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    During World War I, the federal government took control of the nation's railroads and formed the United States Railroad Administration (USRA) to efficiently mobilize troops and supplies. The USRA oversaw the mass production of standardized locomotives and operations of all privately owned railroads. Consisting of representatives from ALCO, Baldwin Locomotive Works, and Lima Locomotive Works, the USRA Locomotive Committee designed over 1,800 locomotives using the best of current technology. USRA control ended on March 1, 1920 but its durable locomotives continued to have a lasting influence on the railroad industry.

    The USRA Light Mikado was one of the standard steam locomotives designed under the control of the United States Railroad Administration. This was the standard light freight locomotive of the USRA types, and was of 2-8-2 wheel arrangement in the Whyte notation. A total of 625 light Mikados were built under the auspices of the USRA, with a further 641 copies built after the end of the USRA's control. The first, for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, was completed in July 1918 and given #4500. The locomotives were considered well designed and modern, and were popular and successful. Large numbers remained in service until replaced by diesel locomotives.
    With later copies, over 50 railroads used the type.

    Constructed in just 20 days by Baldwin Locomotive Works, the B&O No. 4500 was the first USRA locomotive produced under federal management. The No. 4500 was equipped with the latest technology of its time, including a superheater and stoker. The weight of the versatile locomotive was considered "light" by most standards, yet it was quite powerful.

    In the later years of its life, the No. 4500 operated on the B&O's Ohio, Newark, St. Louis, and Ohio River divisions. In 1957, the No. 4500 was renumbered as No. 300 to make room on the B&O roster for four-digit diesel locomotives. That same year, the No. 300 retired from service, and was sent to the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum.

    There it was restored to its original number. In 1990, the No. 4500 became a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark.

    #4500 at the B&O RR Museum

    While building this engine my main goals were to make this a sturdy design able to be handled roughly with out falling apart, and to have a 100% reliable Power Functions drive with a good balance of pulling power and speed. All while maintaining a high standard of detail. I think I've done pretty well in acheiving those goals and this engine has quickly become one of my favorites.

    This is the first time I've built an engine as it apeared fresh of the erecting shop floor. All my previouse steam engines have been depicted as they apeared later in their carears. Here is #4500 in a USRA publicity photo.

    Nate Brill ( Shuppiluliumas ) was kind enough to take some videos of #4500 at a recent PennLUG display for me.

    Mikado Video 01

    Mikado Video 02

    Shuppiluliumas, 6widebricks, yagodiaz, and 15 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1. Shuppiluliumas 43 months ago | reply

      You know, sometimes I think choice of prototype to model is almost as important as the skill you put into it, and I just think this is a perfect choice. The size, the proportion and even the history all figure into it. The prototype is good-looking, and that helps the model, too. That aside, you still rendered this thing like no one else could. Just beautiful.

    2. Cale Leiphart 43 months ago | reply

      Thanks Nate. I've was never a big fan of the 2-8-2 Mikado type but I've really fallen in love with the USRA Light Mike. They just have that perfect classic American steam locomotive look.

    3. BMW_Indy 43 months ago | reply

      She runs as good as she looks!

    4. SavaTheAggie 43 months ago | reply

      Excellent work as always my friend. I'm sure this will fast become yet another community reference from you. Lots of great detail, and I agree her proportions are very pleasing to the eye. Well done.

    5. 6widebricks 43 months ago | reply

      I love this engine! Great job as always.

    6. Dan_Larson 43 months ago | reply

      Yet another great engine by you! Well done. What kind of gear drive did you end up with for this beast?

    7. bricktrix 43 months ago | reply

      Really liking this

    8. JamesOfJames 43 months ago | reply

      I particularly like your solution to the trailing truck; I never could get the shape quite right while mocking mine up. Great detail and shapes throughout!

    9. Cale Leiphart 43 months ago | reply

      Thanks Guys

      The XL motor is geared up with a 20 tooth gear to a 12 tooth gear creating a ratio of 1.667:1.

      The trailing truck was a tough one. It's not perfect but I'm reasonably happy with it.

    10. wunztwice 43 months ago | reply

      Fantastic model, and very educational. I am surprised I never new a lot of that stuff, but that's just one more reason I love the AFOL community!

    11. Cale Leiphart 43 months ago | reply

      Thanks. I'm very much a railroad history nerd. I love researching the history of the items I model.

    12. pugsx3 43 months ago | reply

      Congrats Cale another incredible mikado
      I am very much looking forward to seeing it run
      hopefully in allentown /// Tony

    13. Colin Redner 43 months ago | reply

      Another amazing locomotive from you Cale.5/5

    14. Cale Leiphart 43 months ago | reply

      It will get some miles in at Allentown in December. This one should be pretty foolproof so even Joel could run it.

    15. martinphoto11 43 months ago | reply


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