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Mikado Locomotives  
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Sep 04 2011 (14:31)

Entry# 722     
Mikado Locomotives

Sep 04 2011 (14:30)
News Entry# 36921  Thunder Across The Prairie – The Mikado 2-8-2  
Posted by: rdb*^   Added by: rdb*^  Sep 04 2011 (14:31)
The Mikado 2-8-2 steam locomotive was one of the most common steam locomotives built and used in the United States, Canada and Mexico. It was a workhorse, a locomotive that could do it all. Primarily used in freight operations, it was occasionally employed in passenger service, right up to the end of steam operations. Large and small railroads operated Mikados due to their extreme versatility. Some seemed to be light and delicate, treading on narrow guage rail, others were plodding behemoths that thundered across the prairies. The choice depended on the job that needed to be accomplished.During the golden era of steam, from 1904 through 1948 almost 10,000 Mikados were built. The Pennsylvania Railroad alone possessed over 550 of these modern day iron horses.When the United States became involved in World War I, the UnitedStatesRailroad Administration under the guidance of William Gibbs Mcadoodecided to standardize the design and manufacture of locomotives in order...
to save time and materials. This gave birth to what is known as the USRA Mikado. Mikado was the name assigned to steam locomotives with 2-8-2 wheel arrangements.No, the 2-8-2 wasn’t nicknamed after Macadoo, it was named Mikado meaning “Emperor of the land” in Japanese. The origin of the name stemmed from the construction of locomotives, with this wheel arrangement, by the Baldwin Locomotive Company in 1893. Locomotives of this arrangement with a three foot six inch gauge were constructed for Nihon Tetsudo, a private Japanese railway at the turn of the century. These first locomotives were classed: “Bt4/6″. “B” was for “Baldwin”, “t” meant “with tender”, “4″ stood for drivers, and “6″ was for total axles. In 1906, 17 private railways, including Nihon Tetsudo became part of the Imperial Japanese Government Railways.
2-8-2 Mikado
Over their forty-four years of use, thousands of 2-8-2 Mikados were built by the three major American locomotive builders: The American Locomotive Company, Baldwin Locomotive Works and Lima Locomotive Works.Alco built the first true North American 2-8-2′s for the Northern Pacific in 1904. Experimental locomotives with the same wheel arrangement had appeared as early as 1890, and Baldwin delivered a compound 2-8-2 to the Bismarck, Washburn & Great Falls, and the Santa Fe in 1901.The Northern Pacific using 2-6-2′s on its main line in level terrain, and double headers on higher grades wanted an engine to handle the overall runs without assistance. A 2-8-2 Mikado locomotive could handle the same-sized train in hilly territory without double heading and became the Northern Pacific’s engine of choice.In 1949 the last Mikados built, six narrow-gauge models were delivered to Canada’s Newfoundland Railway. The Canadian Pacific received the last standard-gauge models a year earlier in 1948. Many of North America 2-8-2′s ran on to the end of steam era. The last steam-powered run on the New York Central was handled by a 2-8-2 in May of 1957 – appropriate enough, since the Central had the largest fleet of 2-8-2′s in North America. Despite their Japanese ancestry, the 2-8-2’s became the principal freight locomotion for North America. Dealing only with standard gauge locomotives of common carrier railroads, Bruce statistics records a total of 9500 2-8-2’s built for service in the United States. In addition 497 2-8-2′s were put in service by the Canadian National, and another 253 with the Canadian Pacific, plus an uncertain number for smaller Canadian roads. The Nacionales de Mexico ultimately purchased many 2-8-2′s from US railroads. The North American total of 2-8-2′s in service, by 1945, built and still in service, was somewhere in excess of 10,000 locomotives. One out of every five locomotives on the North American continent in service with a common carrier railroad was a 2-8-2 Mikado. Today the Mikados are long gone, relegated to history in  railroad museums and forgotten in bone yards.
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