Deepwater 2-8-2 "Mikado" Locomotives in the USA

The Virginian Railway was formed when the Deepwater Railway combined with the Tidewater Railway in 1909. At that time, the new railroad had locomotives with a 2-8-2 wheel arrangement including a pair built for the Deepwater Railway by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1905. These two locomotives were numbers 30 & 31 on the Deepwater and became Virginian numbers 400 & 401. The Tidewater Railway had four 2-8-2 locomotives similar to those on the Deepwater, which were delivered from Baldwin in 1907. These became Virginia numbers 402-405. Shortly after forming the new railroad the mechanical engineering department devised a classification system for its locomotives. The classification system used the first letter of the name given to wheel arrangement followed by letter for the group or series of the locomotive. These first Mikado type locomotives were thus designated as Class MA.

In 1909, the Virginian began to receive new 2-8-2 locomotives from the Baldwin Locomotive Works. These locomotives were, what many believe to be, the first true examples of the 2-8-2 wheel arrangement. They had a deep firebox, supported by the trailing truck and a large superheated boiler. There were 42 in this group that was designated as Class MB and had road numbers 420-461 assigned.

The last new "Mikados" bought by the Virginian were delivered by Baldwin in 1912. This group was designated as Class MC and carried road numbers 462-479.

In 1938, the Princeton Shops undertook a major overhaul of one of the Class MC locomotives. Number 472 received new Baldwin supplied 57" diameter disk drivers and light weight side rods. Between 1938 and 1941 a total of five Class MCs received the same new parts. These locomotives were rebuilt to pull "time freight" trains number 71, 72, 73 and 74, with the fifth locomotive reserved as a spare. This group was designated as Class MCA and numbers 480-484 were assigned. These rebuilt locomotives were 1,300 lbs. lighter than the MC class.

One more 2-8-2 came to the Virginian when an experimental 2-8-8-8-4, number 700, was returned to Baldwin in 1921. The locomotive was broken apart and Baldwin returned a new 2-8-8-0, which became number 610, and a 2-8-2, which became number 410 and was the only locomotive in Class MD. This locomotive had 56" drivers, 26" x 32" cylinders, a 200 psi boiler pressure and a 65,700 pound tractive effort.


ClassQty.Road NumbersYear BuiltBuilderNotes
MA6400 - 4051905 - 1907Baldwin 
MB42420 - 4611909 - 1910Baldwin 
MC18462 - 4791912Baldwin 
MCA5480 - 4841938 - 1941Virginian1
  1. The Princeton Shops of the Virginian rebuilt five Class MC numbers 472, 466, 470, 475, & 463 in that order and numbered them 480-484. The new Class MCA locomotives were equipped with Baldwin supplied disk drivers and light weight side rods.
  2. The Virginian returned an experimental 2-8-8-8-4 to Baldwin in 1921. The locomotive was broken apart and Baldwin retuned a new 2-8-8-0, and a 2-8-2, which became number 410 and was the only locomotive in Class MD.

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class MA (Locobase 10810)

Data from "Baldwin Freight Engine, Deepwater Railway Co.", Railway Master Mechanic, Vol XXX, #1 (January 1906), p. 4-5. Works numbers were 26625-26626 in October 1905.

The RMM article states that the reason for adopting a 2-8-2 layout was to allow the engine to run in both directions without visiting a turntable. In addition, the report noted that the rear truck "...enables the use of a good depth of throat sheet and also a horizontal grate in the wide fire box."

The Deepwater merged with the Virginian in 1907 and the two Mikados were redesignated MA. Although powerful, the pair was soon overmatched by later traffic and eventually were scrapped in December 1933.

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
Locobase ID10,810
RailroadDeepwater (Virginian)
Number in Class2
Road Numbers30-31 / 400-401
Number Built2
BuilderBurnham, Williams & Co
Valve GearWalschaert
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)14 / 4.27
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)31.08 / 9.47
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.45
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)59 / 17.98
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)180,000 / 81,647
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)224,000 / 101,605
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)114,000 / 51,710
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)338,000 / 153,315
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)6000 / 22.73
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / ML/MT)10 / 9.10
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)200 / 13.80
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)22" x 28" / 559x711
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)45,173 / 20490.15
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 3.98
Heating Ability
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)160 / 14.87
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)51 / 4.74
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)3414 / 317.29
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)3414 / 317.29
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume277.13
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation10,200
Same as above plus superheater percentage10,200
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area32,000
Power L15815
Power MT284.89

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Wes Barris