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Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 "Berkshire" Stud Counter™ Full Kit

Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 "Berkshire" Stud Counter™ Full Kit

About the Model

Designed by Lima Locomotive Works engineer William E. Woodard, the Berkshire was an expansion of the 2-8-2 Mikado-type locomotive design, which gained increased horsepower and heating surface with the inclusion of a larger firebox. That, in turn, necessitated the addition of a trailing truck and two wheels to support it.


During and after World War I, the Mikado became a temporary solution for the need for speed and pulling power as earlier steam locomotive designs proved effective at moving heavy freight tonnage, but their tractive effort suffered as a result of the cumbersome weight and wheel arrangement.


After experimentation with the firebox size on the Mikado design, Woodard designated that an entirely new wheel arrangement was necessary to support the increasing need for horsepower and enlarged firebox. Thus, was born the 2-8-4 and the Super-power concept of “horsepower at speed” was incarnated. 


The prototype, called the A-1, was broken in on the Boston & Albany Railroad’s Berkshire Hills, given extra tonnage and pitted against a Mikado for testing. The A-1 impressed the railroad so much that it ordered forty-five Berkshires for its own. 

Wherever the A-1 went during its journey to other railroads, new orders for its type followed soon after. Among the railroads to employ the new design were the Nickel Plate Road, Pere Marquette, New York Central, Erie Railroad, Illinois Central, Boston & Maine, Louisville & Nashville, and the Chesapeake and Ohio, which named the locomotives Kanawhas for the Kanawha River which bordered the lines of the C&O. While Lima pioneered and crafted the design, the American Locomotive Company (ALCO) also constructed several classes in successive bids to various railroads. The last steam locomotives built by Lima and ALCO were Berkshires.


The Nickel Plate Road was able to rout its underdog status and become an effective, high-speed freight line with the addition of 80 Berkshires to its motive power ranks. Respected by engine crews and proficient at their tasks, the Berkshires outperformed even the newest diesel locomotives and could have been the last steam locomotives in use on a mainline railroad if it had not been for a recession in the 1950s that kept them at a standstill.


Given their immense numbers up until the end of steam power in the United States, several Berkshires would be preserved for future generations as others were sold for scrap.


About the Kit

Stud Counter™ full kits are the premiere LEGO® train building experience. They take all of the guess work out of sourcing and gathering the parts. The full kit includes:

  • high quality printed instructions
  • brand new LEGO® pieces
  • all required custom parts
  • train control method of choice
  • decals by OKBrickWorks


All Stud Counter™ full kits are made to order and require 6-8 weeks delivery.



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Please note, render is shown to represent the finished model.

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