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Classic Streamliners - TRAIN​CYCLOPEDIA

2-8-8-0 Articulated Steam Locomotive
In the Whyte notation for the classification of steam locomotives by wheel arrangement, a 2-8-8-0 is a locomotive with a two-wheel leading truck, two sets of eight driving wheels, and no trailing truck.


The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway was the first to use the 2-8-8-0 configuration. In 1911, their own workshop utilized a pair of standard 2-8-0 locomotives and converted them into 2-8-8-0 "Consolidation Mallet" articulated locomotives. Four examples of this type were built, but they never proved entirely satisfactory and all were converted back to 2-8-0s in 1923.

The Great Northern Railway's 2-8-8-0 N-1 class were built by Baldwin in 1912. They were rebuilt by GN in 1932 as the N-2 class, and later rebuilt again in 1940 as the N-3 class, which gave the locomotives a larger boiler and bigger tender. The N-3's (formerly N1 and N2) served the GN for 43 years, and were in use until 1955.

The Union Pacific Railroad also operated 2-8-8-0 locomotives. The UP Bull Moose 2-8-8-0's were built in 1918 and 1924 by ALCO-Brooks and were used to haul heavy loads over Sherman Hill. A slow freight pulling speed of 12 mph brought retirement in the late 40's and early 50's, as UP's 4-12-2 9000 class could pull the same weight at 50 mph. None of the Union Pacific Bull Moose locomotives survived the scrapper's torch.

The first 2-8-8-0 operated by the Baltimore and Ohio was numbered EL-1/a and was built in 1916 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works. The western end of the B&O network had ruling gradients greater than 2%, and the 2-8-8-0 offered exceptional tractive effort, enabling a single locomotive to move the heaviest freight trains. As well as building these locomotives from scratch (the last in 1920), ten were converted from the 0-8-8-0 configuration in 1920 and a further ten were converted from 2-8-8-2's in 1922. These locomotives remained in operation until after World War II, the last being withdrawn in 1955. None were preserved.

In the Midwest, the Kansas City Southern was a principal user of the 2-8-8-0 configuration. A tender from Kansas City Southern Railroad 2-8-8-0 No. 759 was preserved after the locomotive was scrapped. It now resides at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, Illinois.

Other 2-8-8-0 examples include the Reading Railroad's N1class and the Virginian Railway's AF class. 

Equivalent classifications
UIC classification: 1DD (also known as German classification and Italian classification)
French classification: 140+040
Turkish classification: 45+44
Swiss classification: 4/5+4/4
The UIC classification is refined to (1'D)D for Mallet locomotives.

See also:

B&O EL Class 2-8-8-0

Steam Locomotives

UP 9000

Illinois Railway Museum Official Website:

A 2-8-8-0 Slideshow.

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Great Northern Railway 2-8-8-0 Class N-1 locomotive, built at the Baldwin Locomotive Works in August 1912.

Great Northern Railway 2-8-8-0 Class N-1 locomotive, built at the Baldwin Locomotive Works in August 1912.