A Mudhen at Rest

D&RGW 2-8-2 locomotive #456 is simmering quietly waiting for it’s next assignment. She’s a class K-27 locomotive which were affectionately known as “Mudhens”. She was built by Baldwin in 1903. The date and location of this image are unknown.

William H. Radcliffe; collection of Jack C. Shall

D&RGW 2-8-2 #456

4 thoughts on “A Mudhen at Rest

    • Matt, I’ve seen several explanations over the years, and these two from the American-Rails website are similar to what I’ve heard.

      “The origin of their nickname as Mudhens has never been fully understood; one version of the story states the term came about because the Mikados were prone to derailments on the tight curves and poorly maintained narrow-gauge trackage. As they skipped and waddled along the ties the locomotive’s looked like a hen, giving them their nickname.

      However, another version says that because of their low center of gravity and having their counterweights (or cranks) situated beyond the width of the rails (due to their outside frames) they appeared to weave and bob down the rough track giving them the name Mudhen.”


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