Of all the locomotives designed by the Uniter States Railroad Administration during World War I, the light Mikado (2-8-2) was far and away the most prevalent. Some 625 were built during the war. By comparison, the next most common USRA locomotives were the 0-6-0 at 255, followed closely by the heavy version of the Mikado which accounted for another 233. All told, Mikados accounted for 858 of the 1856, or 46%, of the total USRA wartime production. An even greater number of USRA duplicates were built after the USRA ended in 1920.
The primary difference between the two Mikado designs was axle loading; 54000 pounds verses 60000. The lighter models offered slightly less tractive effort but were much better suited to lighter rail found on most branchlines and even many mainlines. The first USRA Mikado, in fact the very first USRA locomotive of any type – B&O 4500, was delivered on July 5, 1918. The locomotive was built by Baldwin in a mere 20 days and remained in service for 39 years. She is preserved today at the B&O Museum in Baltimore.
Found on railroads from coast to coast, the USRA Mikado is about as close to a standard US freight locomotive as you’ll ever get. A total of 33 railroads received these from the USRA itself. (This does not include the Pennsylvania who refused their allotment, nor the additional roads which ordered copies after the war.) Many of the original locomotives, along with duplicates, served until replaced by diesels in the 1950s. Following the war, many railroads made exterior modifications to their engines which gave them a more familial look, added more modern appliances, or simplified maintenance and operation. fundamentally however, the design of the locomotive proved sound and enduring.
The Lionel Models
The light Mikado is a perfectly sized powerhouse for your layout. announced as both conventional and LEGACY engines, our latest release of this ubiquitous prototype comes decorated for the Great Northern and Missouri Pacific. The LEGACY models have shipped and should be arriving at dealers soon if not already!
With die-cast boilers and frames, plus traction tires, these locos are sure to pull as well for you as they did on the prototype. And with our LEGACY Railsounds, they’ll sound good doing it too! We’ve added many separate details to these models, including specific smokebox details to reflect the distinctive looks of each prototype. Directional headlights, marker lights, firebox glow and cab lights help bring the model to life along with the synchronized smoke unit.
Add some “standards” to your layout, and move tonnage in style. MSRP on the LEGACY models is just $899.99.