Wheeling & Lake Erie 2-8-2 "Mikado" Locomotives in the USA

The Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway was an Ohio based railroad that was conceived in 1877 to haul coal from mines near Wheeling, WV to the ports on Lake Erie. It never reached Wheeling but obtained trackage rights to that city. It did however have extensive lines in Ohio which eventually served ports in Cleveland, Lorain, Huron and Toledo, and connected to Ohio River near Steubenville, Ohio and Wheeling. It had rails to other cities such as Zanesville, Canton, Massillon, Coshocton and had trackage rights into the Pittsburgh area. The Nickel Plate leased the WLE in 1949 and the NKP was merged into the Norfolk Southern 1984-1988. In 1990 the NS sold off many of its properties including good portions of the old WLE as well as the Akron Canton and Youngstown, and the Pittsburgh and West Virginia. Major portions of these three lines formed the new Wheeling and Lake Erie with lines in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

The only "Mikado" type locomotives on the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railroad were the twenty it was allocated by the USRA. Ten of the USRA "Mikado-Heavy" locomotives were revived in August 1918. They were designated as Class M-1 and assigned road numbers 6001 through 6010. In October 1918, the USRA assigned ten more of the "Heavies" to the W&LE. These ten locomotives were also designated as Class M-1 and they were assigned road numbers 6011 through 6020. The twenty Class M-1s had 63" diameter drivers, 27" x 32" cylinders, a 190 psi boiler pressure, they exerted 59,850 pounds of tractive effort and each weighed 321,678 pounds. The firebox was 375 square feet, the evaporative heating surface was 4,353 square feet and with the superheater the combined heating surface was 5,346 square feet.

There are no surviving W&LE 2-8-2 "Mikado" type locomotives.


ClassQty.Road NumbersYear BuiltBuilderNotes
  1. Class M-1 locomotives were USRA allocated "Mikado-Heavy" locomotives. The Nickel plate leased the W&LE in 1949 and these locomotives were assigned NKP numbers 671 - 690. Numbers 6009, 6013, 6014 and 6016 scrapped in1954. Numbers 6004, 6005 and 6015 scrapped in 1956. Numbers 6008 and 6011 scrapped in 1958. Number 6020 scrapped in 1959. All the others scrapped in 1955

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class M-1 (Locobase 7897)

Data from W&LE10 - 1948 Locomotive Diagram books supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange.

These Heavy Mikados were supplied "off the shelf" by the United States Railroad Administration during the 2-year period of nationalization that began in December 1917. They came in two batches: works numbers 59720-59729 and 60375-60384. The two sets differed only in the type of rear engine frame. 6001-6010 had a slab type, 6011-6020 the more considerate sounding "Commonwealth cradle".

At first the M-1s had the standard USRA firebox, but over time the railroad modified it along lines adopted by many others. Most important was the deletion of a few square feet of arch tubes in favor of much more heating surface (77 sq ft) in the form of thermic syphons.

Otherwise, a very sound design saw no other significant changes during a career that ended with the last steam runs on the W & LE in 1958.

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
Locobase ID7897
RailroadWheeling & Lake Erie
Number in Class20
Road Numbers6001-6020
Number Built20
Valve GearWalschaert
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)16.75 / 5.11
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)36.08 / 11
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.46
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)79.21 / 24.14
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)61,399 / 27,850
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)239,839 / 108,789
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)321,678 / 145,911
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)250,800 / 113,761
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)572,478 / 259,672
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)16,000 / 60.61
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / ML/MT)17.70 / 16.10
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)100 / 50
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)63 / 1600
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)200 / 13.80
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)27" x 32" / 686x813
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)62,949 / 28553.22
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 3.81
Heating Ability
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)375 / 34.85
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)70.80 / 6.58
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)4353 / 404.55
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)993 / 92.29
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)5346 / 496.84
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume205.27
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation14,160
Same as above plus superheater percentage16,850
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area89,250
Power L115,018
Power MT552.19

  • 6009 (Otto Perry Photo)
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