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Under the Whyte notation for the classification of steam locomotives, 2-6-0 represents the wheel arrangement of two leading wheels on one axle (usually in a leading truck), six powered and coupled driving wheels on three axles, and no trailing wheels. This arrangement is commonly called a Mogul. In the United States, this type of locomotive was widely built from the early 1860s to the 1920s.

Other equivalent classifications are:<br />UIC classification: 1C (also known as German classification and Italian classification)<br />French classification: 130<br />Turkish classification: 34<br />Swiss classification: 3/4<br />Russian classification: 1-3-0

Tender locomotives

This wheel arrangement was principally used for tender locomotives in the USA and Europe, and although examples were built as early as 1852–53, by two Philadelphia manufacturers (Baldwin and Norris), these first examples had their leading axles mounted directly and rigidly on the frame of the locomotive rather than on a separate truck or bogie. In these early 2-6-0s, the leading axle was merely used to distribute the weight of the locomotive over a larger number of wheels. It did not serve the same purpose as the leading trucks of the Americans or Ten-Wheelers that had been in use for at least a decade.

The first 2-6-0 with a rigidly mounted leading axle was the Pawnee, built for heavy freight service...
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