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British Industrial History

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Baldwin Locomotive Works: Pioneer

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1836. The Locomotive "Pioneer".

Note: This is a sub-section of the Baldwin Locomotive Works

Among the original locomotives preserved in the United States, the Chicago and North-Western Railroad's Pioneer indisputably occupies an important place. This little single-wheeler was the first locomotive ever seen in Chicago. Hence it appropriately took part in the Pageant of Progress Exhibition which was held in that city during the summer of 1921.

Built in 1836, the Pioneer, directly and indirectly, has an interesting history. It was Mr. M. W. Baldwin's thirty-seventh locomotive, and it is now noteworthy in that it represents one of the most successful of his early types. The Pioneer was virtually a replica of the second locomotive constructed by Baldwin, the E. L. Miller.

The Pioneer, belonged to the "Miller" class, and hence it may be regarded as a distinctly important link with the past. It was constructed in 1836 for the Utica and Schenectady Railroad, but after a few years' service on that line, it became the property of the Michigan Central, on which railway it was dubbed the the 'Alert'.

In 1848, when the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad - known today as the Chicago and North Western - was in course of completion, the engine was taken over by that company, which promptly re-named it 'Pioneer'. It was thus the first locomotive owned and run by that company, and although there appears to be no precise record as to when it was finally withdrawn from service, it is fairly certain that it remained at work t1ll well into the 1860s.

In 1855 it was fitted with a feed water heater arranged round the inside pipe of the smokestack, the latter being of the huge conical form usual on wood-burning locomotives. From The Engineer 1922/07/28. Read the full article here

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