Rus Articles Journal

Engines of the Wild West, what they?

Cowboys, gold diggers, robbers, sheriffs, saloons … All this is represented to us when we hear about the Wild West. But the picture would not be full without train robbery! Yes, it is difficult to imagine the movie about the Wild West in which the entrance to a saloon had no duel and in which there was no train robbery. And what they were - trains? More precisely, first engines of America?

In standard designs of the first American engines the formula 4 - 2 - 0 enjoyed wide popularity. Only on one wheel from each party of the locomotive had the steam drive via pistons. After a while, however, the design underwent further improvement. One more couple of driving wheels was added. The formula of such new type of the engine took a form 4 - 4 - 0. This design became the middle of the 19th century, typical for America. It is known as “American“ (American type), or “the American standard“.

Nevertheless development “typically American“ the formula 4 - 4 - 0 on it did not stop. In process of emergence of need for increase in power of locomotives designers went on an obvious way and added the third leading axis, having created thereby a formula 4 - 6 - 0 and its younger modification 2 - 6 - 0. Emergence of engines with a formula 2 - 8 - 0 was the following logical step.

In 1866 (in a year of death of the founder) in the workshops Baldwin Locomotive Works by request of the railroad Lehigh Valley (Leahy Velli) the first copy of the engine of a new design was constructed. It was called Consolidation (“Association“) because Lehigh Valley Road arose shortly before it due to association in one company of several smaller railway lines. Again created locomotive had eight driving wheels and one couple of forward auxiliary wheels. The back auxiliary cart was not. It was also the first sample of a formula 2 - 8 - 0. Consolidation engines quickly won great popularity as the heavy cargo locomotives necessary, for example, for coal transportation.

In the following, 1867 the Baldwin company made the first sample of one more new locomotive with six driving wheels and one forward couple of auxiliary wheels. This new engine 2 - 6 - 0 received the name The Great Mogul (“the Great Mogul“), or just Mogul as soon began to call all engines with such formula. They also became very demanded for transportation of heavy freights. Though to be fair it is necessary to mention that Mogul from Baldwin was not very first 4 - 6 - 0. The first such engine was created by the Rogers Locomotive Works company in four years prior to Baldwin, approximately in 1863.

And in 1897 designers of the same Baldwin company presented new type of the heavy cargo locomotive with a wheel formula 2 - 8 - 2, developed by request of the Japanese railroad Nippon Railway. It is not surprising that he received the name Mikado. It was promoted by also extreme popularity of the opera of the same name of Dzhilbert and Sullivan (Gilbert & Sullivan, “The Mikado“) which premiere took place relatively shortly before the described events - in 1885.

The formula 2 - 8 - 2 was the new word in locomotive building as existence of the back two-wheeled cart allowed to place a fire chamber not over driving wheels, and behind them, having extended and having expanded it. It gave a considerable gain of power in comparison with any other earlier constructed engines.

From the moment of the creation Mikado 2 - 8 - 2 had huge success in the United States, mainly, as the cargo engine. Having practically the same traction effort as Consolidation 2 - 8 - 0, Mike as he was nicknamed, allowed to transport freight trains with significantly bigger speed. The design turned out so successful that, despite emergence subsequently of many heavier and powerful locomotives, Mikado 2 - 8 - 2 and remained the cargo engines, most widespread in the States, till the end of an era of steam.

During World War II which for America was, first of all, war with Japan the “enemy“ name Mikado was changed to the patriotic name MacArthur in honor of the general Douglas Makartur who ordered the American troops resisting to Japanese on the Pacific Ocean.