The Trains of 1856

by Lou Jerkich

Simple curiosity spurred me on to attempt to identify the locomotive types and the owning railroads for the engines depicted on the train cards of the 1870 game designed by Bill Dixon and published by Mayfair Games, Inc., in 1995.  After commencing this project, I then discovered that the 1870 train cards from type 2 through type 6 were identical to those in the 1856 game, also designed by Bill Dixon and published by Mayfair Games, Inc. in 1995.  The 1870 train cards, however, were printed with a darker inking and consequently are less clear than their 1856 counterparts.  Nevertheless, the evidence provided by the cards of both games, but especially the majority of those from the 1856 game, has made it possible to determine with reasonable certainty the identifications of the trains depicted on the game cards.  The results of my research are shown below, with citations to the illustrations found that are either identical to the train card depictions or are obviously a close match.  As is the case in some other 18xx games, the specific locomotives depicted on the cards in both the 1856 and the 1870 games often belonged to companies that are not represented in these games.   Very ironically, even a Brazilian locomotive has been used for one of the illustrations.  Only the type 6 train card depicts a locomotive from a company actually represented in the 1856 game. 

Should anyone find better illustrations than I have located or discover additional useful information on these locomotives, please let me know.

Type 2 Train ($100)  - 6 available

Baldwin, American (4-4-0), Baldwin Locomotive Works, Philadelphia, 1871.

The locomotive on the card is depicted in Early American Locomotives by John H. White, Jr. (New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1972), plate 40, with the accompanying text: "A good representative locomotive for the period 1865-1885 is Baldwin's standard eight wheeler shown here.  A typical design dated 1871, it cannot be assigned to any one locomotive."  The illustration originally derives from Fig. 1 of Matthias N. Forney's Recent Locomotives: Illustrations, with Descriptions and Specifications and Details, of Recent American and European Locomotives, reprinted from the Railroad Gazette....New York: The Railroad Gazette, 1886.  The tender has the word 'Philadelphia' across its side.  The 1856 game card for the type 2 train also has the 'Philadelphia' label on the tender, and otherwise the picture is a perfect match for the one depicted in this book, even if it does appear to be a re-sketched version of the original illustration.  Given that the name of the game is 1856, a locomotive dated 1871 is of somewhat late date as the first train engine available in this game. 

Type 3 Train ($225) - 5 available

Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, American (4-4-0), No. 550, Rogers Locomotive Works, Paterson, New Jersey, 1893.

The locomotive on the card is depicted in Early American Locomotives by John H. White, Jr. (New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1972), plate 86, with the accompanying text: "In the early 1890's the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad decided to stay with the dependable eight wheeler for its passenger trains.  Typical of these machines was the 550 built by Rogers to the road's standard class M design. Rogers exhibited this engine at the Columbian Exposition."  The illustration originally derives from Fig. 73 on page 272 of James Dredge's A Record of the Transportation Exhibits at the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893.  The1856 train card illustration appears to be a slightly rough-sketched version of  the original drawing, and the details are too indistinct to be able to read the engine number (550) or the 'Burlington Route' herald on the tender.  Nevertheless, the details and angle of view leave no doubt that the 1856 game card for the type 3 train is intended to represent this CB&Q engine #550.

Type 4 Train ($350) - 4 available

Chicago and North Western Railway, Ten Wheeler (4-6-0), No. 400, Schenectady Locomotive Works, Schenectady, New York, 1893.

The locomotive on the card is depicted in Early American Locomotives by John H. White, Jr. (New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1972), plate 88, with the accompanying text: "The Chicago and North Western's 400, like the Plant System's 100 just shown, was a ten-wheel passenger locomotive.  The engine lost its name Columbus when entering regular service at the end of the fair.  The 400 was built by the Schenectady Locomotive Works.  It was retired in 1926.  The illustration originally derives from Plate LXIX, Fig. 1, of James Dredge's A Record of the Transportation Exhibits at the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893.  As with the illustration for the type 3 train, this one appears also to be re-sketched a bit more roughly than the book's illustration, with the result that once again the train's name and number cannot be distinguished on the 1856 game's train card.  Nevertheless, in angle of view and details shown, there is no doubt that the type 4 train is the one depicted in this book.  It would have been nice in the game to have a type 4 train with a date midway between its type 3 train predecessor and type 5 train successor, perhaps built in the early 1900s, but that is not the case with the trains from these illustrations.

Type 5 Train ($550) - 3 available

Nickel Plate Road "Hudson" type (4-6-4), built by Alco Brooks Locomotive Works in Dunkirk, New York, in 1927.

A photograph of the type of locomotive on this card is shown in American Locomotives in Historic Photographs, 1858-1949,  by Ron Ziel (New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1993), photograph 92, labeled Nickel Plate Road No. 177.  The photo has the accompanying text: "After the 4-6-4 passenger locomotive was developed for the New York Central in 1927, other railroads began ordering the Hudson type.  Among the earlier purchasers was the New York, Chicago & St. Louis (Nickel Plate Road), which placed in service a design of such modest proportions that it was more like a Pacific with a four-wheel trailing truck.  Its 73-inch driving wheels were among the smallest on any 4-6-4 and the trailing truck appears almost to have squeezed beneath the firebox; but the NKP ran modest passenger trains on moderate schedules, so even a small Hudson was an improvement over the predecessors it replaced."

There are some slight, subtle differences between this photograph's engine and the one depicted on the 1856 train card.  For example, the light showing through the cab windows seems to be at a slightly different angle, and the train card only shows the support bar for the bell, but not the bell itself, at the top front of the engine.  The "Nickel Plate Road" stenciling on the side of the tender is clearly readable in the 1856 train card photo (using a magnifying glass), but not in the more darkly inked version of the identical locomotive in the 1870 game's train card.  The engine number on the cab depicted on the 1856 game's card appears to be 173 or 170.  It is very difficult to determine the last digit even with a magnifier, although 173 is my best guess.  It is definitely not #177, the engine number in the book by Ron Ziel, and 171, 172, 174, 175, and 176 also seem to be ruled out.  Nevertheless, the profile of the engine itself is an extremely close match to the photo in Ron Ziel's book.  Another illustration no doubt exists somewhere of a locomotive that is a close match for #177 but has the number 173, or perhaps 170.

According to the Guide to North American Steam Locomotives by George H. Drury (Waukesha, WI: Kalmbach Publishing Co., 1993), page 273, "The New York, Chicago & St. Louis (Nickel Plate) ordered four light 4-6-4s in November 1926.  Alco's Brooks Works delivered them less than a month after NYC 5200 emerged from Schenectady."  On page 272 is stated: "Number 5200 emerged from Alco on February 14, 1927."  Page 286 lists the Nickel Plate Road as having four Alco Brooks-made 4-6-4 locomotives dating to 1927 (nos. 170-173) and another four Lima-built 4-6-4s dating to 1929 (Nos. 174-177).  So if the type 5 train of the game is the Nickel Plate 4-6-4 Hudson type of locomotive with a number that is either 173 or 170, then it should probably date to 1927.  These Lima type 4-6-4s were retired by the Nickel Plate between 1956 and 1962.  Drury observes  (page  273) that Nickel Plate's #173 was the longest-lived of all the 4-6-4s.  Note also that the Canadian Pacific Railroad owned North America's second largest fleet of 4-6-4s, having a total of 65 of them, starting in 1929 (Drury, p. 272).

Type 6 Train ($700) - 2 available

Canadian Pacific Railroad semi-streamlined "Selkirk" type (2-10-4), built in Montreal in 1938.

The photograph of the engine on the type 6 train card in 1856 is small but one can clearly make out the name on the tender (Canadian Pacific). Although not as easy to read, the number on the engine appears to be 5922.  (Even on the darker image of the 1870 game's type 6 train card which depicts the identical locomotive, the number appears to be 5922.)  However, it is not hard to identify this engine as a 2-10-4 engine, usually designated a 'Texas' type because the first 2-10-4 engines were bought by the Texas & Pacific Railway--a railroad pertinent to the 1870 game.  The Guide to North American Steam Locomotives by George H. Drury (Waukesha, WI: Kalmbach Publishing Co., 1993), page 70, indicates that the 2-10-4 Class T1b engines of the Canadian Pacific Railroad that were numbered 5920-5929 were built in 1938 in Montreal and retired in 1957.  On page 66, Drury notes that twenty 2-10-4s were built in 1929 and designated for use "in the Rockies west of Calgary.  In 1938 ten more 2-10-4s appeared, semi-streamlined for passenger service between Calgary and Revelstoke.  The name Selkirk was applied to the type at that time."

According to the Trains.com web page titled "Texas Types: Musclemen of Steam",  "the 2-10-4 was a tonnage hauler extraordinaire."  "With one exception, the 2-10-4 was a freight locomotive - Canadian Pacific used semistreamlined 2-10-4s in passenger service through the Rockies."  The article shows a picture of a Selkirk type engine with the following caption: "Canadian Pacific 5928 and CP's other "Selkirks" were the largest engines in the British Empire and the biggest steamers ever streamlined, but nevertheless were rather modest by 2-10-4 standards."  The photo in the Train.com web page has a boiler profile, wheel arrangment, and tender that is a clear match for that of the photo on the 1856 type 6 train card.  In the web photo, the engine is slightly more on an angle than the full profile view shown on the train card, yet it is clear that they are the same type of engine.

Another excellent photo of a Canadian Pacific 2-10-4 'Selkirk' Type locomotive (without its tender) appears on page 151 in The Encyclopedia of Trains and Locomotives from 1804 to the Present Day by David Ross (San Diego, CA: Thunder Bay Press, 2007).  The engine faces the opposite direction from that depicted on the 1856 Type 6 train card, but it is numbered 5921, making it a sister engine to the one appearing on the card.  According to the article accompanying the photo, "Semi-streamlining of Selkirks began in 1938 when Nos. 5920-5929 were built...."  In the 2003 edition of The Encyclopedia of Trains and Locomotives by David Ross (also by the same publisher), one can see photos of the 1929 version of the Selkirks and the 1949 version.

In the 1856 game, this is the last steam engine available, giving way to diesel locomotives thereafter.  Although the Selkirk 2-10-4 engines were used in western Canada and not in Ontario where the 1856 game is set, at least the engine depicted on the type 6 train card is a Canadian Pacific version of the type.

Type 8 Train ($1000 [$650]) - 6 available

The depicted engine for the Type 8 train is identical to that of the Type D train in this game.  See the discussion of the Type D engine below.  This train type is a variant game substitute for the Type D trains in the game.  Note, however, that the rationale on page 26 of the game rules for using type 8 trains is that "The era represented by the game does not really extend to the time when Diesels became popular."  Thus, the type 8 train should more appropriately have been illustrated with a steam locomotive.

Type D Train (S1100 [$750]) - 6 available

Alco-GE PA2 A1A-A1A type of diesel-electric locomotive of the Brazilian Companhia Paulista Railway built at the ALCO works, in the U.S.A, in October 1953.

A photograph of the exact engine, no. 900, depicted on the type 8 and type D trains of the 1856 game can be found on one of the pages of the C.P.E.F. Diesel-Electric Locomotives online site.  The caption below the photograph reads: "A diesel-electric PA2 locomotive of Companhia Paulista still at the ALCO works, in the U.S.A. Note that this one still does not show the CP symbols. Photo kindly sent by Alberto H. del Bianco, from Indiaiatuba SP."  The 'Companhia Paulista' referred to is the Companhia Paulista de Estradas de Ferro of the Sao Paulo State in Brazil.  According to Antonio Augusto Gorni at the site Companhia Paulista de Estradas de Ferro, this company "had the best technical, performance and luxury standards in railroad transportion in Brazil since 1868. People used to set their watches with the whistle of its trains! It served the northern and western regions of the São Paulo state, rich coffee producer regions....The electrification of its lines, that began in the early twenties, showed its pioneering spirit, as well its high level of service, as well early dieselization during the fifties."  The photograph on the web site indicated above appears to be completely identical in all respects to the picture on the train card except that the background buildings have been air-brushed out.

In the Wikipedia article on the ALCO PA type of locomotive, a section on Foreign Sales notes that "The PA-2 units sold to the 5'–3" (1600 mm) broad gauge Companhia Paulista de Estradas de Ferro of São Paulo State in Brazil were (for unknown reasons) equipped with a bar pilot and solid horizontal steel pilot beam, which did not help the PA's looks. Two of these locomotives survive."  The photograph on the game card appears to show a horizontal beam protruding from the lower part of the front end of the cab.

John Komanesky's Alco PA and PB Roster site indicates that three Alco PA2 units having road numbers 900-902 were built for the Paulista Railway of Brazil in October 1953, which corroborates the above-mentioned statement that the Paulista dieselized in the fifties.  Ironically, none of the PA units in the roster are listed as being built for any Canadian railroad.  Except for the three that went to Brazil, the rest were built for American railroads.  The locomotive illustrated thus has no connection whatsoever with the mileiu of the 1856 game.

Illustrations and information about the Alco PA diesel-electric locomotives can be found in various books depicting diesel locomotive engines.  These long, streamlined cab unit designs are one of the favorite types for some diesel enthusiasts.  One illustrated source for further information on the Alco PA series A1A-A1A type of engine is on page 280 of the Great Book of Trains by Brian Hollingsworth and Arthur F. Cook (London: Salamander Books, 1996).  A web site providing futher information and listing additional sources is The Alco PA: A Very Pretty Lady.


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This page originally posted on 15 December 2007.   If you have comments or questions, you can leave a message by writing to "gamecorner".  I use earthlink.net.