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Discussion: What Engine Comes to Mind When Someone Says "Steam Locomotive"?

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, January 14, 2021 11:13 PM

Sheldon, your list does not include the 0-4-0 or 0-8-0 switchers.

Do you know how many of those were made?

I was surprised by the number of 2-6-0 locomotives that were manufactured. That has not been a popular wheel arangement for models.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, January 14, 2021 11:17 PM

Trainman440
I saw a video today that said The Flying Scottsman was the exact visual people think of when they think of a British steam engine.

This is kind of curious to me now that I see the Flying Scottsman was a 4-6-2, and streamlined at that.

Wasn't the 0-6-0 arrangement by far the most popular in England? Also, Thomas is an 0-6-0, so that should have bolstered the diminutive engines up a bit.

This would be kind of like saying Americans think of a PENNSYLVANIA T-1 4-4-4-4 when they think of a steam locmomotive. I just would not buy it at face value.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Friday, January 15, 2021 2:25 AM

SeeYou190

Sheldon, your list does not include the 0-4-0 or 0-8-0 switchers.

Do you know how many of those were made?

I was surprised by the number of 2-6-0 locomotives that were manufactured. That has not been a popular wheel arangement for models.

-Kevin

 

Ones I left out, the first one was a big oversite:

4-6-0      17,000

0-8-0        2,800

0-4-0        1,500

4-8-0           600

2-10-4         450

2-4-2           121

4-12-2           99

0-10-0           60

4-10-2           60

Yes, the 2-6-0 Mogul was fairly popular until about 1910.

The simple truth is once you get bigger and newer than 2-10-0's and 2-10-2's, there just were not that many of these big modern locos to see considering that some wheel arrangements were very "regional" to a few roads.

So, without traveling there on purpose, what amazingly small percentage of the population ever saw a Big Boy in regular service?

Or even the 750 Berkshires mainly owned by a short list of roads?

Is a lot of that big modern power amazing? Sure.

But everybody in the first half of the 20th century who ever saw a train saw Mikado's, Consolidation's, Pacific's, Ten Wheeler's, and American's.

The B&O never owned a 4-8-4, 2-8-4, and only one 4-6-4, their Mikes, Pacific's and Mountain's were so good they never saw the need. They would have rather had diesels than those amazing 30 2-8-8-4's they got in 1944. Another loco only a short list of people ever saw in person.

They did own 166 2-10-2's but only used them on one part of the system. The other place where they might have wanted to use them the curves were too sharp, they dumped one on its side trying it out.

A convincing model railroad is built by mostly modeling what is "ordinary" in life. 

Sheldon

 

    

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, January 15, 2021 4:13 AM

SeeYou190
This is kind of curious to me now that I see the Flying Scotsman was a 4-6-2, and streamlined at that.

You are thinking of Mallard.  Flying Scotsman was an A3 and was never streamlined.  

And yes, I suspect that the great majority of Americans think of Thomas if 'British steam locomotive' is mentioned ... and the runners-up would also be out of the 'Thomas and Friends' pantheon.

This thread isn't about 'favorite locomotive type' -- it's about 'quick, what's the first thing you think of when someone says 'steam locomotive'.  Flying Scotsman was a 'face of British steam' to those of us growing up in the '60s and early '70s ... because it was toured and promoted as such.  In those days the American locomotives comparably memorable had numbers: 5632, 759, 4501, 2102, rather than representative wheel arrangements, or perhaps even classes.  Again this is in large part promotion and visibility creating those things like primacy, latency, and (at the time) recency that make them memorable.*

Wasn't the 0-6-0 arrangement by far the most popular in England?

Yes, but very, very few people likely care about that -- other than that...
... Thomas is an 0-6-0, so that should have bolstered the diminutive engines up a bit.
It's not that 'diminutive' engines are preferred - it's that they are made memorable.  And in my opinion, the more pervasive and ordinary a locomotive was, the less memorable or extraordinary it would likely be... until you get to service that defines a whole period of one's life, like the 4-4-0s in 'The Situation in Flushing'.  And I'd argue this would be just as circumstantial for smaller power as for, say, the last few years of NKP Berks or N&W steam in service, or GTW on Detroit commuter trains, in the late days of actual commercial use of steam locomotives.

This would be kind of like saying Americans think of a PENNSYLVANIA T-1 4-4-4-4 when they think of a steam locmomotive. I just would not buy it at face value.

One of the premises behind the feasibility plan for the T1 Trust was precisely how many people associated the T1 'wicked cool' with modern steam locomotive once they were exposed to it.  That also concerns overcoming the long legacy of lies and propaganda about what a failure the T1 was -- and we all know how Americans hate associating with perceived 'failures'.

(There are a great many people who dislike the T1 as 'toadlike' or overdone, of course; that is a different thing from being made memorable.)

There were also reasons the smaller power was disproportionately victim to early dieselization.  I doubt most Americans living anywhere near a yard mourned disappearance of those 0-6-0s or 0-8-0s that kept their laundry speckled.  Or could actually name you any actual class of British 0-6-0, including the Thomas prototype -- unless you count Duck, who made a point of being proud of his 'family'... but few people will think of that locomotive 'first' just because that wheel arrangement was once pervasive.

On the other hand I can't speak for what was memorable to actual British people from various 'formative' eras - we have already heard some of the 'distinctive' memories from lastspikemike's early days.  I wonder if the 'effect' is distorted by the phenomenon of trainspotting over there, making classed subsidiary to catching their numbers.

*My license plate in high school had 844 in it, by choice (And I had the choice of 828, but I wasn't as much of a CNJ fan...).  My briefcase and luggage have been 759 and 284 for nearly 50 years.  My post office box in Englewood was 5632 and in Beverly Hills 7002...

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Posted by "JaBear" on Friday, January 15, 2021 4:40 AM

SeeYou190
This is kind of curious to me now that I see the Flying Scottsman was a 4-6-2, and streamlined at that.

Gidday Kevin, just a matter of clarification, if I may.
  
The Gresley designed, London and North Eastern Railway A3 class of 78 4-6-2 locomotives of which the Flying Scotsman is one, were, as far as I know, not streamlined.
 
I believe you’re thinking of the LNER A4 class 4-6-2 streamliners, also so a Gresley design, Mallard, being the prime example.
 
As this thread is demonstrating, I believe, is that the most numerous and or popular steam locomotive is not necessarily what individuals perceive.
 
Yes, the 0-6-0 steam locomotives were popular freight engines, particularly on the LNER.
 
However, bought up on the tales of my English Grandfather about the Great Western Railway, my immediate thought would be of their various 4-6-0 classes of mixed traffic/ passenger locomotives, which also influenced the design of the LMS 4-6-0 “Black Fives”.
 
I’ll stop before I bore fflokes to tears, and / or completely derail Charles topic.
Cheers, the Bear.Smile

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Posted by NorthBrit on Friday, January 15, 2021 5:05 AM

Here in the UK  Thomas is still classed as a toy for children.

Although there were many 0.6.0   engines they lived an unglamorous life.  Most were not named  and black in color.  

When looking at the larger engines  they had names;  traveled great distances at speed.  Some were streamlined to add extra glamour.

Having a model railway  (in the main)  the first engine bought is  a large one; even though it really is too big for the size of the layout.

As for Flying Scotsman being the most popular locomotive and they can name it first.   It is forever in the news for one reason or another.   Even my four year old granddaughter will say Flying Scotsman  before Thomas (or any other).

 

David

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, January 15, 2021 10:00 AM

A3 class of 78 4-6-2 locomotives of which the Flying Scotsman is one, were, as far as I know, not streamlined.

I see that now. It looked streamlined in the cutaway Overmod posted.

Oops.

On Sheldon's list: Are the 4-8-8-2 locomotives all SOUTHERN PACIFIC cab forwards, or was there ever a conventional 4-8-8-2 made?

I could not find one.

-Kevin

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Friday, January 15, 2021 11:02 AM

SeeYou190

 

 
 
A3 class of 78 4-6-2 locomotives of which the Flying Scotsman is one, were, as far as I know, not streamlined.

 

I see that now. It looked streamlined in the cutaway Overmod posted.

Oops.

On Sheldon's list: Are the 4-8-8-2 locomotives all SOUTHERN PACIFIC cab forwards, or was there ever a conventional 4-8-8-2 made?

I could not find one.

-Kevin

 

Yes, all SP cab forwards.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, January 15, 2021 11:10 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Yes, all SP cab forwards.

Thank you for that. Your response answers that nagging question.

So... now I want to make a freelanced conventional SGRR 4-8-8-2 since no one ever had one, but I am sure that project will never leave the planning (or even dreaming) stages.

I just have the one articulated locomotive, and that is probably all I will ever have.

-Kevin

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, January 15, 2021 3:17 PM

SeeYou190
Are the 4-8-8-2 locomotives all SOUTHERN PACIFIC cab forwards, or was there ever a conventional 4-8-8-2 made?

Kiddo, the '4-8-8-2' is just a 2-8-8-4 with a pin-guided truck under the firebox instead of a Delta.  No point in this unless operating 'firebox-first' most of the time.  SP famously had non-cab-forward articulateds, the delightful AC-9, and they were... 2-8-8-4s.

It might be interesting to consider a Challenger as an oil-fired configuration, as the trailing truck in that design would be easy to make a pin-guided type without compromise around a cylinder saddle, and the two engines could be made very similar by omitting the four-wheel pony truck on the hinged engine and substituting an appropriate two-wheel type, which could be a Delta with steering on the rear frame corners... 

And yes, for talking purposes, a Wahsatch type is an only slightly bigger Challenger... Wink

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Friday, January 15, 2021 3:34 PM

Overmod

 

 
SeeYou190
Are the 4-8-8-2 locomotives all SOUTHERN PACIFIC cab forwards, or was there ever a conventional 4-8-8-2 made?

 

Kiddo, the '4-8-8-2' is just a 2-8-8-4 with a pin-guided truck under the firebox instead of a Delta.  No point in this unless operating 'firebox-first' most of the time.  SP famously had non-cab-forward articulateds, the delightful AC-9, and they were... 2-8-8-4s.

 

It might be interesting to consider a Challenger as an oil-fired configuration, as the trailing truck in that design would be easy to make a pin-guided type without compromise around a cylinder saddle, and the two engines could be made very similar by omitting the four-wheel pony truck on the hinged engine and substituting an appropriate two-wheel type, which could be a Delta with steering on the rear frame corners... 

And yes, for talking purposes, a Wahsatch type is an only slightly bigger Challenger... 

 

That's pretty much where I was going to go with that as soon as I got home here.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by The Milwaukee Road Warrior on Friday, January 15, 2021 4:22 PM

One of three comes to mind: like Dave mentioned, "The General", but also the Big Boy and the class 3 northern 4-8-4's like Milwaukee Road's #261.  I also really like some of the old Pennsy and N&W steams.

Andy

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, January 15, 2021 7:40 PM

Overmod
Kiddo, the '4-8-8-2' is just a 2-8-8-4 with a pin-guided truck under the firebox instead of a Delta.

I was supposing about making a 4-8-8-2 with the firebox in the rear and a four wheel pilot truck, since apparently there is no prototype for such a thing, but I know I will never build it.

-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

I Googled steam locomotive clip art to see what would come up if someone were to just ask for a drawing of a steam locomotive. This is what came up.

No articulated or massive steam locomotives were in the first batch of results.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by csxns on Saturday, January 16, 2021 10:47 AM

Trainman440
if someone mentioned steam engine. 

The Big Boy and the Clinchfield #1.

Russell

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Posted by BRVRR on Saturday, January 16, 2021 10:57 AM

When I think "Steam locomotive" I think of the NYC Niagaras. Its the only steamer I have more than one-of on the BRVRR and my favorite steamer.

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, January 16, 2021 11:21 AM

SeeYou190
I was supposing about making a 4-8-8-2 with the firebox in the rear and a four wheel pilot truck, since apparently there is no prototype for such a thing, but I know I will never build it.

I suspect if you look in Henderson's archives you'll find one; it's just that he went on to bigger and more ornate things relatively quickly.  His 'express' locomotives for ATSF would benefit, as the 4-4-6-4 did, from a four-wheel pin-guided lead truck on the hinged engine, and even a reasonably-proportioned Jacobs-Shupert of the day would have been carried on a reasonable composite two-wheel truck (and quite probably a late Delta type had the urge to provide such a thing endured that long.)

A point to remember is that four-wheel trucks on freight engines became more and more unimportant as the AMC and others refined the design and three-axis compliance of a Bissel-type truck.  (It can be argued that the early LS&MS Prairies did, in fact, have sensible detail design, and were falsely suppressed by NYC conventional wisdom -- but I have not seen a proper analysis; the situation involving Wilgus and the original design of the S electrics has some bearing here, too.)

Alco revised the use of the pin-guided lead truck in the Challenger designs, which were more or less implicitly designed to run with good stability, but this was predicated on proper hinging and equalization detail design, which N&W achieved to comparable levels, earlier, with the A design, and then further perfected with the 'deep pocket' frame design and, perhaps, the Fabreeka experiments.  Even 'late' previous use of a four-wheel truck on an articulated high-speed design -- the B&O 4-4-6-2 conversion -- was demonstrated to be 'not worth the complications'.

The Challengers were a special case because of their compromise firebox design: to get the four-wheel truck with acceptable overall length and swing, the firebox was arranged substantially above driver height, and the little four-wheel trailing truck stuck in immediately behind the last driver pair.  A Mallet-chassis locomotive with a 'proper' deep firebox would unavoidably add multiple feet of length, and a considerably higher polar moment of inertia, to the boiler-plus-rear-engine system; a four-wheel truck and the various things to accommodate it would add several feet to the front as well.

It can be argued whether a deep-firebox locomotive with two eight-coupled engines could be built to use a two-wheel trailing truck.  With very careful design and auxiliaries, and full use of modern materials, it might be possible, but rather obviously everyone building fast articulateds, including Southern Pacific, gave up on two-wheel trucks early, and of course Lima would demonstrate that any sophisticated high-mass-flow boiler for good coal would get into three-axle-truck territory very quickly for no other reason than the weight of all the circulation aids and additional construction in the radiant section.

If you had a passenger train that would take advantage of the power from 16 drivers at high speed, it would make sense to build a four-wheel lead trucked engine, but it's already two drivers and one cylinder north of a Nine, which is about as far as anyone would stretch a firebox over a two-wheel truck using "conventional" locomotive proportioning and design.  Of course if you get that far, you could always do a double 'three barrels of steam' ten-coupled articulated, which would necessitate the two leading axles, and put the equivalent of the two 2-wheel trailing axles of a pair of 4-10-2s under the equivalent of their two firebox sections...

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Posted by Mheetu on Sunday, January 17, 2021 1:15 AM

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Posted by M636C on Sunday, January 17, 2021 4:47 AM

The B&O never owned a 4-8-4, 2-8-4, and only one 4-6-4 (Atlantic Central)

Which one of the four B&O 4-6-4s were you thinking of...?

I'd guess no 2 Lord Baltimore, later renumbered 5340, Class V-2. It had 84" driving wheels...

Much less impressive was the V-1 5047, rebuilt from a P-1c Pacific itself using a boiler from a Q-1 Mikado (at first) then rebuilt with an Emerson firebox and a four wheel trailing truck.

The other two, classes V-3 and V-4 (5350 and 5360) appear to be Emerson firebox versions of the 5300 class Pacifics with four wheel trailing trucks.

B&O had a design for a 2-8-4 class R-1, to be rebuilt from (what else) Q-1 Mikados, but the arrival of diesels stopped the program.

Peter

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, January 17, 2021 4:55 AM

I apologize in advance for drifting the thread, but the issue probably doesn't merit its own thread and is already a multiple-post discussion -- mods are welcome to move the 'correspondence'.

A better starting point, perhaps:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9c/28884.jpg

But these are freight locomotives, with the Virginian's involving its four-wheel truck at the wrong end for what Kevin would want.

The Triplex was not quite as idiotic as usually made out to be. In a sense it was like a combination of a von Borries and a Smith compound, with if anything a conservative HP to LP ratio (of 2).  I have seen discussions that even using ½ the steam for drafting would have been adequate for drag-era speed; the issue in the boiler was more at the opposite end, inadequate firebox capacity given the fixed capacity limit on convective steam generation imposed by tube/flue length in the boiler shell.

I don't know of any motor-tender idea that worked.  Southern tried a great many (they were IIRC the ones with the heroic experiment of TWO three-axle auxiliary locomotives on the tender of a hump locomotive!) and Fryer probably covers the attempts in Britain 'adequately enough' to show the various problems there.  I believe Ingersoll specifically mentions the shortcomings in the various booster patent discussions, and by the time of the Franklin vs. Bethlehem patent war it was pretty well determined that fully disengageable engines were necessary ... the inertial problems of quartered rod drive alone then being sufficient to kill demand.  But that gets us a decade or more ahead of our story.

Part of the colossal failure of 'high-speed Mallets' was, as Bruce would note decades later, the insistence on universal hinging for the forward engine.  Alert readers will recognize that the Triplex got around the difficulties with a four-wheel lead truck having to accommodate higher weight and (much!) greater mass, inertial, and compression forces on a contemporary Mallet... but that hinge still gave the forward engine too little stability.

Something else for Kevin, of course, is that cab-forwards need not be oil-fired 'reversals' as on SP; in fact a camelback is a somewhat imperfect realization of  something repeatedly proposed in Europe: moving the engineer's cab to the front (and for real post-Atlantic City high speeds, super-streamlining it a la 'locomotives a bec'Dunce).  Henderson famously put the engineer of his proposed quads and quints out forward... with a speaking tube as in steamships to the equivalent of a black gang trying to keep the Street stoker or whatever going in the middle.  No reason a similar arrangement wouldn't work on a 4-8-8-2 proportioned like a simple-articulated enlargement of a Nine... or a double-eight-coupled Challenger.  And it provides some additional 'justification' for the two carrying axles in the pilot-truck arrangement...

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Posted by CapnCrunch on Monday, January 18, 2021 10:54 AM

The 2-8-0 Consolidation is my choice.  As Sheldon noted, it was the most common engine ever built.  For me, it was also the first steam engine I ever saw.  At about 6 or 7, I visited Knott's Berry Farm and got to ride on the amusement park's train.  The engine was a former Denver and Rio Grande narrow gauge 2-8-0 in its original black livery with a graphite coated smoke box.  Aside from the steam, noises and smells, the most memorable feature was the old-fashioned cowcatcher.  Since then, the park engines have been repainted in fancy bright colors but I'm partial to the old style.

Thanks to Paul (Lasers) for including the USATC S160.  I had no idea that there was such a 2-8-0 variant.  When comparing it to the conventional 2-8-0, the major difference I spotted was that the appendages on top (sand and steam domes / smokestack) have all been flattened, probably to lower them as much as possible to accomodate European bridges and tunnels.  The other different feature was the European style couplers.

Tim 

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Posted by ShroomZed on Saturday, January 23, 2021 4:22 PM

I haven't fully read through the topic so maybe I'll reply to some other posts later, but to answer the initial question; the first locomotive that comes to mind when someone mentions 'steam locomotive' is the Deutschen Reichsbahn Baureihe 01 (particularly with the Wagner-type deflectors).

The modern German/continental locomotive appearance often appears quickly in my head in general. Large running boards with a solid unbroken slope, large raised boilers, dark colour, a juxtaposition of sleekness and cladding of many appliances, and prominent running gear. 

Also with the matter of British; the first that comes to mind in that aspect is the GWR 2800 class. 

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Posted by whitroth on Sunday, January 24, 2021 6:45 PM

Everyone else is obviously wrong: it's the Pennsy K-4, followed by a E-6.

 

Ok, well, a MoPac mike, maybe, given I have a pic of my late wife's husband in the engineer's seat in one.

 

[inserts nose in air]

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Posted by NHTX on Sunday, January 24, 2021 8:45 PM

      When I hear "steam locomotive", the image of a eight or, ten coupled, under a moving volcano of smoke, pulling a string of freight cars that stretches to the far horizon comes to mind.  Anything from 2-8-0 to 2-10-4, will do just fine.

      For specific locomotives, it will be:

      Any USRA Mike, light or heavy.

      An SP "F" class 2-10-2

      A Northern Pacific/SP&S 4-8-4

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Posted by Ulrich on Monday, January 25, 2021 2:45 PM

I think of the good old fashioned 4-4-0..

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Posted by Autobus Prime on Monday, February 1, 2021 3:40 AM

Atlantic Central:  Great list!  Really puts things in perspective, which does not always match up with impression...

In Japan at least the D51 Mikado gets some proper worship!

The Mikes never seem to get much of that here, but I will say one thing.  I'm not old enough to have known or talked to many steam-era railroaders, but I've spoken with some of their children, and it's an interesting fact, "Mikahdo" is the one type-name I have ever heard spoken by non-railfans.  "My dad used to work for Erie, and ran those heavy Mi-kah-dos".

If you look through photos of just random trains during the real late steam era, the prewar years, you see lots and lots of 2-8-2s everywhere on the mainlines.  The 2-8-2 is probably as close as anything to a "generic modern steam engine" in my mind...

 

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Monday, February 1, 2021 8:38 AM

Autobus Prime

Atlantic Central:  Great list!  Really puts things in perspective, which does not always match up with impression...

In Japan at least the D51 Mikado gets some proper worship!

The Mikes never seem to get much of that here, but I will say one thing.  I'm not old enough to have known or talked to many steam-era railroaders, but I've spoken with some of their children, and it's an interesting fact, "Mikahdo" is the one type-name I have ever heard spoken by non-railfans.  "My dad used to work for Erie, and ran those heavy Mi-kah-dos".

If you look through photos of just random trains during the real late steam era, the prewar years, you see lots and lots of 2-8-2s everywhere on the mainlines.  The 2-8-2 is probably as close as anything to a "generic modern steam engine" in my mind...

 

 

Thank you for the kind words. I cannot take credit for the list, it actually comes from the original NMRA Data sheets I received when I joined in 1968.

Here is my model interpretation of the full evolution of the Mikado (before it made it to the paint shop):

 I have built five of these freelanced Mikes based on the idea that LIMA could have easily built a 69" driver version of the DT&I 800 class. 

Sheldon

    

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