The H22FF22Hb8r Class is a class of articulated locomotives with Franco Costi boilers designed by Gustav Othmar at the E&A's Charlotte Works.
The challenging Floyd grade in Virginia had an uniterrupted climb of 3% over 30 miles. This required powerful banking locomotives to assist with the difficult climb, and, in the 1930's, the railroad was having trouble. The current locomotives used for banking on the Floyd grade were simply not strong enough. When Gustav Othmar came from Belgium in the mid '30's he told of a special kind of locomotive, the Franco-Costi locomotive. With much research, Gustav came up with a design for an American version.
The Belgium locomotive had a wheel arrangement of 0-6-2+2-4-2-4-2+2-6-0. Gustav added two driving wheels on the outside locomotives, two more driving wheel on each set in the middle and removed the truck in the very middle of the locomotive to create an 0-8-2+2-6-0-6-2+2-8-0 locomotive.
The locomotive was originally double-ended, as no turntable existed in it's area of operation for turning it round. This was changed in 1944, with the funds from the U.S. Army Transportation corps, two turntables long enough were built in Stuart, Virginia, and in Floyd, Virginia, and the locomotive became one sided.
Only one locomotive of this class was needed until the '40's, with the sudden upsurge of traffic with the war. Two more were built at the Charlotte works, one going to the Mitchell grade in North Carolina and the other to Charles Bunion mountain between Tennesse and North Carolina.