US Army Transportation Corps 2-8-2 "Mikado" Locomotives in the USA

In 1941 the British Government approached the US Government about supplying locomotives for use in the Middle East. A light 2-8-2 was proposed by the USATC and after approaching ALCO, Lima and Baldwin seeking a suitable prototype, Baldwin produced drawings of a class of 16 that had been built for the Montana, Wyoming & Southern railroad in 1924 (MW&S Class 20 Locobase 15304). Their performance and reliability were reported to have been satisfactory. Modifications to this design were incorporated into outline drawings and forwarded to Washington. However, many features did not appear to be suitable for the strict requirements of war zone service and it was rejected, especially the loading gauge and axle weight. A new design was prepared with boiler modifications, a tractive effort of 35,000lbs, weight 144,000lbs and a driving wheel axle weight of 16 tons. It reached Washington four days later, and was approved in the US and accepted by the Ministry of Supply in London. So the design can thus be largely attributed to the Montana, Wyoming & Southern railroad Mikes of 1924 and a comparison of the Locobase data confirms the similarity. The MW&S mikado was heavier than the USATC S200 with smaller drivers, larger cylinders and boiler.

Another book by R. Tourret titled "United States Army Transport Corps Locomotives" of 1977 (ISBN 0-905878-01-9) provides further information as follows: order of 200 and describes their allocations and service in the Middle East. Harry Wright's book details the origins and full specifications of the NSW Government Railways D59 Class 2-8-2s (Locobase 2418) which stem from the USATC Mikado design of WWII - Class S200 MacArthur (Locobase 958).

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class S118 Dual-Gauge - African (Locobase 434)

Data from Locomotive Cyclopedia 1947 and locomotive diagram. Also see MRS US Locomotives Equipment Data Book supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange; and Colonel Howard G. Hill, US Army, "Built for Battle", Trains Magazine (December 1964); [] (visited 11 August 2005) contains a detailed discussion of this class by Mike Peltier; and Cy Crumley's photos and notebook as edited by Kenneth Riddle at [], last accessed 1 March 1912.

Narrow-gauge Mikado built by Alco, Baldwin, and Davenport Locomotive Works (inter alia) for the US Army in World War II. The official designation was 2-8-2 Dual-Gauge - African Theatre - 42" and 39 3/8" Meter Gauge." High-boilered, starkly appointed and very reliable design. Oil-burners trailed tenders with a 1,600-gallon (6,056 litre) capacity. Firebox heating surface included 8 sq ft (0.74 sq m) of firebrick tubes.

Baldwin supplied 253 MacArthur dual-gauge engines -- in three gauges. The order originally specified 60 Metre-gauge engines for India in 1942. Instead, the White Pass & Yukon received 11 (works #69425-69435) built for the 3-foot (36") gauge. These were immediately followed by

15 metre-gauge for India (69436-69450),

20 Cape-gauge (42") locomotives for Australia's Queensland Railway (69451-69470) -- see Locobase 4390 --

and 14 metre-gauge for India (69471-69484).

Alco produced 338 of this class for a variety of railways in the Gold Coast (later Ghana), Nigeria, and the Philippines in the Cape gauge as well as North Africa and India in metre gauge. United Fruit also received engines for operation in Costa Rica and Honduras.

In addition to the nearly 600 from these two builders, other orders from companies such as Lima brought the final count (including post-war) to nearly 800 locomotives.

Frank Coffey, famed restorer of narrow-gauge power for the East Tennessee & Western North Carolina (aka the Tweetsie) is quoted by Johnson as saying the Yukon Queen (as the 201 was known because of its White Pass & Yukon Railroad origins) was "the finest damned little engine a man could want on a narrow-gauge railroad."

Class S155 (Locobase 16330)

Data from 1947 Locomotive Cyclopedia and from CN's Newfoundland Railway locomotive diagram books supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange. See also Joseph Bykofsky and Harold Larson, The Transportation Corps: Operations Overseas,United States Army in World War Two - The Technical Services (Washington, DC: Center for Military History, 1990), pp. 9-10.(Thanks to Steve Low for his 30 December 2017 email noting the transfer of five of the locomotives to the US Army Transportation Corps. Low followed up on 19 January 2018 with additional information from Tim Moriarity) .) Alco's works numbers were 69736-69740 in 1941.

Data is given for the firebox with two syphons contributing 38 sq ft (3.55 sq m) to the direct heating surface area; without the syphons, firebox heating surface was 118 sq ft (10.96 sq m)..

Steve Low reports (citing Tourette's United States Army Transportation Corps Locomotives) that locomotives originally meant for the Newfoundland Railway were instead bought for USATC service before delivery. Originally projected as NFLD 1009-1013, the quintet was delivered as USATC500-504, but were shipped to Newfoundland as planned after their completion in October 1941.

(For the rest of the class, see Locobase 960.)

By that time, says Bykovsky and Larson's account, the US Army had been creating bases on the island for about nine months and finding that a tough task. Among other problems, the NFLD was the "principal means of clearance from the ports to Army stations and to the main airport at Gander." But the railway was "of small capacity, its rolling stock was old and in poor condition, and heavy snowstorms from January to April often hampered the operation of trains."

As part of the Army's upgrade of Newfoundland facilities, the Army contributed "significant American financial assistance and a modest amount of equipment were furnished for the rehabilitation of the railway." Obviously, this quintet of modern Mikes met the needs handily, as they were specificially designed for the Newfoundland Railway.

Tim Moriarty's research at the US Army's Center of Military History found that $2.1 million was conveyed in November 1941 to the Newfoundland Railway through the Defense Supply Corporation. The five locomotives were funded under this agreement. Although they remained US Army property, a further agreement assigned the responsibility for maintaining them to the NFLD, "thus eliminating possible confusion which might have resulted from operations by two separate agencies."

Compared to the standard designs developed for overseas operations, however, they were smaller and ran on a unique gauge. At the end of the war, the USATC turned the engines over to the NFLD. They were all scrapped in the first half of 1957.

Class S200 MacArthur (Locobase 958)

Data from the US Military Railway Service's Locomotive Diagram book supplied in 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange. The book shows both the oil-burning and coal-burning variants -- other than the fuel there was little difference. When used for oil, the tender's capacity was 2,500 gallons. See also Colonel Howard G. Hill, US Army, "Built for Battle", Trains Magazine (December 1964).

Standard Mikado/MacArthur built by Alco, Baldwin (works numbers were 64503-64572), and Lima for the US Army's Transportation Corps in World War II and operated in the Mediterranean and Iran.

Colonel Hill's long account of his service in World War II includes a description of how this 2-8-2 became the standard. Hill first concluded that the 1917 Pershing 2-8-0 (Locobase 431) was obsolete--a small narrow grate and relatively small 56" drivers weren't the right specs and, surprisingly, their axle loading was too high for some of the bridges they were likely to encounter overseas. Instead, he argued for the 2-8-2, whose trailing truck would allow a much larger firebox and grate. A visit to the Lima Works to see a new 2-8-0 design confirmed his opinion that the five-axle layout simply was insufficient.

Hill credited Charles Krause, a Baldwin design engineer, with suggesting a 1924 Baldwin-built light Mike (22"x 28" cylinders, 56" drivers) supplied ot the Montana, Wyoming & Southern (Locobase 15304). Hill asked Krause to update the design to roll on 60" drivers to ensure that the bottom of the crank pin's cycle still allow it to clear likely obstructions on foreign roads. He also recognized that the taller drivers reduced piston speed and reduce maintenance.

The original response included a 33" (838 mm) combustion chamber, a conical 66" (1,6j76 mm) boiler, 160,000 lb (72,575 kg) adhesion weight, and 220 psi (15.17 bar) operating pressure. Hill's insistence on certain limitations resulted in the specifications shown above.

Some of the modern touches were the use of an American multiple front-end throttle and Hennessy mechanical journal lubricators for the engine truck, trailer truck, and tender truck journal boxes. Also, the much larger superheater fit increased the superheater area to combined heating surface area ratio to a more than adequate 22%. Firebox heating surface area included 17 sq ft (1.58 sq m) in three arch tubes. Ten-inch (254 mm) piston valves supplied steam to the cylinders.

The first 13 (works numbers 64503-64515 in February 1941) were sent to Egypt to be operated by the British MOD; WD 1006-1007 and 1012 were lost at sea and the rest were turned over to the Turkish Railways in 1944. WD 1028, 1037-1038 also were delivered to Egypt; WD 1035 was lost at sea.

Operated on the Iranian State Railways (WD 1025-1027, 1029, 1039, 1041-1045, 1048-1081)to support Lend-Lease to Russia. A few went to Iraq (WD 1030, 1040, 1046-1047).

Baldwin produced 225 of this design for US operations in India; these ran on the 5' 6" broad gauge. 1944 saw works numbers 71761-71925 head for South Asia; a later batch -- 72113-72172 were supplied in 1945. All of them were turned over to the Indian Railways.

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

ClassS118 Dual-Gauge - AfricanS155S200 MacArthur
Locobase ID434 16330 958
RailroadUS Army Transportation CorpsUS Army Transportation CorpsUS Army Transportation Corps
Number in Class5
Road Numbers500-504
Number Built8005748
Valve GearWalschaertWalschaertWalschaert
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)13.50 / 4.1112.75 / 3.8915.75 / 4.80
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)28.25 / 8.6129.25 / 8.9232.75 / 9.98
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheelbase 0.48 0.44 0.48
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)54.25 / 16.5455.75 / 16.9958.50 / 17.83
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)80,000 / 36,287117,400 / 53,252143,000 / 64,864
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)119,000 / 53,978151,570 / 68,751200,000 / 90,719
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)99,600 / 45,178104,000 / 47,174123,000 / 55,792
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)218,600 / 99,156255,570 / 115,925323,000 / 146,511
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)5000 / 18.945000 / 18.946500 / 24.62
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / Liters/MT)9 / 89 / 89 / 8
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)33 / 16.5049 / 24.5060 / 30
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)48 / 121948 / 121960 / 1524
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)185 / 12.80200 / 13.80200 / 13.80
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)16" x 24" / 406x61018" x 24" / 457x61021" x 28" / 533x711
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)20,128 / 9129.9227,540 / 12491.9534,986 / 15869.40
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 3.97 4.26 4.09
Heating Ability
Tubes (number - dia) (in / mm)95 - 2" / 51124 - 2" / 51137 - 2" / 51
Flues (number - dia) (in / mm)19 - 5.375" / 13721 - 5.375" / 13730 - 5.375" / 137
Flue/Tube length (ft / m)16.50 / 5.0317.50 / 5.3317.50 / 5.33
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)115 / 10.69153 / 14.21179 / 16.64
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)27.70 / 2.5735.20 / 3.2747 / 4.37
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)1371 / 127.421768 / 164.252164 / 201.12
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)374 / 34.76426 / 39.58623 / 57.90
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)1745 / 162.182194 / 203.832787 / 259.02
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume245.26250.07192.87
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation512570409400
Same as above plus superheater percentage6201837811,468
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area25,74336,41443,676
Power L114,06414,40915,447
Power MT1550.291082.33952.58

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Wes Barris