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2-8-4 Berkshire Steam Locomotives

MTH model Berkshire

The 2-8-4 Berkshire locomotives are quite famous, as they were the model for some of Lionel's most popular model steam locomotives during the postwar days.  In the real world, they were workhorses that hauled heavy freights and long passenger consists.  The model above is in the Premier line by MTH and is a model of a prototype on the Nickel Plate (NKP).  The detailing is quite fantastic!  Another view is shown below, with photos of the prototype below that (including the prototype 765, on which the model was based).

MTH model berkshire

In December of 2001, MTH issued another Premier model of a Nickel Plate Berkshire, #779, to help support the rebuilding efforts for the prototype #765, owned by the Fort Wayne Railway Historical Society.  It is even more detailed than its predecessor, and has even better sound!

MTH Premier Berk

MTH Premier Berk

NKP berkshire

NKP berkshire

The Berkshire evolved from the 2-8-2 Mikado.   The Berkshire was "superpowered" by expanding the size of the firebox so that it could burn coal more efficiently, generating more steam per measure of coal.   As a consequence of the added weight, an axle was added to rear truck, turning the 2-8-2 Mikado into the 2-8-4 Berkshire.

Grand Trunk Berkshire

This is a Nickel Plate Berkshire preserved at the Railroad Museum of PA.

NKP Berkshire

NKP Berkshire

Other railroads also rostered Berkshires and some had other names for them.  On the Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) they were called Kanawhas.  The New York Central (NYC) also had Berkshires; they were some of the last steamers ordered by NYC.  In July of 2004, MTH brought out a stunning Premier line model of the NYC Berkshire, lettered for the P&LE.  It's a superb model!  Here's the front half of the locomotive.

Here's the back half, followed by a broadside shot of the entire locomotive.

The tender is massive!

Here's a long view showing the face of the locomotive.

Finally, here's some of the detail around the cab.

Last updated: 24 Feb 2023

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