Santa Maria Valley 2-8-2 "Mikado" Locomotives in the USA

The Santa Maria Valley Railroad began in1911. Its 14 mile main line is located about 250 miles south of San Francisco and 175 miles north of Los Angeles on the Central Coast of California. There is an interchange with the Union Pacific in Guadalupe, CA.

By 1915, the railroad was handling 5700 cars a year. In 1925, traffic had declined to a point that the railroad was forced into bankruptcy, and it sold its assets to the Dominion Oil Company headed by Captain G. Allan Hancock. Hancock converted the railroad into a fresh vegetable carrier. The railroad was reorganized as the Santa Maria Valley Railroad Company.

Hancock revitalized the railroad and purchased a new steam locomotive, number 21, the only new steam locomotive the railroad ever purchased, from the Baldwin Locomotive Works. Number 21 had 50" diameter drivers, 19"x 20" cylinders, a 200 psi boiler pressure, it exerted 31,900 pounds of tractive effort and it weighed 166,000 pounds.

In 1943, a line was laid to the Santa Maria Army Air Corp Base. The SMV carried thousands of solders during WWII on special trains. Three additional locomotives, number 206, 100 and 1000, were added to the roster to handle the traffic. After the war, business continued to grow and the railroad prospered and like most railroad the SMV purchased diesel locomotives.

On February 24, 1962, an excursion ran from Santa Maria to Guadalupe and return. This excursion was the last run for number 21. Hundreds of rail fans turned out including Walt Disney who rode in the cab with Captain Hancock and Manny Phillips who had engineered and fired her on her first run 36 years earlier. The Astoria Railroad Preservation Association is now restoring number 21.

Three other SMV steam engines still exist. Number 205 a 2-6-2 is privately owned and undergoing restoration for possible use on the Portland & Western Railroad. Number 100 is in Oregon and is also privately owned. Number 1000 is on display at Travel Town Museum in Los Angeles, CA.


Qty.Road NumbersFrom Other RRYear Acquired Year BuiltBuilderNotes
1100Pope & Talbot19421926Baldwin2
  1. Bought new from Baldwin in 1925. Number 21 being restored by the Astoria Railroad Preservation Association, Inc.
  2. Number100 was built by Baldwin in 1926 as number 4 for the Charles R. McCormick Lumber Co. It was sold to the Pope & Talbot Lumber Co in 1938 and became P&T number 100. Sold to SMV in 1942. Sold to the White Mountain Scenic Railway in 1962 and then sold to the Wasatch Mountain Railway in 1976. It was then sold to Fred Kepner Estate in 1999. Fred Kepner still owns the locomotive which is in storage in Merrill, OR.
  3. Bought second hand from the Newaukum Valley Railroad in 1944. Retired in 1953 and donated to the Travel Town Museum in Los Angeles where it remains today as the SMV # 1000.
Specifications by Richard Duley
Wheel Arrangement:2-8-22-8-22-8-2
Drivers:50" dia.44" dia.48" dia.
Weight on Drivers:128,950 lbs.114,330 lbs.149,000 lbs.
Total Locomotive Weight:166,000 lbs.144,330 lbs.194,000 lbs.
Locomotive & Tender Weight:
Grate Area:
Cylinders (dia. x stroke):(2) 19" x 26"(2) 18" x 24"(2) 20" x 28"
Boiler Pressure:200 psi180 psi180 psi
Tractive Effort:31,900 lbs.27,000 lbs.35,700 lbs
Tender Capacity:
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Wes Barris