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US Army 610

Unveiling the History of the U.S. Army 610: A Unique Chapter of American Railroading

The 610 is a 2-8-0, also known as a consolidation, built by the Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton Corporation in March 1952 for the U.S. Army. The locomotive was the final steam locomotive manufactured for domestic use by a commercial builder in the United States.

The U.S. Army would use the 610 at Fort Eustis Military Railroad in Virginia, where it was used as a training locomotive, preparing soldiers to operate on foreign railroads if the need arose. The 610 was the prototype locomotive for a class of steam locomotives meant to succeed the very successful S-160 class. The class was known as the S-160A, or more simply, Class A.

The “Second Generation S-160” class locomotives were to be built for the Korean Conflict. With the rapid continuation of dieselization, the 610 would be the only locomotive in this class to be built. The most notable difference that could be found on the 610 compared to the S-160 class was a boiler of larger diamter, but shorter length.

The locomotive would operate at the Fort Eustis Military Railroad into the late 1960s until it was retired. Once retired, it was donated to Wiregrass Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society in Dothan, Alabama. The Wiregrass Chapter donated the 610 to TVRM in 1978. Once at TVRM, the 610 remained in storage until 1987 when restoration began, lasting until 1990.

When the 610 emerged from its restoration in 1990, it had little resemblance to its original appearance. The locomotive was cosmetically altered with a larger cab, taller smoke stack, a below center headlight, and the bell mounted on top of the boiler. The locomotive operated for 20 years at TVRM, pulling both museum and mainline excursions. The 610 was taken out of service and stored in December 2010, in need of a major overhaul.


Locomotive: United States Army 610

Locomotive Type: Steam

Operators: United States Army, Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum

Class: S160A or Class A

Builder: Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton Corporation

Builders Number: 75503

Date Built: 1952

Date Retired: 1972 (Military), 2010 (1st Excursion Service)

Date Rebuilt: 1990 (1st Restoration)

Wheel Arrangement: 2-8-0 Consolidation

Driver Diameter: 56 in

Locomotive Weight: 163,000 lb

Fuel: Coal

Boiler Pressure: 220 psi

Cylinder Size: 20 in x  26 in

Valve Gear: Indirect Walschaerts

Tractive Effort: 34,100 lbf

Paint Scheme: Black

Status: Stored Out of Service Awaiting a Major Overhaul