Georgia Northern 2-8-2 "Mikado" Locomotives in the USA

The Georgia Northern began in the early 1890s as a logging railroad, owned by the Pidcock family, running north from Pidcock, GA. At about the same time, the Boston and Albany Railroad was organized by a group of business men to build a common carrier line along the route of the logging tracks. This new company soon entered receivership and its assets were sold in 1894 to the Pidcocks, who renamed the line Georgia Northern. The line was completed to Albany in 1905. Also in 1905, the southernmost four miles of the line was relocated to terminate at Boston.

In 1905, the Georgia Northern built a steel bridge across the Flint River. After the completion of the bridge the Georgia Northern entered a joint agreement with the Albany Northern for certain facilities in Albany. The Southern Railway acquired the Georgia Northern in the late 1966.

The Georgia Northern bought a new "Mikado" type locomotive from the Baldwin Locomotive Company in 1929. It had 57" diameter drivers, 20" x 28" cylinders, a 200 psi boiler pressure, it exerted 33,400 pounds of tractive effort and it weighed 180,470 pounds. The evaporative surface was 2,483 square feet and with the superheater the combined heating surface was 3,088 square feet

The Baldwin Locomotive Company ran an ad shortly after the delivery of this locomotive in Railway Age with a head line that read: "Eliminating Bolts and Rivets in Locomotive Construction" They touted the welded construction of the locomotive and the tender.

There is one surviving GAN 2-8-2 "Mikado" type locomotives. It is number 105, which is on display in a park in Moultrie, Georgia.


Qty.Road NumbersYear BuiltBuilderNotes
11051929BaldwinGeorgia Northern donated the locomotive to the town of Moultrie, GA in 1963, the seventieth anniversary of the arrival of the first train in the city.

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class W L Joiner (Locobase 15498)

Data from DeGolyer, Vol 80, pp. 606+. See also Georgia Railroad History's description of the GaNo at, last accessed 19 October 2013; and Hearings Before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce of the House of Representatives, Sixty-third Congress, Second Session, on Bills Relative to Safety on Railroads. December 6, 1913 [to January 31, 1914. Part I]-VIII. (Google eBook) (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1913) , p. 367. Works number was 60736 in March 1929.

Beginning as a logging road in Pidcock, Georgia in the early 1890s, the GaN began to take shape when the Pidcock family successfully took over the charter of the Boston & Albany [Georgia, not the Yankee railroad], which had never actually laid track, in 1892. The GaN arrived in Moultrie, Ga in 1893. By 1905, the two towns represented in the original name had been connected by a 68-mile (109.5 km) main line.

Over the next 25 years, the Ga N acquired the Flint River & North Eastern (1910); the Georgia, Ashburn, Sylvester & Camilla (1922); and the Georgia, Southwestern & Gulf (1939). The FR&NE began at the Ga N's midpoint town of Ticknor and headed southwest 24 miles (38.6 km) to Pelham. The southern third of the GAS&C paralleled the FR&NE a few miles north, crossed the GaN at Bridgeboro, continued northeast to Sylvester and Ashburn. The GS&G wound up farther from the Gulf of Mexico than either of the other two, heading northeast from Albany to Cordele, 36 miles (60 km) distant.

Testimony by C W Pidcock before the House Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce on 19 January 1914 nicely captures the aims of such railroads as the GaN. Responding to concerns expressed by Iowa congressman Esch (a leading House member on railroad issues during a crucial decade) who asked about the absence of steel passenger cars on such railroads as the GaN, Pidcock replied:

"The short lines in our country are absolutely not able to buy steel cars. We need everything worse than we need steel cars or block signals. We need heavier rails, better roadbeds, better bridges, depots, and practically everything worse than we need steel cars. ...We run two passenger trains each way a day. Most of this equipment consists of second-hand coaches that came from the Pennsylvania Railroad. They are good cars, but they were discarded by them on account of replacing by steel."

Responding to a later question, Pidcock noted the humble tramway origins of many of Georgia's short lines, which constituted one quarter of the state's total railroad mileage. Once the timber was cleared, they "were converted into chartered roads to serve the country through which they pass, and not much consideration was given to less than 1 per cent grades, and very often they are 5 and 6 per cent grades."

Pidcock added: "The lines, most of them, are rather crooked, but they are the best we have and they serve the people. We have been developing the country with those little roads."

The 105 was one of the few new locomotives the GaN would buy. It had a good proportion of superheater area, 10" (254 mm) piston valves, and 16 sq ft (1.5 sq m) of arch tubes adding to the firebox heating surface area. Reflecting Pidcock's characterization of his right of way, the specs required that "Engine frame to be designed for rough track. Particular attention to be paid to engine frame to avoid breakage, as railroad company's tracks are very rough at times during the year." Many parts that might be bolted to the frame were to be welded, springs were extra heavy, and Standard Steel Works (Baldwin's wholly owned steel maker) was to supply "extra special" tires.

A note in the specifications for a 2-8-2 sold to the GAS&C subsidiary in early 1930 describes a problem on the 105. The ash pan had "caused trouble with ash pan slide working out of sides when dropping, and also in ashes falling to bottom of pan."

Another detail flaw appeared in a "For Hereafter" for this engine noting that the braces in the tender tank needed to be "more thoroughly" welded. 105's braces "parted from the back end sheet causing the flange at back of bottom sheet to crack." (4 November 1929 report from C W Werst.)

The 105 was later donated to the town of Sylvester, which housed it in a covered bit of track in the town.

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
ClassW L Joiner
Locobase ID15,498
RailroadGeorgia Northern (GaN)
Number in Class1
Road Numbers105
Number Built1
Valve GearWalschaert
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)15.25 / 4.65
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)31.33 / 9.55
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.49
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)60.46 / 18.43
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)34,000 / 15,422
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)136,000 / 61,689
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)184,000 / 83,461
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)141,000 / 63,957
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)325,000 / 147,418
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)7000 / 26.52
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / ML/MT)12 / 10.90
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)57 / 28.50
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)57 / 1448
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)200 / 13.80
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)20" x 28" / 508x711
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)33,404 / 15151.82
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 4.07
Heating Ability
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)164 / 15.24
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)41.50 / 3.86
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)2482 / 230.58
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)603 / 56.02
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)3085 / 286.60
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume243.79
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation8300
Same as above plus superheater percentage9960
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area39,360
Power L116,290
Power MT1056.27

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