2-8-2 "Mikado" Locomotives in Canada

"Mikado" is the name generally assigned to the steam locomotives of the 2-8-2 wheel arrangement. The general, and reasonable assumption, is that this appellation stems from the construction of locomotives of this wheel arrangement by Baldwin in 1893. These locomotives were of the three foot six inch gauge, and were constructed for Nihon Tetsudo (Japan Railways), a private railway at the time. The class of these first locomotives was "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. It should be pointed out that 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".

The first known example of this wheel arrangement in North America was on the Lehigh Valley. In 1883, that road rebuilt one of two center cab 2-10-0s into a 2-8-2. The thought here was to reduce flange wear on the final set of drivers. The Lehigh Valley was one of the early pioneers of the 2-8-2, purchasing no less than 47 center cab Wooten firebox equipped locomotives between 1902 and 1905. While other anthracite roads, and the Lehigh Valley itself, were to purchase further Wooten equipped Mikados, this group was the only class to fall into the category of "Camelback - Mother Hubbard".

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. But, for road service, the Mikado was considered to be developed from the 2-8-0 and the 2-6-2, just as the Pacific was a product of both the 4-4-2 and the 4-6-0. Bruce ("The Steam Locomotive In America") gives credit to an Alco built class for the Northern Pacific of 1905, which had 63 inch drivers. This, he regards as a development of 2-6-2s, of which the NP had a considerable fleet. The additional axle and the larger boiler permitted by the longer wheel base resulting in the 2-8-2 having the potential to haul the same trains as the 2-6-2 but on heavier grades. Another authority (Robert LeMassena, ("America's Workhorse Locomotive, the 2-8-2") points out that the NP sort of 2-8-2 had a smaller grate than contemporary 2-8-0s with 63 inch drivers, and the first true example of the 2-8-2 was a class built for the Virginian Railway in 1909, which had a deep firebox, supported by the trailing truck and a large superheated boiler.

Whatever the ancestry, the 2-8-2 became the principal freight locomotive of North America. Dealing only with standard gauge locomotives of common carrier railroads, Bruce gives a total of 9500 having been built for service in the United States. To this should be added 497 of the type on the roster of the Canadian National, and 253 for the Canadian Pacific, plus an uncertain number for smaller Canadian roads. Although the Nacionales de Mexico ultimately purchased many 2-8-2s from US railroads. One record shows an order for 40 57-inch driver locomotives in 1921/23. The North American total, then, as of about 1945, when pretty much all built would still have been in service, is somewhere in excess of 10,000 locomotives. Reasonably, then, 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. 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. Grate areas were in the general area of 65 to 70 square feet, although there were larger ones, including some giants on the Great Northern with an incredible 98.5 square foot grate. Railroads which desired to burn anthracite equipped their Mikados with Wooten fireboxes, which were large but shallow. Although some early examples were built as saturated engines, and some were compounds, it is safe to assume that all of the 10,000 Mikados were superheated and simple by 1945. Such appliances as boosters and feedwater heaters, if not original equipment, were frequently retrofitted, and with the obvious exception of oil burners, it is safe to say that almost all Mikados fell within the Interstate Commerce Commission's requirement that all locomotives with a weight of 160,000 (passenger) or 175,000 (freight) lbs or more on drivers would require a mechanical stoker.

Some coal haulers, the Virginian for one, stayed with 56/57 inch drivers for their Mikados. For the most part, however, driver diameters fell between a range of 61.5 inches (Reading) and 64 inches (B&O, Burlington). These diameters are really a matter of the preference of the various roads, thus, the Pennsylvania and the B&O both preferred even numbered diameters, but the PRR rounded down to 62 inches and the B&O, up to 64. The Reading went into the Twentieth Century with 55.5 inches as a standard wheel diameter for freight locomotives. When they ordered their first 27 Mikados in 1913, as fast freight engines, they got daring and fitted them with 61.5 inch drivers. Then, timidity took over, and the 1917 order for an additional 30 reverted to the 55.5 inch coal hauling diameter. Subsequently, they took a deep breath and installed 61.5 inch diameter drivers on the newer Mikados. With drivers in these diameters, and reasonably sized cylinders and big boilers, the Mikado was easily capable of 50mph and higher speeds. Mikados were built as freight engines, with one exception. The Union Pacific, whose first 2-8-2s had 57 inch drivers, received a second order with 63 inch drivers which were intended for mountain passenger service. One odd feature of these "passenger" engines was this; they were equipped with "Vanderbilt" type tenders, common on the UP at that period, and had a dummy vestibule fitted to the rear of the cylindrical water space. This was to line up with the vestibule of the first car attached behind the tender, and was conceived of as a method of reducing sway, to what effect remains obscure. When the larger Pacifics, and Mountains, were assigned to passenger service on the UP, these Mikados had the vestibules removed and went into freight work. But, Mikados did work passenger trains, particularly on heavy grades and, for example on the B&O and the Pennsylvania, were frequently used as passenger helpers.

Obviously, the type was in widespread use, to the extent that Mikados were the main freight locomotive of the North American railroads. Of course, there were exceptions. Lines which never owned 2-8-2s, included the Boston & Maine, the Delaware and Hudson, the Norfolk & Western, and others. One interesting exception to the domination of Mikados was the Southern Pacific. That system owned 162 Mikados and an impressive 182 2-10-2s (called "decapods" on the SP, for obvious reasons.)

Information for this introduction to Mikados provided by the late Edward Weinstein.

Builders of 2-8-2 "Mikado" Type Locomotives (by Richard Duley)

Railroad LineALCOBLWLimaOtherFrom Other Railroads
Aberdeen & Rockfish2 SV, 1 M&W, 1 Kanawha
Akron, Canton & Youngstown75NKP
Alabama & Vicksburg13
Alabama Great Southern2467 Erie
Alaska Railroad32 NP
Algoma Central7 WAB, 2 VGN, 8 M&St.L
Alton & Southern511 CCC&StL, 1DL&W 8 Wabash
Ann Arbor8
Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe3032 AT&SF3 PRR
Atlanta & St Andrews Bay1 M&W 4 NYC
Atlanta & West Point15
Atlanta, Birmingham & Coast176 CCC&StL, 5 NYC
Atlantic Coast Line4017 AB&C
Baltimore & Ohio6073 B&O8 CI&W, 48 BR&P
Bismark, Washburn & Great Falls3
Bonhomie & Hattiesburg Southern2
Boone & Scenic Valley1 Datong from HR
Boston & Albany326 NYC&U
Boston & Maine5 Erie
Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh48
California Western Railroad2 Medford Corp
Canadian National Railway963 CNR, 190 CLC
Canadian Pacific22430 CPR, 20 CFC, 60 CLC
Cambria & Indiana534 P&LE, 2 PRR
Central New England3
Central of Georgia825252 C of G10 IC
Central Railroad of New Jersey6620
Charleston & Western Carolina2 ACL, 8 Clinchfield
Chesapeake & Ohio20616 HV, 45 PM
Chicago & Alton655 Standard Oil
Chicago & Eastern Illinois70
Chicago & Illinois Midland442 SV, 1 M&W, 2 DL&W
Chicago & North Western310
Chicago Great Western40
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy383
Chicago, Indianapolis & Louisville55
Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific24020060 CMStP&P
Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific1259811 T&P
Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha502 C&NW
Cincinnati, New Orleans & Texas Pacific5360
Cincinnati, Indianapolis & Western 8
Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis2042560
Clinchfield1091 C&I, I-Sp-Am Iron Co
Colorado & Southern56 CB&Q
Colorado, Wyoming & Eastern1
Cowilitz, Chehalis & Cascade1
Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad8 D&RGW
Delaware, Lackawanna & Western112
Denver & Rio Grande Western103910 D&RGW10 D&SL
Denver & Salt Lake28
Detroit & Toledo Shore Line83
Detroit, Toledo & Ironton122 PRR
Dollywood4 WP&Y
Duluth & Northern Minnesota on the NSSRR 1
Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range10226 EJ&E
Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic1 B&A, 4 NYC
Duluth, Winnipeg & Pacific1
Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge1 C&TS, 8 D&RGW
East Broad Top6
El Paso & Southwestern25
Elgin , Joliet & Eastern61145
Erie Railroad1001065
Eureka Springs & North Arkansas1
Florida East Coast15
Fort Smith & Western6
Fort Worth & Denver25
Georgia Northern1
Georgia Railroad112 CCC&StL, 4 Clinchfield
Georgia, Ashburn, Sylvester & Camilla 1
Gilmore & Pittsburgh2
Grand Cayon1 CB&Q
Grand Trunk System1432510 CLC
Great Northern419070 GN5 El Paso & SW, 1 W&SF
Green Bay & Western6
Greenbrier & Eastern1
Gulf, Mobile & Northern12
Hocking Valley11
Illinois Central2523525775 IC4 A&V, 9 VS&P
Illinois Terminal3
Indiana Harbor Belt3529
International & Great Northern10
Interstate Railroad2 PRR
Kanawha & Michigan5
Kansas, Oklahoma & Gulf18
Kentucky & Tennessee121 Southern
Lake Champlain & Moriah3
Lake Erie & Western15
Lake Shore & Michigan Southern69
Laramie, Hahn Peak & Pacific4
Lehigh & Hudson River8
Lehigh & New England4 PRR
Lehigh Valley6516920 LV
Litchfield & Madison5
Louisiana & Arkansas651 Denkman Lumber Co.
Louisville & Nashville217241896 L&N
Magma Arizona1 T&G
Maine Central32
McCloud River31 SFT, 1 PP&C, 1 UM&S, 2 CR&NW
Michigan Central652625 LS&MS
Midland Valley12
Minarets & Western2
Minneapolis & St. Louis35
Minneapolis, St. Paul & Sault Ste. Marie351 BW&GF, 4 CRIP, 8 CI&L
Missouri & North Arkansas76 AB&C
Missouri Pacific232312310 I-GN
Mobile & Ohio1526176 P&LE 9 PMcK&Y
Mt. Rainer Scenic Railroad1 PofGH, 1 Hammond. Lum, 1Polson Log
Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis1041
National Railways of Mexico252025 NKP, 17 P&LE, 2 D&RGW
New Orleans & North Eastern5
New York Central & Hudson River51616020 NYC
New York, Chicago & St. Louis357115 LE&W
New York, New Haven & Hartford303 CNE
Newfoundland Railway246 North British
Northern Pacific3606 NP
Oahu Rail & Land Co.4
Pacific Great Eastern4 CLC
Peninsular Railway 1 Hammond Lumber
Pennsylvania Railroad520525344 PRR
Pere Marquette10105 Erie, 14 IHB, 11 NYC&HR, 5 Wabash
Philadelphia & Reading561 P&R
Pittsburgh & Lake Erie3610
Pittsburgh & Shawmut189 CI&L
Pittsburgh & West Virginia3 1 CI&L, 4 CRRNJ
Pittsburgh McKeesport & Youghiogheny45
Raritan River5
Rio Golden Railroad 1 Ulrich
Rockton, Rion & Western3
Santa Maria Valley1
Seaboard Air Line87741 SAL8 Wabash
Sierra Railroad11
Southern Pacific20812212 SP25 EP&SW, 2 N&W, 2 NVRR
Southern Railway1621135 Southern
Spokane Portland & Seattle15 GN, 11 NP
St. Louis-San Francisco385207 SL-SF10 IHB
Steamtown National Historical Site2 CNR
Sumpter Valley Railway23
Sumter & Choctaw1
Temiskaming & Northern Ontario17 CLC
Tennesee, Alabama & Georgia31 Bay Line, 3 CI&L, 4 GM&N, 4 NYC, 1 Sou
Tennesee Central123 CCC&StL, 3 NYC
Texas & Pacific1111
Texas State Railroad1 Magma Arizona
Toledo & Ohio Central15
Toledo, Peoria & Western4
Tremont and Gulf 30
Tweetsie Railroad1 WP&Y
Uintah Railway2
Union Pacific7426325
Valley Railroad1 A&R
Virginian675 VGN
Wabash135285 WP
Western Pacific365
Western Railway of Alabama16
Wheeling & Lake Erie20
White Pass & Yukon167 D&RGW, 2 Sumpter Val.
Yreka Western 1 McCloud

Total 2-8-2 Built
Sub Total "Big Three"10067
Other Builders1080
Total Built11147

Number of 2-8-2 "Mikado" Type Locomotives Built by Year (by Richard Duley)

Aberdeen & RockfishNo New
Akron, Canton & Youngstown22217
Alabama & Vicksburg1124
Alabama Great Southern6610830
Alaska Railroad213
Algoma CentralNo New
Alton & Southern211116
Ann Arbor358
Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe15293012553130202020131515305
Atlanta & St Andrews BayNo New
Atlanta & West Point22116
Atlanta, Birmingham & Coast27817
Atlantic Coast Line20103740
Baltimore & Ohio162501105010050503512610
Bismark, Washburn & Great Falls33
Bonhomie & Hattiesburg Southern112
Boone & Scenic ValleyNo New
Boston & Albany6810832
Boston & MaineNo New
Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh715161048
California Western RailroadNo New
Canadian National Railway1118365311054530215289
Canadian Pacific2520207520101052015202512202512334
Cambria & Indiana111328
Central New England33
Central of Georgia155218101060
Central Railroad of New Jersey101125202086
Charleston & Western CarolinaNo New
Chesapeake & Ohio149610050206
Chicago & Alton302015570
Chicago & Eastern Illinois2515201070
Chicago & Illinois Midland22318
Chicago & North Western15453725628402058310
Chicago Great Western1010101040
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy5010851515402635793160383
Chicago, Indianapolis & Louisville2510461055
Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific201352025505050505050500
Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific5025209841025223
Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha1515246850
Cincinnati, New Orleans & Texas Pacific251010251825113
Cincinnati, Indianapolis & Western88
Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis524616252550252525289
Colorado & Southern55
Colorado, Wyoming & Eastern11
Cowilitz, Chehalis & Cascade11
Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RailroadNo New
Delaware, Lackawanna & Western12151510102525112
Denver & Rio Grande Western151410106459
Denver & Salt Lake8210
Detroit & Toledo Shore Line314311
Detroit, Toledo & Ironton44412
DollywoodNo New
Duluth & Northern Minnesota on the NSSRR 11
Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range63312
Duluth, South Shore & AtlanticNo New
Duluth, Winnipeg & Pacific11
Durango & Silverton Narrow GaugeNo New
East Broad Top1111116
El Paso & Southwestern5551025
Elgin , Joliet & Eastern201858156880
Erie Railroad10707515401211
Eureka Springs & North Arkansas11
Florida East Coast1515
Fort Smith & Western3216
Fort Worth & Denver1055525
Georgia Northern11
Georgia Railroad315211
Georgia, Ashburn, Sylvester & Camilla 11
Gilmore & Pittsburgh22
Grand CanyonNo New
Grand Trunk System1001050810178
Great Northern20502584064515101021113264
Green Bay & Western336
Greenbrier & Eastern11
Gulf, Mobile & Northern8412
Hocking Valley5611
Illinois Central7575504555545503331383777777592
Illinois Terminal33
Indiana Harbor Belt152420564
International & Great Northern4610
Interstate RailroadNo New
Kanawha & Michigan2125
Kansas, Oklahoma & Gulf426
Kentucky & Tennessee1113
Lake Champlain & Moriah112
Lake Erie & Western1515
Lake Shore & Michigan Southern115869
Laramie, Hahn Peak & Pacific45
LeCoeur, Terrance & Lynville1616
Lehigh & Hudson River448
Lehigh & New EnglandNo New
Lehigh Valley2710102145415535351010254
Litchfield & Madison325
Louisiana & Arkansas222511
Louisville & Nashville16151094127203620402625252124355
Magma ArizonaNo New
Maine Central46646632
McCloud River213
Michigan Central3520101101591
Midland Valley2233212
Minarets & Western22
Minneapolis & St. Louis1551535
Minneapolis, St. Paul & Sault Ste. Marie102535
Missouri & North Arkansas211127
Missouri Pacific5030252586243610286
Mobile & Ohio54444101075558
Montreal Terminal1212
Mt. Rainer Scenic RailroadNo New
Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis154208451
National Railways of Mexico202545
New Orleans & North Eastern55
New York Central & Hudson River122973046107278962010250696
New York, Chicago & St. Louis351051151525106
New York, New Haven & Hartford3030
Newfoundland Railway223134630
Northern Pacific194269504050204332525386
Oahu Rail & Land Co.224
Pacific Great Eastern224
Peninsular Railway No New
Pennsylvania Railroad311231781686118579
Pere Marquette101020
Philadelphia & Reading15657
Pittsburgh & Lake Erie5155101146
Pittsburgh & Shawmut12618
Pittsburgh & West Virginia33
Pittsburgh McKeesport & Youghiogheny52015545
Rockton, Rion & WesternNo New
Santa Maria Valley11
Seaboard Air Line191015232034401162
Sierra Railroad112
Southern Pacific16642120266135
Southern Railway402028471550252030221280
Spokane Portland & SeattleNo New
St. Louis-San Francisco23351515201231115
Steamtown National Historical SiteNo New
Sumpter Valley Railway325
Sumter & Choctaw11
Temiskaming & Northern Ontario6422317
Tennesee, Alabama & Georgia33
Tennesee Central8412
Texas & Pacific111122
Texas State RailroadNo New
Toledo & Ohio Central1515
Toledo, Peoria & Western44
Tremont and Gulf 11
Tweetsie RailroadNo New
Uintah Railway112
Union Pacific195655024308710362
Valley RailroadNo New
Vicksburg, Schreveport & Pacific4149
Western Pacific5105655541
Western Railway of Alabama22217
Wheeling & Lake Erie2020
White Pass & Yukon2111216
Yreka Western No New

Railroads that used 2-8-2 "Mikado" Locomotives in Canada (data provided by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media)

Surviving Examples of 2-8-2 "Mikado" Locomotives in Canada

No.ClassF.M. WhyteGaugeRailroad LineLocationStatusBuilder InfoNotes
5433P2b2-8-24'-8½"CPR CPR station, Chapleau, ONdisplayCLC #2038, 1943
3239S-1-a2-8-24'-8½"CNR Canadian Railway Museum, Delson, QCdisplayCLC #1392, 1917
162-8-24'-8½"Comox Logging Co Doug Callahan, Kelowna, BCstoredBaldwin #61159, 1929From Squamish, BC
112-8-24'-8½"Comox Logging Co Oyster Bay Dr, Ladysmith, BCdisplayBaldwin #57409, 1923
7 (1055)90 ton2-8-2T4'-8½"Alberni Pacific Lumber (M-B) Alberni Valley Museum, Port Alberni, BCoperationalBaldwin #60942, 1929
1066 (4)2-8-2T4'-8½"M-B (Bloedel Stewart & Welsh) train station, Qualicum Beach, BCdisplayBaldwin #58687, 1925
5468P2k2-8-24'-8½"CPR Revelstoke Railway Museum, Revelstoke, BCdisplayMontreal Locomotive Works #76140, 1948
1132-8-24'-8½"Canadian Forest Products near school, Woss Lake, BCdisplayALCO (Brooks) #61859, 1920 Operated on Camp Woss main line in 1948-1950.

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