The 4-6-0 steam locomotive appeared on the railroad scene in the mid- to late-19th Century. It largely replaced the 4-4-0 American type popularized in Currier & Ives prints, as heavier trains and mountainous terrain demanded more power.
The 4-4-0 design was first modified by locomotive builder Richard Norris & Son of Philadelphia, who added an extra driving axle at the rear of the locomotive to create the 4-6-0, or "Ten Wheeler" as it became known. The extra pair of drivers permitted the construction of a bigger boiler and firebox. Combined with the traction of the extra wheels, these changes produced a 50% increase in tractive effort over a 4-4-0. It would still be some time before designers thought to add a trailing truck to support an even larger firebox.
After the transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869, fleets of Ten Wheelers were among the engines that conquered the American West and built the young nation's first truly national transportation network. In a time when railroads were still new technology and black had not yet become the standard color of steam locomotives, many 4-6-0's were flamboyantly decorated in the colors of their individual railroads.
Relive the pioneering spirit of 19th-century railroading with the RailKing Ten Wheeler and RailKing period rolling stock. The Ten Wheeler returns to the MTH lineup in 2012. Featuring the incredible speed control, variable smoke output, and digital sound quality of ProtoSoundr 3.0, this locomotive is sure to become a favorite on your layout.