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Sign up to receive great DCC Tips and information about New Products, Pre-Orders, Sales, and Special Promotions. In 1877, the first steam locomotives with a 2-8-0 wheel arrangement arrived for service on the Denver and Rio Grande Railway. From the late 1860s forward, this new consolidation design had been utilized on small quantities of standard gauge locomotives built by Baldwin Locomotive Works.

The early Baldwin designers were constantly seeking ways to enhance the power of their locomotives for the country's burgeoning railroads, and the 2-8-0 would mark another milestone towards this goal. The eight drive wheels and additional weight incorporated into the new design enhanced rail adhesion and pulling capacity for uses such as helper service, while meeting the challenges faced by steep territories requiring the utmost in road power.
By 1876, more of the broad gauge roads (initially the Pennsylvania Railroad) began to widely accept the now proven 2-8-0 due to its ability to handle more tonnage within each train.

Railroad accountants readily appreciated the savings on crew and locomotive requirements in moving a given amount of loaded railway cars, and Baldwin started advertising this design for its obvious benefits.

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