The 2-6-6-2 Articulated Steam Locomotive with Flywheel

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2-6-6-2 Articulated Steam Locomotive with Flywheel and a Tender

What is a 2-6-6-2 Articulated Steam Locomotive with Flywheel and a Tender?

I hope to answer that question for you right now and by the time you finish reading this short guide, you will know all about this train and where to get a working model train for your own tracks!

Well, first of all let's break down everything and start with this queston:

What do the numbers, 2-6-6-2 mean?

The Whyte notation is used to classified steam locomotives according to their wheel configuration.  So 2-6-6-2 is used to describe the railroad steam locomotive that has two leading wheels followed by six coupled driving wheels with a second set of six coupled driving wheels, AND two trailing wheels (confused?  Take a look at the pictures of a model 2-6-6-2 train below). This type of locomotive was commonly used in North America on the logging railways.

OK.  But what about the word Articulated Locomotive?

Awesome question!

The Articulated locomotive was a steam locomotive with two movable wheel units which can move relative to the main frame.  For this particular train, the first 4 pairs of wheels is one unit and the last pair of wheels is another unit. The separate wheel units allowed the l-o-n-g-e-r locomotives to negotiate tight curves. And this is EXACTLY why Articulated locomotives were usually used on the lines with extreme curves found on the logging, industrial or mountainous railways.

The Articulated locomotives saw service in most nations and were very popular on narrow gauge railways in Europe.  But the BIGGEST Articulated locomotives were built and used in the United States.

One more question, what exactly is a flywheel and why would this train have one?

So many great questions and I think I can answer that one too...

A flywheel is a rotating disk that is used as a storage device for kinetic energy.  And kinetic energy is any body or mass in motion. And the next term you should know is inertia -- this keeps the body in motion at the same speed -- and friction or some other force will slow it down.

The flywheel is then a mass spinning around an axis on the train. At least for model locomotives, the flywheel is usually mounted on the motor shaft which happens to be the fastest rotating item on the train. The reason you want the flywheel on the fastest rotating item is because the higher the speed of the mass, the greater the kinetic energy (or inertia) -- the more power you have working for the train. Makes sense huh?

If you look from the bottom of a model 2-6-6-2 Articulated train, you will see a brass donut mounted flush with the motor assembly. And it spins with around the motor shaft which is connected to the gears which turns the wheels of the locomotive. You got it! That brass donut is the flywheel! It has weight, and once it is spinning, it has inertia. And that inertia gives extra power to the locomotive for climbing steep grades or pulling heavy rolling stock.

I promise, this is the last question... so what is a Tender?

Steam locomotive often hauled a tender which held the locomotive's fuel (wood, coal, or oil) and water.


There you have it!  The 2-6-6-2 Articulated Steam Locomotive with Flywheel Drive and a tender were used for the industrial, logging and mountainous railway lines. Unless you are a billionaire, you probably don't have a rea 2-6-6-2 Articulated Steam Train in your front yard... BUT! You CAN get a replica model steam train at my eBay store. When you get this HO Scale Mantua Classics train, you are investing in the history of railroads.  Bottom line -- you will be completely satisfied with this superb locomotive and will enjoy spending hours and hours... operating your new steam train!

And lastly... Railroading is an extremely fun and interesting hobby that gives you hours and hours of delight and quality enjoyment!   Happy model railroading!

And Remember, if you are not back in your garage operating your model steam trains, you just aren't living!

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

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