The 2-8-2 or Mikado type was known as class H on the New York Central System. During the 1930s this type was the most numerous of NYC steam engines, all having been erected in the 1910s and 1920s for main line freight service. In 1940 the system's roster still listed more than 1,000 2-8-2s, although many had been retired as the Mohawk 4-8-2s supplanted them in main line service. With the surge of traffic during and after World War II, many lowlier "Mikes" enjoyed a reprieve from the torch and carried on in local freight, branch line or yard transfer service. A few lasted almost to the very end of NYC steam operation.
No. 1306, which I photographed at the NYC's Detroit engine terminal in March 1954, was a member of class H-5j, formerly Boston & Albany No. 1202, and came from the American Locomotive Company's Schenectady works in 1913. Like most New York Central 2-8-2s (except, principally, the H-8s), this class had 63-inch drivers; for their other dimensions see the commentary on No. 1524. The original No. 1306, of class H-5n, was retired in 1949 and this locomotive adopted its number in 1951; it was scrapped the year after I photographed it.