Nov 19, 2010 · Power in a steam locomotive is generally described as "tractive effort" , and is rated in pounds. This is the ability of a locomotive to start a train rolling , not keep it rolling. The locomotives with the greatest tractive effort were the 2-8-8-8-4's of the Virginian Ry. with a TE of 199,560 lbs.

Maximum tractive effort: Maximum tractive effort is defined as the highest tractive force that can be generated under any condition that is not injurious to the vehicle or machine. In most cases, maximum tractive effort is developed at low speed and may be the same as the starting tractive effort. The Consolidation Type was a highly successful steam locomotive design of the latter half of the 19th century that would eventually replace the 4-4-0 American Type. The new Consolidation, a 2-8-0 design, allowed for more tractive effort with two additional driving axles and a larger boiler.