Friday, May 30, 2008

The Mikado!

Western Pacific Railroad 334, East Oakland, November 27, 1960. The family had gone down to the Bay Area to spend Thanksgiving with Uncle Al. And of course, no trip to the Bay Area would be complete without the obligatory train chasing.

We went over to East Oakland, and found this beautiful steam engine quietly sitting in the afternoon sun. She was cold, and being no one around, I couldn’t find out what her story was.

The Whyte notation for classifying steam locomotives by wheel arrangement was devised by Frederick Methvan Whyte and came into use in the early 20th century encouraged by a December 1900 editorial in American Engineer & Railroad Journal. Whyte's system counts the number of leading wheels, then the number of driving wheels, and finally the number of trailing wheels.

The 2-8-2 wheel arrangement was often referred to as a “Mike,” a slang form of “Mikado” which has an
interesting history.

Here’s a shot of her sister,
WP 333, working out of Portola California in 1938!

Western Pacific 334 is in storage in under the stewardship of the Western Railway Museum; near Rio Vista, California, not available for public viewing.

I received the following email today concerning her future:

Western Pacific #334 is part of the collection at the Western Railway Museum. Unfortunately, the artifact is not currently on public display. Our intention is to eventually move it to the newly completed Loring C. Jensen Memorial Car House, which is a publicly accessible storage and display facility. However, this is not likely to occur before the end of 2008. Thank you, Robert.
Best wishes
Phil Kohlmetz
Executive Director
Western Railway Museum
707-374-2978 x114

Railroad Stuff: Western Pacific Railway 334, built as a 2-8-2 Mikado by American Locomotive Works in 1929.

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