USRA Designs

USRA Mikado Steam Engine






The USRA Steam Locomotives



The United States Railway Administration (USRA) was created in December of 1917 to coordinate the operations of the U. S. railroads during World War I. One of the enduring legacies of the USRA was the production of standard designs for steam locomotives used by many of this nations railroads.


The USRA produced standard designs for 0-6-0 and 0-8-0 switching locomotives, 2-6-6-2 and 2-8-8-2 compound articulated freight locomotives, and light and heavy versions of the 4-6-2 Pacific, 4-8-2 Mountain, 2-8-2 Mikado and 2-10-2 Santa Fe-type locomotives. The light versions were built with axle loads of about 54,000 pounds for service on light rail, and were designated with the suffix "A". The heavy versions used a 60,000 pound axle load, and were designated with the suffix "B". 1856 original locomotives of all types were produced during the reign of the USRA. Due to the basically sound design of these engines, a further 3251 copies were built to USRA designs after the war ended. A total of 97 railroads used one or more of the USRA steam locomotive designs.( "USRA STEAM LOCOMOTIVES Atlantic Coast Line 1504 and Baltimore and Ohio 4500, A National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark", Commeration Booklet, Oct 23, 1990)


There were a total of 1,856 engines in twelve designs produced:


USRA Locomotives Produced


The 2-8-2 wheel design Mikados represented 46% of the total engines produced, with the Light Mikado the clearly favourite design.



Cost in 1918 of a USRA Designed Steam Locomotive


How much did a Mikado Steam Locomotive Cost?


If you guessed that a Light Mikado Steam Locmotive would cost $53,619, you would be right. Of course those are in 1918 dollars. If converted to todays dollars (using the change in the CPI) your cost would only be $764,000. Quite a deal!




Steam Locomotive Cost

Source: Railway Age, March 21, 1919


August 23, 2015