Running My USRA Light Mikado 2-8-2

By Ty’s Model Railroad - 4/25/2013 12:03:00 AM

A Broadway Limited USRA Light Mikado 2-8-2 steam locomotive passes in front of a completed Atlas Signal Tower kit

I finally got to test my newest locomotive: the USRA Light Mikado 2-8-2 by Broadway Limited. This model is Canadian National road number 3725 and features the factory integrated Paragon2 DC/DCC dual mode decoder. This is a big advantage for me, being that my layout is a DC layout and I can finally enjoy the benefits of DCC sound, though quite limited on DC tracks. 

A USRA Light Mikado 2-8-2 steam locomotive passing in front of a completed Walthers Northern Light & Power kit

The model itself is beautifully detailed and has many separately applied details such as ladders, handrails, whistle, brass bell and engineer and fireman figures. Along with the locomotives 1lb weight, the 5-pole can motor with skew wound armature ensures ultra-smooth operation right from startup. 

A USRA Light Mikado 2-8-2 steam locomotive crossing a wooden train trestle

With a slow throttle increase from 0, the locomotive begins to produce the same startup sounds it would make as it builds up steam pressure. With a bit more throttle, the engine begins to slowly roll forward, all with accompanying sound effects. As it begins to gain speed, the valve and piston sounds increase accordingly. Slowing down the locomotive activates brake sounds. The key here is SLOW throttle movement. This will produce the most realistic operation under DC control. 

A USRA Light Mikado 2-8-2 steam locomotive passing in front of a completed Walthers Northern Light & Power kit

Of course using a DCC system unlocks all the sounds and features which include: 

  • Record and play operation 
  • 16-bit sample rate for exceptional sound 
  • Whistle, horn and bell sounds 
  • Johnson bar sound 
  • Ambient sounds for passenger station, freight yard, lumber yard, maintenance yard, and farm scenes. 
  • Grade crossing signal sounds 
  • Forward/reverse signal sounds 
  • Chuff sound that changes in intensity based on load size 
  • Individually adjustable sound effect volume 
A USRA Light Mikado 2-8-2 steam locomotive approaching a wooden train trestle

DC users can purchase the DCMaster by Broadway Limited to unlock the horn/whistle and bell as well as adjust several other features. The DCMaster works with all BlueLine, Paragon2 and Paragon 3 series engines. DCMaster is not required for startup, brake and chuff sounds when using a DC system. 

A USRA Light Mikado 2-8-2 steam locomotive descending down a gentle incline in a mountain forest scene

For a sample of the Light Mikado in action on my layout, see the video below. Note: I do not have a DCMaster system installed so the sound effects shown are the limited defaults that active with a basic DC throttle.

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  1. Thanks for sharing. Very finely done and an inspiration to detail my layout as well as you did.

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  3. Wow! A fellow Canuck railroader! I haven't been in the hobby for many years now so am just getting restarted into it. Is the large, multi-windowed brick building near the start of the video a Power & Light station? Perhaps I have the name incorrect, but I remember it from all those years ago. Thanks for sharing! (P.S. We are from London, Ontario.)