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Ne B&O 2-8-8-4's

Started by fjnelson225, March 11, 2012, 11:23:16 PM

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The new offering of the B&O 2-8-8-4 Locomotive is impressive and I have been waiting a long time for this wheel arrangement to come on the market.  Did you know that the DMIR received a number of their 2-8-8-4 Yellowstones from the B&O railroad in the 1940's.  Where these some of the ones that the DMIR acquired from the B&O?  Is there a plan to offer these models in the DMIR livery and if so will there be centipede tenders for them?


As far as I know, the DM&IR never got any second-hand B&O 2-8-8-4s; rather the M-3 and M4 engines of the Missabe Road were their own design, and were based on a 2-8-8-2 that was jointly designed for the Denver & Rio Grande Western and the Western Pacific.

It's an interesting tidbit that the DM&IR engines were regularly leased to the D&RGW during the winter months of the 1940s, particularly during WW II, when the lakes froze over and the shipment of iron ore ceased.

A pair of B&O-designed 2-8-8-4s "almost" made it to Utah, however.  These were to be a pair of engines that were to have been added to the first B&O order for the Bingham & Garfield, a copper hauler.  Likely due to War Production Board orders, these proposed engines were never built, and the railroad soldiered on with some second-hand N&W 2-8-8-2s until its abandonment in 1947, when the whole railroad was replaced by a new electric railroad.

An important consideration in locomotive design is driver diameter and its associated axle spacing.  Modern power typically had the axle spacing at the minimum that could be used to accommodate flanges and brake rigging (typically, this is about 3 inches greater than driver diameter), and as it turns out, all 2-8-8-4s used either 63-inch or 64-inch drivers, from the first Yellowstones built for the Northern Pacific in the late 1920s to the last new design for the type for the B&O in the 1940s.  What this means is that Bachmann's mechanism can be used, with different superstructures, tenders, etc., to power about all the different versions of the 2-8-8-4, including the Iron Range engines, Southern Pacific's AC-9s, and even, with some very minor modifications, the WP-D&RGW 2-8-8-2s.  

The one design that looks like it might not be the best candidate would be the original NP locomotives, which had an unusual (different and noticeable) axle spacing between No. 2 and No. 3 driving axles, apparently due to the design of the load bearing device for the front engine.  This was in the rear engine, too, likely in the interest of keeping parts between the two engines interchangeable.

If you are thinking of buying this locomotive, it seems you will be quite please with it, judging from some comments here:,18857.0.html

A friend of mine who models the C&O like me but in the diesel age (argh, I can't get him over the dark side of black engines that burn coal!), but also follows the discussions of the B&O on other forums, has told me this engine has really lit up those B&O fans.