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Engine 12

Rahway Valley Railroad #12

Type: 2-8-0 Consolidation
Builder: American Locomotive Company - Pittsburgh Works
Construction #: 25640
Year Built: 08/1902
Drivers: 54"
Cylinders: 22" x 28"
Weight: 87 tons
Tractive Effort: 38,397 lbs.
Notes: Ex-Bessemer & Lake Erie RR #96
Purchased 09/1927 for $3,213.79
Retired 1929(?)
Scrapped 02/1943


#12 stored on a siding in Kenilworth. October, 1938.
Photo by George Votava.

Caboose 102 and #12 sit stored on the side track in Kenilworth on Independence Day, 1939.
Photo taken by George Votava, Dave Keller archive.

#12 was originally Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad (B&LE) #96. The locomotive was constructed for the B&LE by the American Locomotive Company (ALCo) at their Pittsburgh, PA plant in August of 1902.

At the time of the locomotive's purchase the Rahway Valley Railroad was being led by veteran railroader, Roger A. Clark, who made the decision to purchase it in September of 1927 (Source: Frye ). The following is mentioned by noted railroad historian, Thomas T. Taber, III, "No. 12 was the heaviest engine on the road, too heavy for the 60 [lbs.] rail. Scrapped [in] 1943 after many years of little use." The locomotive was removed from regular service and retired in 1929 (Bernhart, Stanley).

After 1929, it is unclear if the engine ever operated over the Rahway Valley Railroad again. The only photos of the engine to have ever of surfaced are of it languishing on the siding in the Kenilworth Yards throughout the 1930's. The locomotive was scrapped in February of 1943 (Taber, Bernhart, Frye).

#12 sits in retirement as one of her sisters (either #13 or 14) huffs and chuffs aways just down the track. August 19, 1937. Photo taken by C.A. Schrade.

#12 sits stored at Kenilworth. June 1938. Courtesy of Don Maxton.

#12 sits, unused, in Kenilworth with Caboose #102 latched onto its tender.

A nice angled shot of #12 in Kenilworth. Note the rag tied around the smoke stack, in an attempt to keep rain water and snow out of the unused engine's boiler.

Collection of Richard J. King

Description of Engine No. 12
Courtesy of Don Maxton


#12, a big old Bessemer consolidation, received some attention from those early railfans who visited the RVRR in the 1930's and 1940's to "take a look around."
Engine #12 slumbers in her retirement, seen here on her accustomed sidetrack in Kenilworth on October 12, 1941, scrapping is little more than a year off for this old gal. #12's headlight has been removed as well as her bell chord. The weather has been unkind to this venerable Consolidation as her "Bessemer" hertiage starts to show itself on the tender, a sign that the paint is wearing away.

#12 living out its last days. #12's large headlight has been removed and it's bell cord is missing. It's only a matter of time before #12 would head off to the scrap heap.

  • Shortlines & Industrial Railroads of New Jersey Vol. 2 by Benjamin L. Bernhart.
  • Roster Information provided by Allen Stanley of Railroad Data Exchange, courtesy of Michael Kaplonski.
  • Roster information provided byPatrick McKnight of the Steamtown National Historic Site, roster supplied byHarry Frye.

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