Chicago & Alton 2-8-2 "Mikado" Locomotives in the USA

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The Chicago & Alton Railroad was created in 1878 and it has a main line from Chicago, IL to St. Louis, MO and a second main line from Springfield, IL to Kansas City, MO along with a few branches in Illinois. The B&O purchased the Chicago & Alton Railroad at a foreclosure sale in 1929 and re-incorporated it as the Alton Railroad in 1931. The Alton Railroad and was essentially run as a portion of the B&O. In 1943, the B&O sold the Alton Railroad to the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio which was created in 1940 with the merger of Gulf, Mobile & Northern Railroad and the Mobile & Ohio Railroad.

The first "Mikado" type locomotives on the Chicago & Alton arrived from the American Locomotives Company in 1910. These first 2-8-2s were delivered in two batched with the first designated as Class L-1 and given road numbers 800 through 809 and the second designated as Class L-1a had road numbers 810 through 829 assigned. These thirty locomotives had 62" diameter drivers, 26" x 30" cylinders, a 170 psi boiler pressure and they exerted 47,265 pounds of tractive effort. The Class L1 locomotives weighed 269,000 pounds each and the L1a locomotives weighed 273,000 pounds. The firebox was 237 square feet, the evaporative heating surface was 3,481 square feet and with the superheater the combined heating surface was 4,226 square feet. Later the boiler pressure was raised to 200 psi which increased the tractive effort to 55,606 pounds.

In 1913, another twenty "Mikados" came from ALCO and were designated as Class L-2 with road numbers 840 through 859 assigned. These locomotives had 63" diameter drivers, 26" x 28" cylinders, a 200 psi boiler pressure, they exerted 51,075 pounds of tractive effort and each weighed 285,000 pounds. The firebox was 212 square feet, the evaporative heating surface was 3,551 square feet and with the superheater the combined heating surface was 4,296 square feet. During WW II many of the Class L-2s were rebuilt to include new smokeboxes, new cylinders, feedwater heaters and thermic siphons were added to the firebox

In 1918, five new locomotives were delivered by ALCO prior to the USRA taking control. This group was assigned road numbers 860 through 864 and was designated as Class L-3. These locomotives were very similar to the Class L-2s except they had cast trailing trucks and a slightly larger tender and the boiler pressure was raised to 215 psi. The L-3 locomotives had 63" diameter drivers, 26" x 28" cylinders, a 215 psi boiler pressure, they exerted 54,906 pounds of tractive effort and each weighed 290,800 pounds. Later in 1918 the USRA allocated ten "Mikado-Light" locomotives to the C&A. These ten locomotives were designated as Class L-4 and given road numbers 875 through 884.

The L-4 locomotives had 63" diameter drivers, 26." x 30" cylinders, a 200 psi boiler pressure, they exerted 54,724 pounds of tractive effort and each weighed 290,800 pounds.

The last C&A "Mikados" were built by ALCO and arrived in 1921. These five locomotives were leased from the Standard Oil Company of Indiana along with 500 coal cars. The locomotives and cars were used to haul coal to Standard Oils refineries. Later the C&A bought them. These 2-8-2s were designated as Class L-4a and were given road numbers 885 through 889. They had 63" diameter drivers, 26.5" x 30" cylinders, a 200 psi boiler pressure, thet exerted 56,849 pounds of tractive effort and each weighed 298,000 pounds.

After the acquisition the B&O reclassified and renumbered all of the former C&A locomotives. The "Mikado" type were reclassified in the "Q" series and given new road numbers 4330 through 4399.

There are no surviving C&A 2-8-2 "Mikado" type locomotives.


Roster by Richard Duley

C&A ClassAlton ClassQty.Road NumbersAlton NumbersYear BuiltBuilderNotes
L-1Q-510800-8094330-43391910ALCO1
L-1aQ-5a20810-8294340-43591910ALCO2
L-2Q-620840-8594360-43791913ALCO3
L-3Q-7 5860-8644380-43841918ALCO4
L-4Q-810875-8844385-43941918ALCO5
L-4aQ-8a 5885-8894395-43991921ALCO6
Notes:
  1. Conveyed to GM&O in 1943
  2. Conveyed to GM&O in 1943
  3. Conveyed to GM&O in 1943
  4. Conveyed to GM&O in 1943
  5. USRA allocated "Mikado-Light" locomotives. Conveyed to GM&O in 1943
  6. Leased from the Standard Oil Company of Indiana in 1921. C&A later bought them. Conveyed to GM&O in 1943

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class L-2/Q-6 (Locobase 1414)

Data from C&A 6 - 1918 Locomotive Diagrams supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange. See also DeGolyer, Volume 46, p. 71+. Works numbers were 39472-39477, 39495-39504 in March 1913; 39583-39586, 48225-48226 in April; 48526-48528 in May.

The 20 L-2s were based on EH Harriman's passenger-service Mikado design originally supplied to the Union Pacific. They obviously were a relatively small 2-8-2; five L-3s (Locobase 6626) were near-duplicates. Steam admission came through relatively capacious 15" (381 mm) piston valves.

Later renumbering and reclassification (after the C&A's bankruptcy in 1922 and acquisition by the B&O in 1929) resulted in a continuous numbering series for the L-2/L-3 (4360-4384) and class designations of Q-6 and Q-7.

Rebuilds in World War II resulted in a virtually new engine. To the existing boiler, the Alton attached new smokeboxes, feedwater heaters, and new cylinders. In addition, the firebox was fitted with thermic syphons.


Class L-3 / Q-7 (Locobase 6626)

Data from C&A 12 - 1924 and C&A 1 - 1930 Locomotive Diagrams supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange. See also DeGolyer, Volume 56, pp. 142+. (Thanks to Chris Hohl for his 1 May 2016 email noting the incorrect value (20") for the cylinder diameter.) Works numbers were 48225-48226 in April 1918; 48526-48528 in May.

Locobase 1414 describes the first 20 Mikes delivered to the Alton; this entry describes the next five.

Although similar, there were some differences in the data: Somehow, the superheater area increased by almost 50 sq ft (although the number and length of the flues and the type of superheater element appear to have stayed the same). Also, as inevitably happened in these "repeat" orders, adhesion weight grew by almost five tons. Piston valve diameter was 15" (381 mm).

After the B & O took over the Alton in 1931, it redesignated the class as Q-7 and renumbered them. 4380 and 4383-4384 were scrapped in 1947, but 4381-4382 were sold to the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio.


Class L-4/Q-8 (Locobase 1415)

625 engines were built to the USRA's basic, and very

successful design in 1918-1919. These 10 engines were assigned to the Chicago & Alton and represented the zenith of freight power on the C&A. They were later redesignated Q-8 and renumbered 4385-4394.


Class L1 (Locobase 9100)

Data from C&A 6-1918 Locomotive Diagrams supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange.

This class was the first set of MIkados delivered to the Alton. Comparing these Brooks engines with the Alton Consolidations produced by the same builder in the same year (Locobase 9096) illustrates just how much boiler was gained by adding a trailing truck. At this point, however, the grate area didn't show a commensurate increase; in fact, the H8's grate was bigger.

An unusual feature was the Alco superheater, which mounted a superheater header on each side of the smokebox (as opposed to the usual Schmidt setup of a single header placed across the face of the tubesheet near the top). Fourteen-inch (356-mm) piston valves supplied steam to the cylinders.

Before very long, the Alton would replace the Alco superheater with the Superheater Company's Schmidt Type A apparatus, increase boiler pressure by 30 psi (2.07 bar), and reduce cylinder diameter; see Locobase 12695.


Class L1 - 26"" cylinders (Locobase 16295)

Data from C&A 6-1930 Locomotive Diagrams supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange.

The 30 Mikados delivered by Alco's Brooks Works to the Alton (Locobases 9100-9101) arrived with superheated boilers pressed only to 160 psi (11.03 bar) and 28" diameter cylinders. L1s used Alco superheaters while the L1as had a more standard Schmidt Type A.

By 1918, the Alton had modified all of the L1/L1a locomotives by reworking the boiler innards to the distribution of tubes and flues shown in this entry.


Class L1A (Locobase 9101)

Data from C&A 6-1918 Locomotive Diagrams supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange. (Thanks to Alexander Sheng for this 21 July 2017 email correcting the year the class was produced.) Works numbers were 48914-48933 in August 1910.

This class was virtually identical to the L1 (Locobase 9100). They had 14" (356 mm) piston valves and fireboxes bereft of any supplementary heating surface area. Their Alco superheater elements fit in flues whose diameters were enlarged by 1/8" (3.2 mm).

As they did with the earlier L1s, the Alton would replace the Alco superheater in the L1a with the Superheater Company's Schmidt Type A apparatus, increase boiler pressure by 30 psi (2.07 bar), and reduce cylinder diameter; see Locobase 12695.

Specifications by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
ClassL-2/Q-6L-3 / Q-7L-4/Q-8L1L1 - 26"" cylinders
Locobase ID1414 6626 1415 9100 16,295
RailroadChicago & Alton (C&A)Chicago & Alton (C&A)Chicago & Alton (C&A)Chicago & Alton (C&A)Chicago & Alton (C&A)
CountryUSAUSAUSAUSAUSA
Whyte2-8-22-8-22-8-22-8-22-8-2
Number in Class205101030
Road Numbers840-859860-864 / 4380-4384875-884800-809800-829
GaugeStdStdStdStdStd
Number Built25251010
BuilderBaldwinBaldwinSeveralAlco-BrooksC&A
Year1913191819181910
Valve GearWalschaertWalschaertWalschaertWalschaertWalschaert
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)16.50 / 5.0316.50 / 5.0316.70 / 5.0916.50 / 5.0316.50 / 5.03
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)35.17 / 10.7235.17 / 10.7236.10 / 1134.75 / 10.5934.75 / 10.59
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.47 0.47 0.46 0.47 0.47
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)64.10 / 19.5471.19 / 21.7071.38 / 21.7667.04 / 20.4367.04 / 20.43
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)54,700 / 24,812
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)217,600 / 98,702222,600 / 100,970221,500 / 100,471212,300 / 96,298214,500 / 97,296
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)285,100 / 129,319285,300 / 129,410290,800 / 131,905269,000 / 122,016273,000 / 123,831
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)178,425 / 80,932182,000 / 82,554185,500 / 84,141167,000 / 75,750167,000 / 75,750
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)463,525 / 210,251467,300 / 211,964476,300 / 216,046436,000 / 197,766440,000 / 199,581
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)9000 / 34.099500 / 35.9810,000 / 37.888500 / 32.208500 / 32.20
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / ML/MT)18 / 16.4018 / 16.4016 / 14.5013 / 11.8013.50 / 12.30
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)91 / 45.5093 / 46.5092 / 4688 / 4489 / 44.50
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)63 / 160063 / 160063 / 160062 / 157562 / 1575
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)200 / 13.80200 / 13.80200 / 13.80170 / 11.70200 / 13.80
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)26" x 28" / 660x71126" x 28" / 508x71126" x 30" / 660x76228" x 30" / 711x76226" x 30" / 660x762
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)51,076 / 23167.7151,076 / 23167.7154,724 / 24822.4254,817 / 24864.6055,606 / 25222.49
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 4.26 4.36 4.05 3.87 3.86
Heating Ability
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)242 / 22.48242 / 22.49280 / 26.02212 / 19.70241.20 / 22.41
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)70.40 / 6.5470.40 / 6.5466.70 / 6.2049.50 / 4.6049.50 / 4.60
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)4215 / 391.584216 / 391.823783 / 351.583516 / 326.643481 / 323.39
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)890 / 82.68912 / 84.76882 / 81.97700 / 65.03745 / 69.21
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)5105 / 474.265128 / 476.584665 / 433.554216 / 391.674226 / 392.60
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume244.97245.03205.21164.45188.83
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation14,08014,08013,34084159900
Same as above plus superheater percentage16,47416,61415,875984611,682
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area56,62857,11266,64042,16756,923
Power L116,39716,64014,947893612,771
Power MT664.51659.21595.08371.18525.04

Specifications by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
ClassL1A
Locobase ID9101
RailroadChicago & Alton (C&A)
CountryUSA
Whyte2-8-2
Number in Class20
Road Numbers810-829
GaugeStd
Number Built20
BuilderAlco-Brooks
Year1910
Valve GearWalschaert
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)16.50 / 5.03
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)34.75 / 10.59
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.47
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)67.04 / 20.43
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)214,500 / 97,296
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)273,000 / 123,831
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)167,600 / 76,022
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)440,600 / 199,853
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)8500 / 32.20
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / ML/MT)13.50 / 12.30
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)89 / 44.50
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)62 / 1575
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)170 / 11.70
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)28" x 30" / 711x762
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)54,817 / 24864.60
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 3.91
Heating Ability
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)212 / 19.70
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)49.50 / 4.60
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)3551 / 329.90
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)745 / 69.21
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)4296 / 399.11
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume166.09
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation8415
Same as above plus superheater percentage9846
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area42,167
Power L19298
Power MT382.26

Photos