Bismarck, Washburn & Great Falls / Minneapolis, St Paul & Sault Ste Marie 2-8-2 "Mikado" Locomotives in the USA

Bismarck, Washburn & Great Falls

Over one-hundred years ago the City of Wilton was founded. With only three or four buildings and a half dozen residents at its start, the community eventually grew into a town of over 800 people.It began in 1898, when General W.D. Washburn, a former U.S. Senator and surveyor-General from Minnesota as well as a principal owner of the Washburn-Crosby Flour Mills, purchased 113,000 acres of Northern Pacific grant lands for the purpose of developing its resources and promoting settlement.

On May 10 of 1899, Washburn selected a town site with four blocks in Burleigh County and eleven in McLean County. He named it Wilton; for a town in his home state of Maine. On October 18th the plat for the town was filed.

Washburn realized that if he wanted to populate the area and develop the coal mines, it would be beneficial to have a railroad cross his land. Therefore, he began immediately to organize the Bismarck, Washburn and Ft. Buford Railroad Co. (later the Bismarck, Washburn and Great Falls Railroad Co.) which was completed in 1900. The coming of rails meant Wilton was no longer isolated..

The new railroad bought one "Mikado" type locomotive from the Baldwin Locomotive Works and it was delivered in 1901. The locomotive carried road number 3 and it had 50" diameter drivers, 14" high pressure and 24" low pressure cylinders and with a 200 psi boiler pressure it exerted 28,560 pounds of tractive effort. The locomotive weighed 165,400 pounds and the tender capacity was 5,000 gallons of water and 6 tons of coal.

There are no surviving BW&GF 2-8-2 "Mikado" type locomotives.


QtyRoad NumbersYear BuiltBuilderNotes
1 31901BaldwinNumber 3 was a Vauclain Compound locomotive and became number 1000 after the MStP&SSM purchased the BW&GF in 1904.

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class Great Falls/G-1/L (Locobase 10762)

Data from Angus Sinclair, Twentieth Century Locomotives (New York: Railway and Locomotive Engineering, 1904), pp.572-574. See also DeGolyer, Volume 24, p. 38. Works number was 19550 in September 1901.

Locobase 9390 briefly describes the BW&GF, a North Dakota road that was absorbed by the Minneapolis, St Paul & Sault Ste Marie in 1904, only a few years after its opening. As part of the dowry, this small, very low-drivered Mikado gave up its number 3 in favor of the round 1000.

Delivered with 14" HP and 24" LP cylinders, each set of two fed by an 11 1/2" (292 mm) piston valve. 1000 was later modified to a simple-expansion layout with a small cylinder volume (See Locobase 9391) . According to the Baldwin history, the requirement covered a powerful locomotive with a wide firebox of large capacity and ample grate area for burning inferior coal or lignite. The specs called for the 3 to be "guaranteed to make sufficient steam for its [unclear] operation."

Class L - simpled (Locobase 9391)

Data from Soo 9 - 1943 Steam Locomotive Diagrams supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange.

Some years after the Soo took over the Bismarck, Washburn & Great Falls, it converted its compound Mikado (Locobase 10762) into a simple-expansion engine. In the process, the engine was fitted with an entirely new boiler and firebox; the boiler was larger, the firebox smaller. After its conversion and unlike its Pacific stablemate, the Mike had 12" (305 mm) piston valves operated by outside radial gear.

1000 was dismissed from service" in August 1933.

Class L-1/L-2 (Locobase 1364)

Schenectady built the first 10 in 1913 with Brooks adding 25 (14 for Soo, 11 for the Wisconsin Central) in 1920.

Data from website sponsoring restoration of 1003. ( Superheater size was not stated separately, but the Soo Misc Steam Locomotive Diagrams supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley filled in the missing information.

Superheater area is estimated based on the following logic: The diagram gives the "superheater equivalent" area as 1,246.02 sq ft. If that figure is plugged into the specs as given, the superheater ratio is 24%, a pretty high value for this vintage. But if this figure is a result of taking each actual square foot of superheater as equivalent to 1 1/2 sq ft of heating surface, a frequent calculation for the time and the standard figure used by Railway Age, then the result of cutting a third of this number gives the value showing in the specs.

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
ClassGreat Falls/G-1/LL - simpledL-1/L-2
Locobase ID10,762 9391 1364
RailroadBismarck, Washburn & Great Falls (Soo)Minneapolis, St Paul & Sault Ste Marie (Soo)Minneapolis, St Paul & Sault Ste Marie (Soo)
Number in Class1123
Road Numbers3/601/951/100010001001-1023
Number Built123
BuilderBurnham, Williams & CoSooAlco
Valve GearStephensonWalschaertWalschaert
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)13.25 / 4.0413.25 / 4.0417 / 5.18
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)26.92 / 8.2126.92 / 8.2134.83 / 10.62
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.49 0.49 0.49
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)53.17 / 16.2167.73 / 20.64
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)34,750 / 15,76258,100 / 26,354
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)128,010 / 58,064125,700 / 57,017223,800 / 101,514
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)166,910 / 75,709165,400 / 75,024297,600 / 134,989
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)99,090 / 44,947101,200 / 45,904169,000 / 76,657
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)266,000 / 120,656266,600 / 120,928466,600 / 211,646
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)5000 / 18.945000 / 18.949000 / 34.09
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / ML/MT)6 / 5.5014 / 12.70
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)53 / 26.5052 / 2693 / 46.50
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)50 / 137250 / 127063 / 1600
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)200 / 13.80200 / 13.80170 / 11.70
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)14" x 26" / 356x66019" x 26" / 483x66028" x 30" / 711x762
Low Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)26" x 26" / 660x660
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)26,864 / 12185.3231,912 / 14475.0653,947 / 24469.98
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 4.77 3.94 4.15
Heating Ability
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)174 / 16.17130 / 12.08249 / 23.14
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)56 / 5.2038.97 / 3.6263.26 / 5.88
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)2496 / 231.972595 / 241.173916 / 363.94
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)831 / 77.23
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)2496 / 231.972595 / 241.174747 / 441.17
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume538.81304.14183.16
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation11,200779410,754
Same as above plus superheater percentage11,200779412,690
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area34,80026,00049,949
Power L13511633910,553
Power MT241.87444.71415.82

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