length45 ft 7 in
Wheelbase22 ft 3 in
Fixed wheelbase11 ft 10 in
Service weight52,192 lbs51,000 lbs
Adhesive weight33,153 lbs30,000 lbs
Total weight95,200 lbs94,008 lbs
Axle load16,579 lbs15,000 lbs
Water capacity1,501 us gal
Fuel capacity4,928 lbs (coal)
Power sourcesteam
Estimated power275 hp (205 kW)400 hp (298 kW)
Optimal speed27 mph32 mph
Starting effort6,429 lbf7,913 lbf
Power Plant
Driver diameter49.5 in
Boiler pressure130 psi160 psi
Expansion typesimple
Cylinderstwo, 12 x 20 in
Grate area8.8 sq ft10.1 sq ft
Evaporative heating area589 sq ft
Total heating area589 sq ft
Calculated Values
steam locomotive
last changed: 08/2023
Belgian Railway type 12bis
Belgium | 1897 | 26 produced
Die Lokomotive, December 1917

In order to be able to burn cheap coal with the smallest fragments, the Belgian State Railways needed a large firebox for their express locomotives. This also applied to the type 12bis, which was based on the type 12 from 1888 and where the “bis” stood for “second”. In order to achieve the required power, the grate area had to be further increased to 4.7 square meters or 50 square feet

On the 12bis, too, the firebox consisted of a narrow, front part between the wheels of the second driving axle and a wide, rear part above the trailing axle. It still had outside frames, as well as serve tubes and a conical chimney. It was said to run smoothly even at 110 km/h (68 mph)

Axle config2-4-2 (Columbia) 
Gauge4 ft 8 1/2 in (Standard gauge)
Dimensions and Weights
Length loco35 ft 4 3/16 in
Wheelbase21 ft 6 7/16 in
Fixed wheelbase21 ft 6 7/16 in
Empty weight101,413 lbs
Service weight108,467 lbs
Adhesive weight58,092 lbs
Total weight184,968 lbs
Axle load29,652 lbs
Water capacity3,698 us gal
Fuel capacity6,614 lbs (coal)
Power sourcesteam
Estimated power738 hp (550 kW)
Optimal speed29 mph
Starting effort16,375 lbf
Power Plant
Driver diameter82.7 in
Boiler pressure174 psi
Expansion typesimple
Cylinderstwo, 19 11/16 x 23 5/8 in
Grate area50.7 sq ft
Firebox area134.5 sq ft
Tube heating area1,207.4 sq ft
Evaporative heating area1,342 sq ft
Total heating area1,342 sq ft
Calculated Values
steam locomotive
Alfred Belpaire
last changed: 01/2024
State Railway Company series II No. 65 to 122
Imperial-Royal State Railways class 5, Hungarian State Railways series Ig and Hungarian State Railways series 223
Austria-Hungary | 1882 | 58 produced
StEG II No. 122, later MÁV Ig 632 and MÁV 223 032
StEG II No. 122, later MÁV Ig 632 and MÁV 223 032

Almost 30 years after the founding of the StEG, the influence of French financing was still noticeable, so that the express locomotives were built based on the Paris-Orléans. Thanks to the 2-4-2 wheel arrangement, a larger firebox could be accommodated than with a 4-4-0, but the carrying axles' not yet fully developed centering system resulted in insufficient running smoothness. When the StEG was separated, 26 came to the Austrian part and 32 to the MÁV. The BBÖ retired their locomotives by 1928, after six had come to GySEV. The latter were retired between 1951 and 1959.

Built1882-1885, 1889, 1891
ManufacturerStEG, Hanomag
Axle config2-4-2 (Columbia) 
Gauge4 ft 8 1/2 in (Standard gauge)
Dimensions and Weights
Length30 ft 3 1/4 in
Wheelbase18 ft 8 7/16 in
Fixed wheelbase6 ft 10 11/16 in
Empty weight94,358 lbs
Service weight105,381 lbs
Adhesive weight58,422 lbs
Water capacity2,642 us gal
Fuel capacity7,275 lbs (coal)
Power sourcesteam
Estimated power536 hp (400 kW)
Optimal speed30 mph
Top speed50 mph
Starting effort11,354 lbf
Power Plant
Driver diameter71.7 in
Boiler pressure130 psi
Expansion typesimple
Cylinderstwo, 16 15/16 x 25 9/16 in
Grate area24.9 sq ft
Firebox area111.5 sq ft
Tube heating area1,433.1 sq ft
Evaporative heating area1,544.6 sq ft
Total heating area1,544.6 sq ft
Calculated Values
steam locomotive
last changed: 08/2023

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