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2-8-2 "Mikado" Type

Light Mikados

"Mikado" is the name generally assigned to the steam locomotives of the 2-8-2 wheel arrangement. The general assumption is that this appellation stems from the construction of locomotives of this wheel arrangement by Baldwin in 1893 which were constructed for Nihon Tetsudo (Japan Railways), a private railway at the time. After Pearl Harbor, in an excess of patriotic zeal, some railroads (most prominently the B&O and Union Pacific) renamed their locomotives of this wheel arrangement as "MacArthurs".

Early installations of locomotives of the 2-8-2 wheel arrangement, both narrow gauge and industrial, such as logging, were ordered with a trailing axle to permit ease in bi-directional operation. The 2-8-2 became the principal freight locomotive of North America. Dealing only with standard gauge locomotives of common carrier railroads a total of 9,500 were built for service in the United States. About one out of every five locomotives in service on North American common carrier railroads was a Mikado (or MacArthur).

What were the characteristics that made this class so popular and successful? It was relatively a large locomotive - few were built with axle loadings of less than 50,000 lbs, and at least half were at 60,000 lbs and above, which resulted, at normal adhesion, in starting tractive efforts substantially over 50,000 lbs. In other words, when dealing with general purpose freight service, the ability to handle trains of 3000 to 5000 tons at good track speeds was accomplished with Mikados.

CWR #12

It was a beautifully balanced design with the lead axle and the two front driving axles being equalized with the two rear driving axles and the trailing axles.

Right are pictures of 2-8-2 Mikados with the railroads along the Mendocino Coast.


Click photo to see the slideshow


CWR # 45 leaving Fort Bragg



CWR's #45 is a 2-8-2 Mikado. Click photo on left to see a gallery of pictures of her taken over the years.



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Heavy Mikado

The USRA Heavy Mikado was a USRA standard class of locomotive designed under the control of the United States Railroad Administration the nationalized railroad system in the United States during World War I. These locomotives were 2-8-2s'. A total of 233 locomotives were built to this plan for the USRA; postwar, it became a de facto standard design, which was built to the total of 957 locomotives including the USRA originals and all subsequent copies.

A typical Heavy Mikado

A typical Heavy Mikado

The same running gear was used on the USRA Light Mikado but they were built to a higher axle load, larger cylinders and a much larger boiler for more power and steam-generating ability.

Rounding the curve into the Barn


Club Member Dan Fessler has a G-scale Heavy Mikado which he has run on our layout. Her sound system is by far the most powerful and complete of those we have heard and seen on our club's tracks. And she is a good looker too ….. see the photo gallery left.



Click Photo left to see all the pictures

2-8-2 Mikado - CWR #44 2-8-2 Mikado - CWR #44 2-8-2 Mikado - CWR #45 2-8-2 Mikado - CWR #45 CWR #45 at Fort Bragg CWR #45 CWR #45 CWR #45 CWR #45 2-8-2 Heavy Mikado with a full consist of passenger cars crossing the Pudding Creek Trestle 2-8-2 Heavy Mikado making the turn at the North End of the Carpenter's Barn 2-8-2 Heavy Mikado approaching the Pudding Creek Trestle 2-8-2 Heavy Mikado coming off an A-Frame bridge