Find Out About the USRA 4-6-2 Pacific Steam Locomotive

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So You Always Wanted to Know More About the USRA 4-6-2 Pacific Steam Locomotive But Were Afraid to Ask...?

Dear Fellow Model Railroader,

Then Let's Get Started with a little history of the 4-6-2 USRA Pacific Steam Locomotive with a Tender:

The Pacific was a USRA standard class of steam locomotive designed under the control of the United States Railroad Administration (USRA), the nationalized railroad system in the United States in the early 20th century.

Alright, But What Does 4-6-2 Mean?

Under the Whyte notation for the classification of steam locomotives, the 4-6-2 locomotives has four leading wheels, six coupled driving wheels and two trailing wheels (a little confusing right? See the pictures below).

The advantage of the four leading wheels was stability at higher speeds.  The six driving wheels had MORE POWER than the earlier designs and the two wheel trailing truck allowed the firebox to be placed behind the high driving wheels and because of that, the firebox could be wider and deeper.  That meant these trains could burn the poorer quality lignite coal efficiently.

The Pacific locomotives which had the 4-6-2 wheel configuration, were used for express passenger trains from the early to mid 20th Century before being replaced by diesel and electric locomotives and high speed trains.  New Zealand was the first country to use these train in 1901.  This train was called the "Pacific" because they were manufactured in the United States and shipped to New Zealand railways across the Pacific Ocean. (Pretty cool huh?)

The 4-6-2 Pacifics were the predominant steam passenger locomotives in North America during the first half of the 20th century. About 7,000 Pacific locomotives were produced for the U.S. and Canadian railroads.  The largest user was the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR), which had 697 of these steam trains.

Question:  I noticed that the model in this listing has a Tender.  What is a Tender?

I'm so glad you asked!  :)

First of all, as you probably know, the steam locomotives often hauled a tender, which is a special rail car that was designed to hold the locomotive's fuel (wood, coal, or oil) and water. In America, tenders are sometimes called “coal-cars.” As you can imagine, steam locomotives consumed large quantities of both fuel and water.

Side View of the N Scale Metal USRA 4-6-2 Pacific Steam Train


The 4-6-2 USRA Pacific Steam Locomotives were considered well designed and modern.  Also, they were perfect as a passenger locomotives because of stability, speed and a big firebox.  Unless your picture is in the latest copy of Forbe's Magazine -- Richest People in the World -- the chances of you getting a REAL USRA 2-8-2 Mikado Steam Locomotive for your backyard is pretty remote.  HOWEVER... you CAN get a replica model steam train at my eBay store! And when you get this N Scale Locomotive made by Model Power, you will be appreciative of its power, smooth running and these trains are a lot of fun to watch... chugging around your railroad layout.

And lastly... Railroading is an extremely fun and relaxing hobby that allows You to "get away" and temporarily forget the pressures and concerns that bothers you during the day. And for the others, model railroading is like a mini-vacation without having to spend big bucks traveling out of town!

So take it easy... and take the train,


Be sure to check out the links below for more information on the exciting hobby of railroading...

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