Uncle Sam's Locomotives: The Usra and the Nation's Railroads

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Uncle Sam's Locomotives: The Usra and the Nation's Railroads

Eugene L. Huddleston

Publisher: Indiana University PressFormat: Hardcover

The United States Railroad Administration was created in World War I to operate the railroads on their intensified wartime footing. As a result, the USRA changed the face of railroads forever, and left America with twelve now-classic locomotive designs. This superbly illustrated book presents a study of the 30-year impact of the USRA on steam locomotives. When the U.S. entered World War I, the railroads proved unable to cope with the resulting large increase in traffic, and after 8 months President Wilson established the U.S. Railroad Administration to operate the railroads until the war ended. One of the USRA's first acts was to rationalise the railroad supply industry by standardising rolling stock designs, including twelve locomotive types, at a time when customised designs were taken for granted. Rather unexpectedly, the twelve standard USRA designs proved to be triumphs, somewhat quieting the controversy about government control. _Uncle Sam's Locomotives_ looks at these twelve classic locomotives and discusses how and why the designs were chosen, how they related to existing designs, what standardising entailed, and how each performed.“While the standardisation experiment had little if any effect on winning the war,” remarks Huddleston, ""it was highly successful from an engineering standpoint...many railroads kept their original USRA locomotives in service until the end of steam on these roads. Also, [they] made repeat orders of these designs...locomotives of USRA design were generally among the last steamers to be withdrawn from service in the move toward dieselization on American railroads."" Features a Picture Gallery of USRA Locomotives, with 189 superb illustrations and informative captions.

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