Articles - PRR Equipment Info & Links
03/05/2016

Steam Locomotive Class Names

In general, steam locomotives were classified using the Whyte notation. This system counts the number of wheels in each of the three or four sections of the engine. For example, a steam locomotive with two leading wheels, 8 driving wheels, and 2 trailing wheels was flagged as a "2-8-2". Note that each wheel on the axle was counted (i.e. one on each side). However, the Pennsylvania Railroad, being the "Standard Railroad of the World", classified their engines differently. Each steam and electric engine was classified according to its wheel arrangement in groups represented by a capital letter of the alphabet. For example, a "2-10-4" steam engine was classified by the Pennsy as a "J". This letter was usually followed by a number indicating the design change. For example, a "J1" was the first design of the "2-10-4" group.

"A" = 0-4-0 "switcher"
"B" = 0-6-0 "Shifter" (PRR had more than 350, with B6sb the most popular at 238)
"C" = 0-8-0
"D" = 4-4-0 "American"
"E" = 4-4-2 "Atlantic"
"F" = 2-6-0 "Mogul"
"G" = 4-6-0 "Ten Wheeler" (PRR had 90 G5)
"H" = 2-8-0 "Consolidation" (represented half of the PRR's steam engines)
"I" = 2-10-0 "Decapod" (PRR had 598 class I1 engines)
"J" = 2-6-2 "Prairie" and 2-10-4 "Texas" (PRR had 250 class J1 engines)
"K" = 4-6-2 "Pacific" (PRR had 425 class K4 engines, predominantly for passenger service)
"L" = 2-8-2 "Mikado" (PRR had 575 class L1 engines)
"M" = 4-8-2 "Mountain"
"N" = 2-10-2
"O" = 4-4-4 (experimental only)
"P" = 4-6-4 (electric engines only)
"Q" = 4-4-6-4 and 4-6-4-4
"R" = 4-8-4 (the PRR never had any of these)
"S" = 6-4-4-6 and 6-8-6
"T" = 4-4-4-4 "Duplex"

Steam Locomotives Links

Steam Locomotive Class Description
Roster of Every Steam Class
Locomotive Roster
Fallen Flags Steam Locomotive Photos (scroll down the page)
Ron Wright Photo Collection
Norm Cole and Clifton Stott Photo Collections
A Couple of Steam Photos
Locomotive Diagrams
Locomotives Built in Altoona and Juniata
Whyte Notation
PRR Steam Engines (video)

Diesel Locomotive Class Names

For diesel engines, the PRR used a two-letter format along with a dash and a number. The first letter indicated the builder and the second letter the primary purpose of the engine. For road-going diesels, the number after the letters represented the number of engines in the train (or lash-up). For example, an "EF-4" was a set of engines made by EMD, intended for Freight use, and there were four semi-permanently-coupled units. For diesel switcher engines, the same two-letter method was used, but the number after the dash represents the hundreds of horsepower the engine produced. For example, an "AS-10" was an Alco-built Switcher that produced 1000hp.

These are the first letter possibilities:
"A" = American Locomotive Company ("Alco")
"B" = Baldwin Locomotive Works
"E" = GM's Electro-Motive Division ("EMD")
"F" = Fairbanks-Morse Company
"G" = General Electric ("GE")

These are the second letter possibilities:
"F" = freight service
"P" = passenger service
"S" = switcher service

Diesel Locomotives Links

Locomotive Roster
Diesel Locomotive Class/Model Cross Reference
Fallen Flags Diesel Engine Photos
Fallen Flags Electric Engine Photos
Ron Wright Photo Collection (scroll down the page for diesels and electrics)
Fallen Flags Diesel Operator Manuals
Diesel Locomotive Diagrams
Electric Locomotive Diagrams
Bob Vogel's Collection of Surviving/Restored Engines
Lew Schneider's Collection of early 1950s PRR Photos
John Dziobko Jr's Collection of 1950s PRR Photos
Photos for sale
Small Photo Gallery Includes Diesels Engines
Engines Categorized by Model (not all-PRR)
PRR E8 #5711A and 5809A
PRR E8 #5711A and 5809A
PRR E8s
PRR #9331 (44-tonner?)
PRR #9331 (44-tonner?)

Car Class Names

Freight cars also had a naming convention. The first letter indicated the high-level group to which the car belonged. The subsequent single or double character (digit or letter) that followed indicated the sub-group.

These are the first letter possibilities:
"F" = flat cars.
"G" = gondolas or hoppers (some early hoppers were considered gondolas, hence the "G").
"H" = hoppers.
"K" = stock cars.
"N" = cabin cars (cabooses).
"R" = refrigerator cars.
"T" = tank cars (some early ones use the letter "A").
"U" = side-dump cars.
"X" = box cars.
"Y" = scale-test cars.

The following were used for passenger cars:
"B" = baggage car
"BD" = baggage dormitory car
"BM" = baggage mail car
"C" = parlor car
"D" = diner
"HP" = head-end power car
"E" = express car
"M" = mail car (RPO)
"O" = combine car
"P" = passenger (coach)
"PB" = passenger baggage car
"PBM" = passenger baggage mail car
"PC" = passenger cafe car
"PD" = Passenger dormitory car
"PDB" = passenger dormitory baggage car
"PLC" = passenger lounge car
"PLB" = passenger lounge baggage car
"POC" = cafe observation car
"POS" = sleeper observation car
"PP" = parlor car
"PS" = sleeper (Pullman) car
"R" = reefer (passenger service) car
"Z" = business car
"MP" = motor passenger car (a.k.a. "Doodlebugs")
"MPB" = motor passenger baggage car
"MPBM" = motor passenger baggage mail car
"MB" = motor baggage car
"MBM" = motor baggage mail car
"T" = MU trailer car
"OEG"/"OEW"/"GEW" = gas/oil electric motor car

Freight Cars Links

Freight Car Listing
Equipment Diagrams
Freight Car Photos
Freight Car Trucks
Freight Car Counts 1949-1955 (PDF file)
Freight Train Symbols, Routes, and Names

Passenger Cars Links

Equipment Diagrams (bottom half of page)
Passenger Car Roster
Passenger Car Trucks
Passenger Car Documents

Cabin Cars Links

Cabin Car Diagrams
List of All Cabin Car Classes (with prototype and model info)
Surviving Cabin Cars
Surviving Cabin Cars
Contains Photos of Cabin Cars
Contains Photos of Cabin Cars
Wabash Valley Railroaders Museum (has an N6b)