A Look Back at Railroad History


In September of 1953, the Pennsylvania Railroad brought a replica of the original "John Bull" Locomotive to Cleveland where it was on display at the old Pennsy passenger station downtown near the lakefront.

The "John Bull" was originally built in England for the Camden and Amboy Railroad and was for many years a part of the Pennsylvania Railroad System. Now on display in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., it is the oldest locomotive in America that had been preserved in complete form. It's initial run on November 12, 1831 near Bordentown, New Jersey was the first trip of a steam locomotive in that state with passengers, and the fifth anywhere in the United States. The locomotive ran in active service until 1865 and was presented to the Smithsonian in 1883. Ten years later the "John Bull" ran under it's own power to the world's Columbian Exposition in Chicago pulling two of it's original rail cars.

The replica was built in the Pennsylvania Railroad works in Altoona and formed part of the "Railroads on Parade" exhibit at the New York World's Fair in 1939 and 1940.  For steam enthusiasts, the specifications are as follows: 10 1/8" diameter cylinders (originally 9") with 20" stroke, 54" diameter driving wheels, weight with loaded tender is 44,000 pounds with the tractive effort being 1861 pounds. The operating steam pressure is 50 pounds per square inch.

The photos are from, and published with, the permission of the Robert W. Roggenburk collection.