USRA 2-6-6-2

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The USRA 2-6-6-2 was a standardized design of 2-6-6-2 Mallet locomotives developed by the United States Railroad Administration during World War I.


The USRA 2-6-6-2 locomotive was a Mallet, or compound articulated type, having both low-pressure and high-pressure cylinders. The smaller high-pressure cylinders powered the rear set of driving wheels, and the larger low-pressure cylinders powered the forward set of driving wheels. The USRA 2-6-6-2 articulated locomotives were direct developments of the Chesapeake & Ohio class H2 and H4 series.


During the tenure of the USRA, 30 of these articulated steam locomotives were built. The Chesapeake and Ohio Railway (C&O) and Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway (W&LE) ordered the USRA 2-6-6-2 Mallet. The first Mallet was delivered to the W&LE in 1919 for $71,966.94. Later, the Nickel Plate Road (NKP) leased them from the W&LE, renumbering them for use on its rails. The independently pivoted front engine allowed it to negotiate branch lines and tight curves while hauling larger consists than its smaller cousins in the USRA series.

The Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad ordered the first of these compact 2-6-6-2 articulated steam locomotives from Alco in 1911. It was a massive locomotive for the time, and it performed well enough for the C&O to order additional, but slightly modified, versions right through 1923. These locomotives were designed to replace the 2-8-0 Consolidations for the coal...
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