Davenport 0-4-0 fireless

Built by Davenport Locomotive Works

Davenport no. 40 fireless locomotive was built by Davenport Locomotive Works with construction number 3420 in November 1953 for Alabama Power Company. As built, the 0-4-0 yard switcher, came 38” drive wheels, 25x20 cylinders and a distinctively wide steam chamber which combined to deliver a tractive effort of 19,740lb.

Photo of No. 40, a Davenport 0-4-0, fireless, in service with Alabama Power Company
No. 40 in service with Alabama Power Company

Barry Electric Generation Plant

When purchased, Alabama Power bought no. 40 and a sister locomotive (that was used a backup) for a purchase price of $53,000 each. The locomotives were assigned to haul coal at Alabama Power’s Barry Electric Generation Plant, Mobile County, Alabama, where it would haul up to 80 cars per day. The locomotive and it’s sister continued in service until the late 1960’s when it was replaced with a diesel.

The Thermos

Photo of workers preparing locomotive no. 40 for shipment to the HOD Museum
Workers preparing No. 40 for shipment to the HOD Museum
Photo Credit Alabama Power

Rather than burning coal or wood, to produce steam, the locomotive was “recharged” with steam from the plant’s boilers. The process could last up to an hour and, when complete, brought the pressure in the steam chamber up to as much as 625 psi. Each “recharge” lasted roughly 4 hours. Because of it’s steam chamber, the 60-ton locomotive was nicknamed the “thermos”.