Sumter & Choctaw 2-8-2 "Mikado" Locomotives in the USA

The Sumter & Choctaw Railroad was owned by Allison Lumber Company, a lumber mill operation at Bellamy, AL on U.S. 80 west of Demopolis, AL. The railroad served the counties of Sumter and Choctaw in western Alabama. At one time, the little railroad was no longer than a four mile long connecting track to the Southern Railway but grew to a length of 30 miles operating between Lilita and Choctaw City. The railroad operated two Baldwin-built steam locomotives as late as the early 1960s. Remarkably, both of these locomotives exist today in two different railroad museums.

One of the Locomotives was a 2-6-2 and the other was a 2-8-2 type locomotive. The "Mikado" type locomotive carried road number 102 and was the smallest standard gauge 2-8-2 "Mikado" ever built. Baldwin built it in 1924 and the locomotive weighed only 130,000 pounds. By comparison the USRA "Mikado-Heavy" locomotives weighed 325,000 pounds.

Number 102 survives today and is on display at the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay, WI. The 2-6-2 was road number 103 and it is at the Railroad Museum of New England in Essex, CT.


Qty.Road NumbersYear BuiltBuilderNotes
  1. Number 102 is on display at the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay, WI.

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class 102 (Locobase 15306)

Data from Baldwin Locomotive Works Specification for Engines as digitized by the DeGolyer Library of Southern Methodist University, Vol 73, pp. 205. See also B Campbell's history of Bellamy at [], Mississippi Rails' entry at, and the Hawkins Rails' entry at, last accessed 15 July 2013. Works number was 57778 in April 1924.

ALC supplied short leaf yellow pine lumber and oak railroad ties. The town of Bellamy was established in 1899 by Evan Frank Allison, Steve Smith, and RC Derby. While Smith and Derby would sell their interests to Ohio interests in 1902, Allison remained at the head of the company until his death in 1937. He would be enshrined in the Alabama Hall of Fame in 1961 for his forward-thinking approach to timber management: "In the management of his lands," read the citation, "he led the way in Alabama to profitable forest conservation through selective tree cutting and reforestation. He restored species of wildlife indigenous to the area and taught methods for their conservation." (See Allison's biography at

According to Campbell, the town had all of the usual features of a progressive sawmill town: " It was the home of Sumter County's first hospital, and also a pressing shop, shoe shop, carpentry businesses, library & telephone office, post office, two recreation halls, commissary, filling station, two swimming pools (one for whites & one for blacks), three churches (one for whites & two for blacks), a hotel, slaughter house, opera house, train depot, and gambling house."

Its name, however, came from an unusual source that betrays a solid sense of irony: "As tradition states, the residents of the town decided to break the tradition of naming the town after some prominent citizen or famous person. Instead, they sought out the least respected person in town, Mr. Volney Bellamy, a Union Army veteran, and named the town for him." NB: a Union Army veteran wasn't likely to be revered in Alabama at the turn into the 20th Century.

This logging Mikado was the first new rod-driven locomotive bought for the 22-mile S&C by Allison Lumber Company. Unlike many of Baldwin's logging engine sales, this locomotive had unique dimensions and piston valves (8"/203 mm in this case).

According to Mississippi Rails, the 102 was retired in June 1961 because the cracks in the boiler were not worth repairing. It was transferred in August 1964 to the National Railway Museum in Green Bay, Wisc

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
Locobase ID15,306
RailroadSumter & Choctaw
Number in Class1
Road Numbers102
Number Built1
Valve GearWalschaert
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)12.25 / 3.73
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)27.50 / 8.38
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.45
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)50.25 / 15.32
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)96,000 / 43,545
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)122,000 / 55,338
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)83,000 / 37,648
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)205,000 / 92,986
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)4000 / 15.15
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / ML/MT)6 / 5.50
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)40 / 20
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)44 / 1118
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)180 / 12.40
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)17" x 24" / 432x610
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)24,118 / 10939.75
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 3.98
Heating Ability
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)112 / 10.41
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)22.20 / 2.06
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)1628 / 151.24
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)1628 / 151.24
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume258.21
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation3996
Same as above plus superheater percentage3996
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area20,160
Power L14581
Power MT420.81

  • 102 (Howard Davis Photo)
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Wes Barris