Other railroads to use early examples of the 2-8-2 include the Bismark, Washburn & Great Falls Railway which used a few beginning in 1903 and the Northern Pacific's initial batch of 1905 (often credited with kicking off interest in 2-8-2s as main line road power). Up to that time the standard main line wheel arrangement within the
industry was the common 2-8-0 Consolidation. While this design
continued to be improved upon through the 1920s its size eventually
limited further enhancements. As the Mikado type slowly took over where
the Consolidation had left off it, too saw improvements and upgrades as
new technologies arrived such as superheaters, boosters, feedwater
heaters, mechanical stokers, and later examples were oil burners.
Other railroads that would own several hundred examples of
Mikado types include the Baltimore & Ohio, Santa Fe, Chesapeake
& Ohio, Burlington, Milwaukee Road, Illinois Central, Louisville
& Nashville, Missouri Pacific, Pennsylvania,
Southern, and Union Pacific. Of course, this is just a small fraction
of the total; virtually every line of any significant size rostered at
least one Mikado and while some were used in passenger service the
design was most often employed in freight service due to its eight
drivers and overall ability to pull trains weighing 3,000 to 5,000 tons.
Additionally, due to its very layout 2-8-2s were incredibly well
balanced machines allowing for easier maintenance and smooth riding.
Most of the 11,000+ Mikado types built came from the American Locomotive Company (Alco), Baldwin Locomotive Works, or Lima Locomotive Works. However, a few hundred more were built by the railroads themselves either as an experimentation or in an attempt to save on the cost of purchasing new by having their own shop forces produce the locomotive. Also, some 2-8-2s built in the U.S. were sent for service in other countries and Mexico went on to purchase several second-hand examples for service south of the border. Just for historical reference it should noted that during World War II some railroads notably the B&O and Union Pacific, in an attempt to shed the locomotive’s ties to Japan, reclassified their 2-8-2s as "MacArthurs" in place of the Mikado name.
Today, several Mikado Types survive around the country, such as
beautifully restored Southern #4501 at the Tennessee Valley Railroad
Museum and Southern Pacific Class Mk-5 #745, owned by the Louisiana
Steam Train Association. The largest batch of Mikes still in service
are the Rio Grande's various Class K narrow-gauge examples in operation
on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic and Durango & Silverton
(as well as one on the Huckleberry Railroad in Michigan). Several
others are not mentioned here due to the shear number, which does not
even include the several others currently in some state of restoration. The site also provides a long, detailed
list of operating and preserved Mikes found around the country.
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