Sewell Valley 2-8-2 "Mikado" Locomotives in the USA

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class 10 / M-2b (Locobase 14684)

Data from Baldwin Locomotive Works Specification for Engines as digitized by the DeGolyer Library of Southern Methodist University, Vol 65, p. 249+. Works number was 55568 in January 1922 and 55622 in September.

These were described as "passenger and freight" engines in Baldwin's specifications, which suggests more about the SV's milieu than it does the qualities of a low-drivered Mikado. They were duplicates of the 7 and 8 shown in Locobase 14683. A big difference was the adoption of the 190-psi setting on the boiler. Admittedly, this resulted in a low factor of adhesion, but the volume of lumber traffic then hitting the road may have called for such measures.

The Chesapeake & Ohio, which jointly owned the Nicholas, Fayette & Greenbrier in 1926, later grouped this latter pair as its own class M-2b and renumbered them 2912-2913. The C&O sold the 2912 to locomotive rebuilder/reseller Southern Iron & Equipment, which very quickly sold the engine to rival Georgia Car & Locomotive. GC&L found a buyer in the Aberdeen & Rockfish, which already owned a sister. Some time later, the A&R completed the circle by selling the 35 back to SI&E, who sold it to David J Joseph as their #3.

2913 was sold by the C&O to GC&L, who sold it to fellow recycler Birmingham Rail & Locomotive. BR&L sold it to Cherry River Boom & Lumber as their 3.

Class 6 (Locobase 14682)

Data from Baldwin Locomotive Works Specification for Engines as digitized by the DeGolyer Library of Southern Methodist University, Vol 62, p. 99+. See also "Meadow Creek, West Virginia" at [],_West_Virginia. Works number was 52246 in August 1919.

Normally, one wouldn't expect to assign this Mikado to "passenger service", as did the notation in the specification. And it may simply have been a mistake. All of the dimensions match those of several other logging 2-8-2s built for US customers by Baldwin in the 'teens. Yet this was a standard-gauge line laid with 70 lb/yard (35 kg/metre) rails, even if the curves were a tight 30 degrees and the grades could measure 3%, 4%, even 5.3%.

The Meadow River Lumber Company built this line in southeastern West Virginia from Meadow Creek northeastward 21 miles (33.8 km) to Rainelle on the standard gauge. Construction was completed at Dyer on 1 September 1910. The Loop & Lookout Railroad Company was a MRLC subsidiary that was built northwardly from Rainelle to Nallen, a distance of 18.7 miles (30.1 km).

The Meadow Creek entry details the scale of operations on this line: "The Geological Survey for Fayette County, printed in 1919, noted that the Sewell Valley Railroad had an immense traffic in lumber from the large band mills at Rainelle, Honeydew and Nallen. At its peak, the Meadow River Lumber Company's operation at Rainelle was the largest hardwoods saw mill in the world."

The Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) determined in 1928 that both the New York Central and the Chesapeake & Ohio deserved equal access to the coal fields in that part of West Virginia. So they mandated a merger of the Sewell Valley, its leased subsidiary the Loop & Lookout, and the Greenbrier & Eastern as the Nicholas, Fayette & Greenbrier Railroad.

By this time, the 6 had been sold in July 1927 to the C&O as their class M-1 2900. Three years later, locomotive rebuilder/reseller Birmingham Rail & Locomotive bought the engine only to sell it to rival Georgia Car & Locomotive almost immediately. GC&L sent it to Legan & McClure Lumber Company in Estes, Miss. But BR&L had the title, apparently, and they repossessed the 2900 and sold it to the Rockton & Rion Railway of Fairfield, SC, where it operated until scrapped sometime in the 1950s.

Class 7 / M-2 (Locobase 14683)

Data from Baldwin Locomotive Works Specification for Engines as digitized by the DeGolyer Library of Southern Methodist University, Vol 62, pp. 101+ and Vol 65, pp. 247. Works number was 52665 in December 1919 and 54407 in January 1921.

Locobase 14682 shows the 6, which was delivered to the SV only a few months before this locomotive. Perhaps the 6 was a stopgap or this West Virginia short line needed different-sized locomotives for different services. In any event, the 7 was half again as big in most dimensions. To manage the tight curves, however, the driving wheelbase was held to 13 feet and the engine wheelbase even shrank a bit.

Unlike the 6, the 7 and 8 had 24 sq ft (2.2 sq m) in additional firebox heating surface area in the form of three arch tubes. The 8 was heavier by 5,000 lb (2,268 kg) on the drivers and 4,700 lb (2,132 kg) in the engine overall. The 8 trailed a bigger tender that weighed 118,000 lb (53,524 kg) when loaded with 5,500 US gal (20,818 litres) of water and 10 short tons (9,072 kg) of coal.

In February 1927, the SV sold the 7 to the Hocking Valley as their 11 and the 8 to Chesapeake & Ohio. Three years later, the HV's 11 joined the 2911 in its own class (M-2) as 2910. But the Chessie didn't hang on to either very long. 7 locomotive rebuilder/reseller Georgia Car & Locomotive in February 1930. GC&L immediately sold it to Birmingham Rail & Locomotive and the BR&L found the engine's last buyer in the Louisiana & North West of Homer, La as their 36.

Meanwhile the 8 avoided the scavengers by being sold directly to the Aberdeen & Rockfish in August 1929 as their 30. The A&R operated the 30 for 18 years before selling it to Elk River Coal & Lumber as their 11. ERC&L found useful duty for the 11 for about fifteen years before scrapping it in 1962.

After a second, two-decade career, the 36 was scrapped in 1951.

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
Class10 / M-2b67 / M-2
Locobase ID14,684 14,682 14,683
RailroadSewell ValleySewell ValleySewell Valley
Number in Class212
Road Numbers10-11 / 2912-29136 / 29007-8 / 2910-2911
Number Built212
Valve GearWalschaertWalschaertWalschaert
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)13.08 / 3.9912.08 / 3.6813.08 / 3.99
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)27 / 8.2327.25 / 8.3127 / 8.23
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.48 0.44 0.48
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)52 / 15.8547.35 / 14.4352 / 15.85
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)146,500 / 66,451113,000 / 51,256141,500 / 64,183
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)183,700 / 83,325144,000 / 65,317179,000 / 81,193
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)80,000 / 36,28770,000 / 31,75280,000 / 36,287
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)263,700 / 119,612214,000 / 97,069259,000 / 117,480
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)4000 / 15.153500 / 13.264000 / 15.15
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / ML/MT) 6.50 / 5.906 / 5.50 6.50 / 5.90
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)61 / 30.5047 / 23.5059 / 29.50
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)48 / 121944 / 111848 / 1219
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)190 / 13.10180 / 12.40160 / 11
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)20.5" x 28" / 521x71118" x 24" / 457x61020.5" x 28" / 521x711
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)39,591 / 17958.2027,039 / 12264.7033,340 / 15122.79
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 3.70 4.18 4.24
Heating Ability
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)182 / 16.91142 / 13.19182 / 16.91
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)41.30 / 3.8425.50 / 2.3741.30 / 3.84
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)3191 / 296.452110 / 196.023191 / 296.45
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)3191 / 296.452110 / 196.023191 / 296.45
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume298.32298.50298.32
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation784745906608
Same as above plus superheater percentage784745906608
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area34,58025,56029,120
Power L1582852664907
Power MT350.81410.96305.81

All material Copyright ©
Wes Barris