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Wrong Bull

May 2024
1min read

As a student of railroad history I was delighted to see the charming folk art of David Matthew so nicely reproduced in the August/September issue. Unfortunately a serious error occurred in the commentary on page 69. The locomotive Robert Fulton did indeed become John Bull after being modified with the addition of the four-wheel Jervis bogie truck. However, it was not/is not the same John Bull now residing in the Smithsonian. That Bull was built in 1831 in England by Robert Stephenson and also, after being modified, served for many years on the Camden and Amboy Railroad, a line contemporary with the pioneering Mohawk and Hudson. The C & A John Bull recently celebrated its 150th anniversary. The subsequent history of the M & H John Bull is not so clear. After being modified as mentioned above, it apparently served well enough until 1845. At that time that road’s master mechanic, Walter McQueen, rebuilt the engine a second time and renamed it the Rochester. It probably lasted until the Civil War in that form, but its final history is unknown.

John H. White, Jr.’s masterful A History of the American Locomotive is the best reference for this.

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