After the first class U-1 switching locomotives with a 0-8-0 wheel arrangement, which were only built in small numbers, New York Central procured a larger number of class U-2 locomotives. These were slightly lighter than their predecessors and only had a cylinder diameter of 23.5 instead of 25 inches with the same wheel diameter.
From 1916 a total of twelve series were created, which differed slightly primarily in the boiler dimensions and were given the letters from a to l. The first series of the U-2a was delivered by ALCO-Brooks and the last series of the U-2l by ALCO-Schenectady. The remaining series came mainly from Lima, only the U-2d came from ALCO-Pittsburgh. The U-2i to U-2l were only delivered to subsidiaries of New York Central, more specifically to Chicago River & Indiana and Boston & Albany.
U-2h No. 7337
Although the last series of U-2s had not been built for the subsidiaries until 1923 and 1924, New York Central procured new class U-3 switchers as early as 1918, which corresponded to the standard USRA 0-8-0 design. Despite this, the U-2 class engines survived into the 1950s.