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Tank locomotive

A tank locomotive (sometimes inaccurately called a tank engine) is a steam locomotive that carries its own fuel and water with it, instead of pulling it behind it in a tender.

The benefits of this idea include:

There are, of course, corresponding disadvantages:

Worldwide, tank locomotives varied in popularity. They were more common in areas where space was at a premium, mostly Europe and other areas where the railways came later and had to fit into the towns rather than the towns growing around the rails. With their limited fuel and water capacity, they were not favored in areas where long runs between stops were the norm. 

They were very common in the United Kingdom, France, and in particular Germany, where some attained quite prodigous size. In the United States they tended to be restricted to push-pull suburban service, always the tank engine's forté, and also for switching service in terminals and locomotive shops. They were also very popular in logging, mining and industrial service.

The most famous tank locomotive, of course, is the fictional Thomas the Tank Engine, who was actually based on a London, Brighton and South Coast Railway class E2 0-6-0 side tank.

There are a number of sub-classes of tank locomotive, mostly based on the location and style of the water tanks. These include the side tank, the saddle tank, the pannier tank, the well tank and others.