Florida East Coast 2-8-2 "Mikado" Locomotives in the USA

In 1886, Henry M. Flagler began operating The Florida East Coast Railway on its 366-mile road from Jacksonville, FL to Miami, FL. By 1912, Flagler had extended the line another 156 miles south across the Florida Keys all the way to Key West, FL. The land boom in Florida during the 1920s made the FEC a very prosperous business and it expanded its locomotive roster with 125 new locomotive. By the late 1920s the land boom was collapsing and the Seaboard Air Line began to compete for traffic causing a reduction in revenue for the FEC. After the stock market crash of 1929, the FEC's drop in revenue forced it to declared bankruptcy. On Labor Day of 1935, a hurricane destroyed 42 miles of the extension to Key West and a decision was made not to rebuild the extension. With the turn down in traffic and deep operating losses in 1936 the FEC sold off many of its locomotives, but continued to use its "Mikado" type locomotives until diesels replaced them in 1954.

The Florida East Coast Railway only bought one order of the "Mikado" type locomotives. This was a group of fifteen built by the American Locomotive Company in 1925. These locomotives were given road numbers 701 through 715 and they had 63" diameter drivers, 27" x 30" cylinders, a 190 psi boiler pressure, they exerted 59,800 pounds of tractive effort and each weighed 325,000 pounds. The firebox was 318 square feet, the evaporative heating surface was 3,783 square feet and with the superheater the combined heating surface was 4,776 square feet.

There are no surviving FEC 2-8-2 "Mikado" type locomotives.


Qty.Road NumbersYear BuiltBuilderNotes
  1. Number 704 scrapped in 1954. All of the others scrapped in 1955.

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class 701 (Locobase 1349)

Data from FEC 1926 Locomotive Diagrams supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive collection; and George Drury, North American Steam Locomotives-revised ed (Waukesha, WI: Kalmbach Publishing, 2015), pp. 177-178. (Many thanks to Steve Low for 2 August 2016 pointing out the clear inaccuracy in the original comments to this entry. He correctly noted that the data he saw was more like that of the USRA Light Mikado. Thanks to Chris Hohl for his 1 October 2021 email correcting the valve gear.). Works numbers were 66355-66369 in September 1925.

These were the only pure freight locomotives to operate on the Florida East Coast, according to George Drury. Like many Mikados built for US railroads in the 1920s, this design borrowed heavily from the United States Railroad Administration's 1918 series of standard locomotives' (See Locobases 40-41 for the USRA Light Mikado and Heavy Mikado, respectively.)

But, again like most such orders, "standard" was a suggestion usually countermanded by local preference or even operating requirements. So Alco-Schenectady's batch were "Light-Heavy" Mikados that used the 26"x 30" cylinders and smaller grate of the Light (although it had slightly more area), but adopted the larger superheater.

In addition, the original coal-burning firebox was modified as an oil-burner. Changes included the deletion of a combustion chamber and arch tubes in favor of 60 sq ft (5.57 sq m) of thermic syphons and the tubes and flues were shortened by 12" (305 mm). The 14" (356 mm) piston valves were the same as both USRA Mikados, but the FEC engines replaced the Walschaert valve gear with Baker-Pilliod assemblies..

The specifications show the original tender. The later tender carried more water (12,000 US gallons/45,420 litres) and oil (5,000 gallons/18,925 litres); empty weight rose to 120,500 lb (54,658 kg) and loaded weight climbed to 255,900 lb (116,074 kg).

The 704 was scrapped in December 1954 with all but two of the remainder going in January 1955 and 702 and 709 in February.

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Locobase ID1349
RailroadFlorida East Coast
Number in Class15
Road Numbers701-715
Number Built15
Valve GearBaker
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)16.75 / 5.11
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)36.92 / 11.25
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheelbase 0.45
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)71.71 / 21.86
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)57,200 / 25,946
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)221,500 / 100,471
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)296,000 / 134,264
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)201,700 / 91,490
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)497,700 / 225,754
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)10,000 / 37.88
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / Liters/MT)4000 / 15,140
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)92 / 46
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)63 / 1600
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)200 / 13.80
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)27" x 32" / 686x813
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)62,949 / 28553.22
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 3.52
Heating Ability
Tubes (number - dia) (in / mm)190 - 2.25" / 57
Flues (number - dia) (in / mm)45 - 5.5" / 140
Flue/Tube length (ft / m)18 / 5.49
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)313 / 29.08
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)67.30 / 6.25
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)3494 / 324.72
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)1052 / 97.77
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)4546 / 422.49
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume164.73
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation13,460
Same as above plus superheater percentage16,556
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area76,998
Power L114,383
Power MT572.62

  • 713 (unknown photographer)
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