American 4-4-0

The Queen of Peace blank 1-1/2″ scale blank 4-4-0

Fr. Finelli

(You can find pictures of a rebuild of this locomotive in the gallery.)

The American style locomotive was the standard engine built by all of the locomotive manufacturers for many years bfore the turn of the century. The locomotive had many exterior variations, however the wheel arrangement (4-4-0) and the over-all appearance remained the same. This particular engine was designed to place as much weight as possible on the drivers and to manuver the sharp curves and poor quality of track conditions of the time. This engine was a great success and helped to put the railroad industry on the map.

In 1973, as I was reading Model Railroader, I came accross an advertisement for Little Engines, which read “Build your own back yard railroad!”. I was hooked immediately. From that day on I spent many hours dreaming of my own little locomotive. That dream began to become a reality in 1990. One day in my third year of the seminary, I went on a telephone search for the company whose advertisement I saw in 1973. After a long and hard search, a new catalogue was on the way. I began building the engine in 1990 and after many trials and discouraging days, my dream becam reality. I completed my own locomotive in August of 1995. I want to tell every railroad dreamer, “Don’t give up your dream!”

My engine’s specifications:


First run at Montreal Live Steamers,
July 4th weekend, 1995

  • Classification: 4-4-0
  • Scale: 1-1/2″
  • Gauge: 7-1/4″
  • Drivers: 6-3/4″
  • Front truck wheels: 2-7/8″
  • Valve gear: Stephenson slide
  • Boiler: Copper, 5″ O.D.
  • Bore: 1-3/8″
  • Stroke: 2″
  • Drain cocks: 4 (automatic)
  • Fuel: coal fired
  • Height: 21-1/2″
  • Length: 43″
  • One – two cylindar steam pump
  • One – steam injector
  • One – hand pump
  • Three – hystatic lubricators
  • In the future I will add specs and photos of the tender.

Following is a pictoral presentation of the building of an American locomotive. For those who have no machining experience, I began this project with no experience, and today, I have a Sherline mill, a Sherline lathe and a Grizzley Lathe.

Now in an easy load format. Just click a link below and the picture will open in a new window.

  1. The first section of the locomotive arrives and I begin sorting the parts.
  2. The assembled frame cluttering up my parents family room!
  3. Frame with drivers, cylinders, and lead truck.
  4. Side view.
  5. Engine with boiler, smoke box etc. rapidly approaching completion.
  6. Locomotive steamed up for the first time.
  7. A look in the cab.
  8. Steam injector.
  9. Hydrostatic lubricator.
  10. Parts disassembled for final painting.
  11. The boiler wrapper hanging out to dry.
  12. Boiler with wrapper and belly bands ready to mount.
  13. A front end view.


The finished product.


My locomotive is named Queen of Peace as a tribute to the Virgin Mary, who has been appearing in Medugorje – Bosnia, under that title, since 1981. The railroad I gave her is Providence & Worcester.As of the rebuild, she is re-lettered Nasonville Valley Railroad Co.

Be sure to see the pictures of my rebuild of this locomotive!

First online: February 24, 1996

2 thoughts on “American 4-4-0

  1. Nice website and engines, father!

    and now for your next obsession- get a speeder!
    it’s model railroading, 12 inches to the foot. I’ve done 8500 rail miles in 4 years, all over N america, including alaska, mexico, british columbia, and half the lower 48.

    peace, out

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