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Prototype - Lima Locomotive

Nickel Plate’s S-3 Berkshires represent Lima “Super Power” at its best at the end of the steam era.  Lima developed the 2-8-4 design in the 1920’s.  In 1948 when the Nickel Plate (New York, Chicago & St. Louis RR) ordered 10 Berkshires, numbered 770 – 779, all the refinements of steam at its best had been incorporated in a massive locomotive with 69” drivers, trailing a tender of classic proportions.


No. 779, shipped on May 13, 1949, was the last steam locomotive produced by the Lima Locomotive Works.  She was displayed as the ultimate example of modern steam locomotive design at the Chicago Railroad Fair.  NKP No. 779 logged 677,095 miles of operation and cost $187,000.00. Retired at Conneaut, Ohio, in early 1958, NKP No. 779 came home to Lima in 1963 and was put on display in Lincoln Park, Lima, Ohio.  One of her sister engines, NKP No. 765 is undergoing full restoration at Fort Wayne, Indiana and will be steaming again.


The 80 Nickel Plate Berkshires became famous as locomotives due to their fine performance and efficient design, but also perhaps due to the fact that they were well-proportioned, handsome machines. Trains Magazine said in March 1969 that they exemplified not only "the engines that saved a railroad" . . but the larger world of Super Power instigated by her builder and by her wheel arrangement. She had the long stroke, high pressure, big boiler, tall drivers, and generous grate area of advanced but sound design, and her modernity of measurements had been refined with force-feed lubrication, roller bearings, a feed water heater, and a division-spanning tender.


These 2-8-4s served the Nickel Plate principally as freight locomotives, rolling across the hills and plains of Ohio and Indiana at speeds of 50 to 70 miles per hour. Locomotive historian Richard Cook said that they "must be ranked among the most successful steam locomotives ever built.





Scale/Gauge: 1/32, 45 mm (Gauge One) 
Weight:  11.5 kg (Engine 7.5 kg + Tender 4.0 kg),   (25.35 lbs.)
Length: o.b. 1000 mm, (39.5 inches) 
Height: 153 mm. (6. inches)
Width: 110 mm (4.25 inches)
Wheel Arrangement: 2-8-4 - Berkshire type 
Driving Wheels: 53.0 mm dia. (2.08 inches)
Leading Wheels: 27.0 mm dia 
Trailing Pony: 27.0 mm (front) 34mm (rear) dia 
Tender Wheel Arrangement: 2 x 3 axle trucks (Buckeye Trucks)  - 27 mm disc wheels 
Cylinders: 2 cylinders, with slide valves
Bore: 15 mm x Stroke 24 mm - Working drain cocks 
Valve gear: Baker Valve Gear 
Reverser: Lever
Boiler Type:  Simplified Locomotive Boiler (with dry firebox sides) and three flue tubes
Pressure: 3 / 4 kg/cm2 
Water capacity: 450 cc (at 80% full) 
Fittings: 2 x Safety valves, Gauge Glass, Throttle, Blower Valve. Blow down Valve,
	Pressure Gauge, Bypass Valve,  Superheater, and Whistle.  
Feed Water Pump: Axle Driven Pump (bore 5 mm x ram stroke 6 mm.) 
Lubricator: Roscoe displacement type 
Tender: Hand operated pump 
Fuel Tank 500cc at 80% full of Methylated Spirit, Removable 
Water Capacity: 700 cc (80% full) 
Minimum Radius: 3.0 meters (10 feet)


Click to preview


Aster NKP Berkshire


Parts and components   /   Preview Steam Up


Building Aster’s NKP Berkshire #779
an assembly review by Howard Freed


On-Line Video

Aster Berkshire with 72 cars on the SVRR




This limited production Aster model is alcohol-fired and equipped with fully equalized drivers, functional Baker valve gear, alcohol tank, opening fire box door, blow down valve, axle and tender pump, steam whistle, sufficient cab space for twin servo RC equipment, tender water drain plug and many more super detail features in the traditional Aster quality. 


Lima Berkshires operated on the Boston & Albany (55); Boston & Maine (25); Chesapeake & Ohio (20); Detroit, Toledo & Ironton (6); Erie (45); Illinois Central (50); Louisville & Nashville 22); Missouri Pacific (25); Nickel Plate (65); Pere Marquette (39), and Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac (10).


The "Nickel Plate Road" Berkshire was available in both KIT and Ready to Run / Factory Built.   Also, a very limited number "Unlettered" Berkshires were available in KIT form only.  




NKP Berkshire No. 779 “as retired from service




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