Under the Whyte notation for the classification of steam locomotives, 2-8-2 represents the wheel arrangement of two leading wheels on one axle, usually in a leading truck, eight powered and coupled driving wheels on four axles, and two trailing wheels on one axle, also usually in a trailing truck. This configuration of steam locomotive is most often referred to as a Mikado, frequently shortened to Mike, but at times it was also referred to on some railroads in the United States of America as the McAdoo Mikado and, during World War II, the MacArthur.
Other equivalent classifications are:
- UIC classification: 1D1 (also known as German and Italian classifications)
- French classification: 141 (also known as Spanish classification)
- Turkish classification: 46
- Swiss classification: 4/6
- 1 Overview
- 2 Usage
- 2.1 Argentina
- 2.2 Australia
- 2.3 Austria
- 2.4 Canada
- 2.5 China
- 2.6 Finland
- 2.7 France
- 2.8 Germany
- 2.9 India
- 2.10 Indonesia
- 2.11 Italy
- 2.12 Japan
- 2.13 New Zealand
- 2.14 South Africa
- 2.15 South West Africa (Namibia)
- 2.16 Soviet Union
- 2.17 Spain
- 2.18 United Kingdom
- 2.19 United States
- 2.20 Yugoslavia
- 3 See also
- 4 References
The 2-8-2 wheel arrangement allowed the locomotive's firebox to be placed behind instead of above the driving wheels, thereby allowing a larger firebox that could be both wide and deep. This supported a greater rate of combustion and thus a greater capacity for steam generation, allowing for more power at higher speeds. Allied with the larger driving wheel diameter that was possible when they did not impinge on the firebox, meant that the 2-8-2 was capable of higher speeds than a 2-8-0 with a heavy train. These locomotives did not suffer from the imbalance of reciprocating parts as much as did the 2-6-2 or the 2-10-2, because the center of gravity was between the second and third drivers instead of above the center driver.
The very first 2-8-2 locomotive was built in 1884. They were originally named “Calumets” by Angus Sinclair, in reference to the 2-8-2 engines built for the Chicago & Calumet Terminal Railway (C&CT). However, this name did not take hold.
The class name "Mikado" originated from a group of Japanese type 9700 2-8-2 locomotives that were built by Baldwin Locomotive Works for the 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) gauge Nippon Railway of Japan in 1897. In the 19th century, the Emperor of Japan was often referred to as "the Mikado" in English. Also, the Gilbert and Sullivan opera The Mikado had premiered in 1885, and achieved great popularity in both Britain and America.
The 2-8-2 was one of the more common configurations in the first half of the 20th century, before dieselization. Between 1917 and 1944 nearly 2,200 of this type were constructed by the American Locomotive Company (ALCO), Lima Locomotive Works and Baldwin, based on designs by the United States Railroad Administration (USRA). It was also known as the "McAdoo Mikado" in the US, after William Gibbs McAdoo, who was appointed as Director General of Railroads when the United States commenced hostilities during the latter part of World War I and the USRA was established. Of all of the USRA designs, the Mikado proved to be the most popular. The total American production was about 14,000, of which 9,500 were for local customers and the rest exported.
"Mikado" remained the class name until the Attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Seeking a more American name, "MacArthur" came into use to describe the locomotive type in the US, after General Douglas MacArthur. After the war, the class name "Mikado" again became the most common for this locomotive type.
Locomotives of this wheel arrangement saw service on all six continents. The 2-8-2 type was particularly popular in North America, but was also used extensively in continental Europe and elsewhere.
In 1930 Vulcan Foundry supplied the Central Argentine Railway with twenty 2-8-2s, works numbers 4427 to 4446. They were cross-compound locomotives with one high-pressure cylinder with a bore of 21 inches (533.4 millimetres) and one low-pressure cylinder with a bore of 31 1⁄2 inches (800.1 millimetres), with a stroke of 26 inches (660.4 millimetres). These 5 ft 6 in (1,676 mm) locomotives had driving wheels with a diameter of 55 1⁄2 inches (1,409.7 millimetres).
The requirement for locomotives that could be converted from 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm) to 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge without major re-engineering led to the introduction of Mikado locomotives by the Victorian Railways (VR) in the 1920s. Whereas previous 2-8-0 "Consolidation" type locomotives featured long, narrow fireboxes between the frames that made gauge conversion impractical, the N class light lines and X class heavy goods locomotives both featured wide fireboxes positioned behind the driving wheels and above the frames.
The South Australian Railways (SAR) employed no fewer than four distinct classes of 2-8-2 locomotive, the locally designed 700 and 710 class, the 740 class that was originally built for China by Clyde Engineering and purchased by the SAR after the order was cancelled in the wake of the Chinese Communist Revolution, and the 750 class, a group of ten surplus VR N class locomotives.
To assist with the postwar rebuilding of Australian railways, American-designed Mikado locomotives were also introduced after World War II, such as the Baldwin-built New South Wales Government Railway (NSWGR) D59 class and the Queensland Rail (QR) AC16 class.
The 4-cylinder compound class 470, developed in 1914 by Karl Gölsdorf, was built for express trains on mountain lines. From 1927 some of these locomotives were rebuilt to two-cylinder superheated steam locomotives and designated class 670. They were reclassified to class 39 from 1938 on and remained in service until 1957.
The Canadian National Railway (CN) operated a few Mikado locomotives:
- One locomotive in the R-1 class, number 3000.
- Twenty-nine locomotives in the R-2 class, numbered 300 to 329.
- Several locomotives in the S-1 and S-4 classes, numbered in the range between 3198 and 4097.
The Canadian Pacific (CP) used Mikado locomotives for passenger and freight trains throughout Canada. Most worked in the Rocky Mountains, where the standard 4-6-2 Pacifics and 4-6-4 Hudsons could not provide enough traction to handle the steep mountain grades.
A preserved Mikado is the CP’s number 5468, on display in Revelstoke, British Columbia.
The China Railway Corporation still actively uses Mikados on regular service. A few Chinese made locomotives have found their way into the United States, including Class SY no. 3025, built in 1989, which operates as "New Haven no. 3025" (in honor of Class J1 no. 3001-3024) on the Valley Railroad in Connecticut. It and two other Chinese 2-8-2s are currently in the US.
Finland’s sixteen 5 ft (1,524 mm) Class Pr1 were 2-8-2T passenger tank locomotives for use on local trains. They were nicknamed “Paikku”, which means local. The Class Pr1 was operational from 1924 to 1972. Numbered 761 to 776, they were built by Hannoversche Maschinenbau AG (Hanomag) in Germany and also by Finnish locomotive builders Tampella and Lokomo. The last one, no. 776, is preserved at the Finnish Railway Museum.
The Finnish Class Tr1 (or R1) tender locomotive was built by Tampella, Lokomo and German locomotive builders Arnold Jung from 1940 and remained in service until 1975. They were numbered from 1030 to 1096 and were nicknamed “Risto”, after Finnish President Risto Ryti. No. 1033 is preserved at the Finnish Railway Museum and no. 1088 was plinthed in Toijala in Finland.
France used a fairly large number of 2-8-2s in both tender and tank configurations, designated 141 class, from the French classification system of wheel arrangements.
Of the pre-nationalisation railway companies that existed before the formation of the Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Français (SNCF), the Chemins de fer de Paris à Lyon et à la Méditerranée (PLM) had the most Mikados. Their first twelve were initially numbered from 1001 to 1012 and later renumbered to 141.A.1 to 141.A.12. The PLM's second series, numbered from 1013 to 1129 and later renumbered 141.B.1 to 141.B.117, were built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in the United States. Their third and largest class was numbered from 141.C.1 to 141.C.680. Of these latter locomotives, those fitted with feedwater heaters bore the class letter D. The PLM also rebuilt forty-four 141.C and 141.D class locomotives to 141.E class. The SNCF modified the PLM numbers by adding the regional prefix digit "5".
The PLM’s 141.A class Mikados were copied by the Chemins de Fer du Nord, who had fifty, numbered from 4.1101 to 4.1150, which became 2-141.A.1 to 2-141.A.50 on the SNCF.
The Chemins de Fer de l'État also had a class of 250 Mikados, numbered from 141-001 to 141-250. These later became the 141.B class on the SNCF and were renumbered 3-141.B.1 to 3-141.B.250. After modifications, the 141.B class locomotives later became the 141.C class, as well as one 141.D class (no. 141.D.136) and one 141.E class (no. 141.E.113). 3-141.C.100 has been preserved and designated a Monument historique.
The most powerful French Mikado was the SNCF 141.P class. At about 3,300 horsepower (2,500 kilowatts), these engines were among the most efficient steam locomotives in the world, thanks to their compound design. They could burn 30% less fuel and use 40% less water than their 141.R class counterparts, but could not compete when it came to reliability. Every locomotive of this 318-strong class has been scrapped.
The most numerous steam locomotive class that France had, was the American and Canadian-built 141.R class. Of the 1,340 locomotives that were ordered, however, only 1,323 entered service since sixteen engines were lost at sea during a storm off the coast of Newfoundland while being shipped to France, while one more was lost in Marseille harbour. They were praised for being easy to maintain and proved to be very reliable, which may account for the fact that they remained in service until the very end of the steam era in 1975. Twelve of these locomotives have been preserved.
The Chemins de fer d'Alsace et de Lorraine had a class of forty 2-8-2T locomotives, the T 14 class, later numbered SNCF 1-141.TA.501 to 1-141.TA.540. They were identical to Germany’s Prussian T 14 class locomotive and were built between 1914 and 1918. (Also see Germany)
The Chemins de fer de l'Est had two Mikado classes. The first was numbered from 4401 to 4512, later renumbered 141.401 to 141.512 and finally SNCF 1-141.TB.401 to 1-141.TB.512. The other was numbered from 141.701 to 141.742 and later SNCF 1-141.TC.701 to 1-141.TC.742.
The Chemin de Fer du Nord also had two 2-8-2T classes. The first, consisting of only two locomotives, was numbered 4.1201 and 4.1202, later renumbered 4.1701 and 4.1702 and finally SNCF 2-141.TB.1 and 2-141.TB.2. The second, with 72 locomotives, was numbered from 4.1201 to 4.1272 and later SNCF 2-141.TC.1 to 2-141.TC.72.
The Chemins de Fer de l'État also had two Mikado classes. The first, numbered from 42-001 to 42-020, later became the SNCF 141.TC class and were renumbered 3-141.TC.1 to 3-141.TC.20. The second, numbered from 42-101 to 42-140, later became the SNCF 141TD class and were renumbered 3-141.TD.1 to 3-141.TD.141. They were copies of the 141.700 series of the Chemins de fer de l'Est.
The Chemin de fer de Paris à Orléans (PO) also had two classes. The first was numbered from 5301 to 5490 and later SNCF 4-141.TA.301 to 4-141.TA.490. The second was numbered from 5616 to 5740 and later 4-SNCF 141.TB.616 to 4-141.TB.740.
German 2-8-2 tender locomotives were built in both passenger and freight versions.
- The passenger locomotive was the DRG Class 39, initially the Class P 10 of the Prussian state railways, that was built for hauling heavy express trains in the hilly and mountainous terrain of the Mittelgebirge. When they were assimilated into the Deutsche Reichsbahn-Gesellschaft (DRG), they were designated as DRG Class 39.
- Although later eclipsed by the success of German 2-10-0 designs, the DRB Class 41 was a successful 2-8-2 freight locomotive. They were operated by the Deutsche Reichsbahn (DRB) and were built from 1937 to 1941.
Both standard gauge and narrow gauge 2-8-2T tank locomotive classes were used in Germany.
- The DRG Class 93.0-4 was a German 2-8-2T goods train tank locomotive that was used by the Prussian state railways as well as the French Chemins de fer d'Alsace et de Lorraine, designated as Class T14 by both railways. The Prussian locomotives were later incorporated by the Deutsche Reichsbahn and designated Class 93.0-4 under the DRG renumbering plan. Altogether 457 locomotives of this class were built for the Prussian state railways between 1914 and 1918. (Also see France - Tank locomotives)
- The DRG Class 86 was a standard goods train tank locomotive of the DRG. It was intended for duties on branch lines and was manufactured by almost all the locomotive building firms producing for the DRG. From 1942 a simplified wartime version was built, on which the most obvious changes were the omission of the second side windows in the cab and the solid disc carrying wheels.
- The Molli railway (Mollibahn), a narrow-gauge steam-powered railway in Mecklenburg running on 900 mm (2 ft 11 7⁄16 in) gauge track, operates three 2-8-2T locomotives built by Orenstein & Koppel in 1932.
On the 5 ft 6 in (1,676 mm), the Class XD was the first 2-8-2 in India to be built in quantity. Introduced in 1927, seventy-eight were built before World War II by Vulcan Foundry, North British Locomotive Company (NBL), Armstrong Whitworth and Škoda Works. Production resumed after the war, and 110 were built by NBL in 1945 and 1946, while Vulcan Foundry built the last six in 1948.
There was also a Class XE that was built by William Beardmore and Company and Vulcan Foundry. Wartime designs included the Class AWD and Class AWE, built by American company Baldwin Locomotive Works, and the Class X-Dominion (later Class CWD) built as part of Canada's Mutual Aid program by two Canadian companies, the Canadian Locomotive Company and Montreal Locomotive Works.
After the war, a new design was produced and placed in production in 1950. The Class WG was the main post-war broad gauge freight locomotive type of the Indian Railways (IR). The first order of 200 was split evenly between NBL and Chittaranjan Locomotive Works (CLW). Apart from Indian manufacture, examples were also built in England, Scotland, Germany, Austria, the United States, Japan and Italy. By the time production ceased in 1970, 2,450 Class WG locomotives had been built.
After World War I an Indian Railway Standards (IRS) 2-8-2 class became the main heavy freight locomotive on the 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in) metre gauge. While two versions were designed, the Class YD with a 10 ton axle load and the Class YE with a 12 ton axle load, none was built of the latter class.
The post World War II Mikado design was the Class YG, of which 1,074 were built between 1949 and 1972, with nearly half of them being manufactured in India.
Two narrow track gauges were in use in India. The 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) gauge was the more widely used while the 2 ft (610 mm) gauge was used by the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway and the Scindia State Railway. Mikado type locomotives were used by the following:
- The Bengal Nagpur Railway used a saturated steam B class, a superheated BS class, and a BC class comprising B class locomotives that had been converted from saturated to superheated.
- The Barsi Light Railway used an F class of thirteen locomotives, ten built by Nasmyth, Wilson and Company between 1926 and 1929, and three built by Hunslet Engine Company in 1949.
- The Great Indian Peninsula Railway used a B/1 class of seven locomotives, four built by NBL in 1917, one more by NBL in 1922, and two by Nasmyth, Wilson and Company in 1926.
- The Scindia State Railway used sixteen locomotives of five classes, the Classes NH/1 through NH/5, built between 1914 and 1959.
The standard narrow gauge 2-8-2 locomotive was the ZE class, with 65 engines built by five companies between 1928 and 1954. Nasmyth, Wilson built ten in 1928, Hanomag built sixteen in 1931, Corpet-Louvet built twelve in 1950, Krauss-Maffei built fifteen in 1952 and another ten in 1954, and Kawasaki Heavy Industries built ten in 1954. In 1957 and 1958 six ZD class locomotives were also built by Nippon Sharyo in Japan.
After the independence of Indonesia in 1945, the government of Indonesia nationalised all of the Dutch-owned railway companies, including the SS (Staatspoorwegen) whose name was later changed to Djawatan Kereta Api (DKA), the Departmental Agency of Railway. Shortly after, the DKA bought 100 new steam locomotives with a Mikado wheel arrangement from Krupp in Germany. These locomotives, designated the D52 type, were the most modern steam locomotive in Indonesia at that time, with a large physical appearance and equipped with electric lighting. It was similar to the Class 41 locomotive of the Deutsche Reichsbahn.
In Java the D52 locomotives were placed in passenger service, but occasionally also used as freight locomotives. Some people even idolized the D52 because of its loyalty in taking passengers anywhere, as happened on the Rapih Dhoho Train from Madiun to Kertosono. The D52 was a mainstay for this train until the end of steam operation in Indonesia.
In contrast to the Java-based units, Sumatra-based D52 locomotives were used for hauling freight trains, mainly coal trains from the Tanjung Enim coal mine, now owned by the PT Bukit Asam mining company, to the coal dumping sites at Kertapati and Tarahan.
Initially the D52 locomotives were coal-fired, but from mid-1956 twenty-eight locomotives, numbers D52002 to D52029, were converted to oil-firing. The work was done in stages over five years by the locomotive repair shop at Madiun.
One locomotive from this class was written off from service near Linggapura station after a boiler explosion that killed its engineer, as a result of steam pipe failure. The only one of the original 100 locomotives that survived into the 21st century is D52 number D52099, which is on display at the Transport Museum in Taman Mini Indonesia Indah.
Italian railways relied primarily on 2-6-2s for fast passenger services, while heavy passenger service was assigned to 2-8-0s from the classes 744 and 745. Although Mikado types had little opportunity for development in Italy, FS commissioned the 2-8-2 class 746 for heavy passenger service on the Adriatic route. To serve local branches and mountain lines where tank locomotives were more suitable, FS derived the new class 940 from the 2-8-0 class 740, with the same dimensions but adding a rear Bissel truck to support the coal bunker behind the cab to make it a 2-8-2.
The Japanese Government Railways (JGR) built the Class D51 Mikado tender locomotive for use on the 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) gauge lines on the Japanese mainland and in its former colonies. (Also see Soviet Union.)
Only one 2-8-2 locomotive ever operated on New Zealand's national rail network, and it was not even ordered by the New Zealand Railways Department, who ran almost the entire network. The locomotive was ordered in 1901 from Baldwin Locomotive Works by the Wellington and Manawatu Railway Company (WMR) for use on their main line's steep section between Wellington and Paekakariki. It entered service on 10 June 1902 as the WMR’s no. 17. At the time, it was the most powerful locomotive in New Zealand and successfully performed its intended tasks.
When the WMR was incorporated into the national network in 1908, the Railways Department reclassified No. 17 as the solitary member of the BC class, number BC 463, and the locomotive continued to operate on the Wellington-Paekakariki line until it was withdrawn on 31 March 1927.
Only five Mikado locomotive classes saw service in South Africa, four on Cape gauge and one on narrow gauge. The type was rare, with only two of these classes built in quantity.
During 1887 designs for a 2-8-2 Mikado type tank-and-tender locomotive was prepared by the Natal Government Railways. The locomotive was built in the Durban workshops and entered service in 1888, named Havelock, but was soon rebuilt to a 4-6-2 Pacific configuration. Havelock was the first locomotive to be designed and built in South Africa and also the first to have eight-coupled wheels.:90–91
In 1903 the Cape Government Railways (CGR) placed two Cape Class 9 2-8-2 locomotives in service. Designed by H.M. Beatty, Locomotive Superintendent of the CGR from 1896 to 1910, and built by Kitson and Company, they were the first South African Mikados. They had bar frames, Stephenson’s link motion valve gear and used saturated steam. In comparison with the Cape Class 8 2-8-0 locomotive of 1901, however, it was found that their maintenance costs were much higher without any advantage in terms of efficiency. As a result, no more of the type were ordered. In 1912, when these locomotives were assimilated into the South African Railways (SAR), they were classified as Class Experimental 4.
In 1904 the Central South African Railways (CSAR) placed thirty-six Class 11 Mikados in service. Built by the North British Locomotive Company (NBL), it was designed by P.A. Hyde, Chief Locomotive Superintendent of the CSAR from 1902 to 1904, for goods train service on the Witwatersrand. It was superheated, with a Belpaire firebox, Walschaerts valve gear and plate frame. The Class 11 classification was retained when the CSAR was amalgamated into the SAR in 1912.
In 1906 the CGR placed a single experimental 2-8-2 in service, designed by H.M. Beatty and built by Kitson. It was a larger version of the Cape Class 9 in all respects, also with a bar frame, Stephenson’s link motion valve gear and using saturated steam. The locomotive was not classified and was simply referred to as "the Mikado". On the CGR it was exceeded in size only by the Kitson-Meyer 0-6-0+0-6-0 of 1904. At the time it was considered as a big advance in motive power, but the design was never repeated and the Cape Mikado remained unique. In 1912 it was classified as Class Experimental 5 on the SAR.
Between 1931 and 1958 twenty-one 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge Class NG15 Mikados, developed from the Class Hd and Class NG5 of South West Africa (SWA), were acquired for the Otavi line in SWA. Designed by the SAR, it was built by Henschel & Son and Société Franco-Belge. A major improvement on the earlier locomotives was the use of a Krauss-Helmholtz bogie, with the leading pair of driving wheels linked to the leading pony truck. The leading driving wheels have a limited amount of sideplay while the axle still remains parallel to the other three driving axles at all times, thus allowing the locomotive to negotiate sharper curves than its two predecessors. When the SWA narrow gauge line was regauged to Cape gauge in 1960, all these locomotives were transferred to the Eastern Cape for further service on the Langkloof narrow gauge line from Port Elizabeth to Avontuur. Here they were nicknamed the "Kalahari".
South West Africa (Namibia)
Two very similar Mikado classes saw service on the 600 mm (1 ft 11 5⁄8 in) Otavi narrow gauge line in South West Africa (SWA).
In 1912 the German administration in Deutsch-Südwest-Afrika acquired three locomotives for use on the line from Swakopmund to Karibib. They were built by Henschel & Son and were designated Class Hd. The locomotives were superheated, with Walschaerts valve gear, piston valves and outside plate frames. Since they did not have separate bogie trucks, the leading and trailing carrying wheels were arranged as radial axles to allow for sideways motion of the wheels with respect to the locomotive frame. After World War I they were taken onto the roster of the South African Railways (SAR) and later reclassified as Class NG5 along with the similar locomotives of 1922.
In 1922 the SAR placed six Class NG5 locomotives in service on the Otavi branch in SWA, also built by Henschel. They were built to the same design as the Class Hd, but had a different driving wheel suspension arrangement, different boilers and slide valves. In service, they were operated in a common pool with the Class Hd locomotives until they were all withdrawn from service when the SWA system was regauged to Cape gauge in 1960.
At the end of World War II several 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) gauge Japanese Class D51 2-8-2 locomotives were left behind on Russia’s Sakhalin island, formerly Karafuto, by retreating Japanese forces. In addition, two Class D51 wrecks were abandoned to the north of the city. Until 1979 the serviceable Japanese locomotives were used on the island by the Soviet Railways.
The Sakhalin Railway has a connection with the mainland via a ferry operating between Kholmsk on the island and Vanino on the mainland. The Japanese gauge still remains in use on the island, though in 2004 conversion to the Russian 1,520 mm (4 ft 11 27⁄32 in) gauge was started.
The 1,668 mm (5 ft 5 21⁄32 in) Iberian gauge network of Spain used one Mikado tank locomotive and two versions of tender locomotives.
The Spanish manufacturer MTM delivered six 2-8-2T tank locomotives to the Madrid-Caceres-Portugal line in 1925. A project at MTM in 1942 to build a big 2-8-2 never realised.
The first tender version was built by two American companies in 1917, fifteen by Brooks Locomotive Works and forty by Schenectady Locomotive Works. They were numbered from 4501 to 4555 and were a slightly minored version of the USRA Light Mikado. The locomotives served well in the Norte system, where they were nicknamed "Chalecos".
In 1953, RENFE (acronym of REd Nacional de los Ferrocarriles Españoles), the nationalized railway company, acquired twenty-five locomotives of the second tender version from North British Locomotive Company (NBL) of Glasgow. Spanish builders MTM, MACOSA and Euskalduna and the American Babcock & Wilcox built 213 more between 1953 and 1960, with only minor detail differences such as double chimneys, Llubera sanders, ACFI feedwater heaters or oil-burning. Their empty weight was 94 tonnes (92.5 long tons; 103.6 short tons) and they had 1,560 millimetres (61.42 inches) diameter drivers. They performed well in both freight and passenger service and lasted until the official end of steam in common service in 1975.
One Norte and eighteen RENFE locomotives are preserved, three of them in good working condition.
- The Class P1 was a freight derivative of his famed Class A1 4-6-2, inspired by the Pennsylvania Railroad's twin K4s 4-6-2 and L1s 2-8-2 locomotives. Two were built, but there was never really much call for their ability and they remained under-utilised throughout their short existence.
- Gresley's other class of Mikados was his Class P2. These were express passenger locomotives, rather more inspired by European influences than American. They were built to haul heavy express trains in hilly terrain north of Edinburgh, where Gresley thought the additional adhesion possible with a 2-8-2 might serve well. Unfortunately, poor self-centering on the leading truck meant that the leading driving wheels wore against the rails on tighter curves, being hard on both track and wheels. Gresley's successor Edward Thompson converted the Class P2s into 4-6-2 Pacifics that were rather unattractive, in most opinions.
The Great Western Railway (GWR) operated a class of fifty-four 2-8-2T tank engines that had been rebuilt from 2-8-0T locomotives by C. B. Collett, chief mechanical engineer of the GWR. As early as 1906 the chief mechanical engineer at the time, G. J. Churchward, planned a class of Mikado tank engines to handle heavy coal trains in South Wales. The plan was abandoned, however, as it was feared they would be unable to handle the sharp curves present on Welsh mineral branches. Instead, Churchward designed the 4200 Class of 2-8-0T tank engines, of which nearly two hundred were built.
In the 1930s coal traffic declined with the result that many of these engines stood idle, since their limited operating range prevented them from being switched to other duties. Collett, as Churchward's successor, decided to rebuild some of the 4200 Class engines as 2-8-2Ts. The addition of a trailing axle increased the engine’s operating range by allowing an increased coal and water storage capacity. Altogether fifty-four locomotives were modified in this manner. The 7200 Class tank engines, as they were known, remained in service until the end of steam in Britain in the early 1960s.
In June 2014 a new Mikado locomotive, P2 2007 "The Prince of Wales", was under construction by the P2 Steam Locomotive Company, designed to work both on mainline and preserved railways.
The 2-8-2 saw great success in the United States, mostly as a freight locomotive. In the second decade of the 20th century it largely replaced the 2-8-0 Consolidation as the main heavy freight locomotive type. Its tractive effort was similar to that of the best 2-8-0s, but a developing requirement for higher speed freight trains drove the shift to the 2-8-2 wheel arrangement.
The Mikado type was, in turn, ousted from the top-flight trains by larger freight locomotive wheel arrangements such as the 2-10-2, 2-8-4, 2-10-4 and articulated locomotives, but no successor type became ubiquitous and the "Mike" remained the most common road freight locomotive with most railroads until the end of steam. More than 14,000 were built in the United States, about 9500 of these for North American service, constituting about one-fifth of all locomotives in service there at the time. The heaviest Mikados were the Great Northern’s class O-8, with an axle load of 81,250 pounds (36,854 kilograms).
Almost all North American railroads rostered the type, notable exceptions being the Boston and Maine, the Delaware and Hudson, the Cotton Belt and the Norfolk and Western. The largest users included the New York Central with 715 locomotives, the Baltimore and Ohio with 610, the Pennsylvania Railroad with 579, the Illinois Central with 565, the Milwaukee Road with 500 and the Southern with 435.
- USRA Light Mikado
- USATC S200 Class (A class of American-built standard gauge 2-8-2 for use in North Africa and the Middle East during World War II)
- USATC S118 Class (A class of American-built narrow gauge 2-8-2 used in many countries around the world during World War II)
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