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History: The USRA 2-8-8-2 was a USRA standard class of steam locomotive designed under the control of the United States Railroad Administration, the nationalized railroad system in the United States during World War I. These locomotives were of 2-8-8-2 wheel arrangement in the Whyte notation, or (1'D)'D1' in UIC classification. A total of 106 locomotives were built to this plan for the USRA; postwar, it became a de facto standard design.
While the 2-8-8-2 had been built in the United States since 1909, most development work had gone into making subsequent locomotives larger and heavier. The Norfolk and Western Railway however, had taken development in a different direction. By using smaller cylinders and higher boiler pressure, the result was a locomotive capable of powerful performance, and a turn of speed higher than the 20 mph (32 km/h) maximum of the ‘traditional’ designs. The USRA 2-8-8-2 drew heavily on the Norfolk and Western Railway’s Y-2 class locomotive design, as their delegate to the 2-8-8-2 design committee had brought a full set of blueprints.
On April 6th, 1917, the United States entered World War I, and very soon the nation's railroads proved inadequate to the task of serving the war effort. There were several sources of the problem. Although the carriers had made massive investments in the first years of the 20th century, there remained inadequacies in terminals, trackage, and rolling stock. Inflation struck the American economy, and when in 1906 Congress empowered the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) to set maximum shipping rates, the rail firms had difficulty securing revenue sufficient to keep pace with rising costs. The ICC did allow some increases in rates, however. Also, investors had overexpanded the nation's trackage, so by late 1915 fully one-sixth of the railroad trackage in the country belonged to roads in receivership (bankruptcy). The railroad unions (commonly called "brotherhoods"), desiring shorter working days and better pay, threatened strike action in the second half of 1916. To avert a strike, President Woodrow Wilson secured Congressional passage of the Adamson Act, which set the eight-hour work day as the industry standard. When the Supreme Court ruled the law constitutional, the carriers had no choice but to comply.
Over 100,000 railroad cars and 1,930 steam locomotives were ordered by the USRA at a cost of $380 million, all of new USRA standard designs, which were up-to-date and standardized types, designed to be the best that could be produced to replace outdated equipment.
Item Links: We found: 1 different collections associated with Rail - Locomotive - Steam - 2-8-8-2 USRA
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Item created by: gdm on 2018-05-24 08:09:16
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