Denny Anspach <danspach@...>
Mike Brock opines-
Very few USRA engines were NOTMike has THAT exactly right. I would judge that most railroads with USRA engines soon modified them in significant ways to conform to company culture and patterns of operation.
In Linn Westcott's Model Railroader Cyclopedia there is a fairly comprehensive set of "as delivered" photos of a pretty unvarnished Milwaukee Road L2 USRA 2-8-2 (and so lettered for the USRA). The irony is that literally the day these 100 locomotives were delivered (as in the photo) was the last day that they fully retained their "USRA" signature appearance. Of some 86/100 locomotives for which there are known subsequent photos, not a single one retains significant signature USRA details; and more so, all locomotives are significantly different from one another in how they have been modified! BTW, the entire fleet of 100 locomotives lasted intact right up to the end of steam c. 1953.
The problem for the prototype modeler is made worse because of the 86 locomotives recorded on photos, only a smaller percentage then have photos of both sides.
What does a prototype modeler interested in having a suitable locomotive to haul around his prototype Steam Era Freight Cars then do? Kit bash, or modify as Mike reports, or- if no supporting data is available, pick a locomotive number for which no photos exist and-------- :-) .
Denny S. Anspach, MD