Greenbrier & Eastern 2-8-2 "Mikado" Locomotives in the USA

The Greenbrier Coal Mining field in Southern West Virginia is the youngest of fields that produce high grades of coal. The field was first developed in 1920 and the first rail shipment followed in 1921. Each year thereafter the demands for this high quality smokeless coal increased. The Greenbrier & Eastern was formed in 1920 specifically to haul this coal.

The Greenbrier & Eastern bought one "Mikado" type locomotive in 1921. It was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works and was delivered carrying road number 1. This locomotive had 51" diameter driver, 23" x 28" cylinders, a 185 psi boiler pressure, it exerted 45,670 pounds of tractive effort and it weighed 237,220 pounds. The firebox was 211 square feet, the evaporative surface was 3,452 square feet and with the superheater the combined heating surface was 4,347 pounds. The piston valve had a 12" diameter.

In 1926, the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad, realizing the enormous tonnage available, purchased the Greenbrier and Eastern Railroad together with others and followed these purchases by making improvements and extensions. Later, the C & O and the N. Y. C. formed a joint company called the

Nicholas Fayette & Greenbrier Railroad. The NF&G absorbed all the rail facilities in this area besides building thirty three miles of new line.

There are no surviving G&E 2-8-2 "Mikado" type locomotives.


Qty.Road NumbersYear BuiltBuilderNotes
  1. Conveyed to the C&O when it bought the G&E in 1928. It was renumbered as C&O number 2930. It was sold to the Campbells Creek Railroad in 1934 and it became CCRR number 10. The locomotive operated until it was retired in 1953 and was scrapped shortly after.

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class 1 (Locobase 9691)

Data from "Mikado Locomotive for the Greenbrier & Eastern ...", Railway and Locomotive Engineering, Vol XXXV, No. 2 (February 1922), pp. 42-43. See also DeGolyer, Vol 65, pp. 138+. Works number was 55199 in November 1921 and 57554 in December 1923.

When the G & E opened its doors in West Virginia as a coal-mining road after World War One, its first locomotive was a smallish Mikado. The cylinders were fed by 12" (305 mm) piston valves from a relatively large boiler and grate. The firebox heating surface area was increased by 25 sq ft (2.3 sq m) of arch tubes. The low drivers underscored the locomotive's future as a coal-train hauler in the mountains where maximum grades on the road pitched up 5.3% and arched around 25 degree curves. A sister joined the 1 two years later.

The Chesapeake & Ohio took over the G & E in 1928 and renumbered this engines 2930 (class M-4) and 2931 (M-4a). In October 1934, the C & O sold the 2930 to the Campbells Creek Railroad as their #10. The CCR operated the engine until 1953.

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
Locobase ID9691
RailroadGreenbrier & Eastern
Number in Class2
Road Numbers1, 3
Number Built2
Valve GearWalschaert
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)14.50 / 4.42
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)31.75 / 9.68
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.46
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)62.87 / 19.16
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)180,970 / 82,087
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)237,220 / 107,601
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)122,580 / 100,979
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)359,800 / 208,580
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)6000 / 22.73
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / ML/MT)10 / 14.50
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)75 / 37.50
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)51 / 1295
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)185 / 12.80
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)23" x 28" / 584x711
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)45,670 / 20715.59
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 3.96
Heating Ability
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)211 / 19.61
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)63 / 5.86
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)3452 / 320.82
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)895 / 83.18
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)4347 / 404
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume256.38
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation11,655
Same as above plus superheater percentage14,103
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area47,232
Power L114,671
Power MT714.90

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Wes Barris