UP's Heritage Fleet Auxiliary Water Cars
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This page was last updated on December 8, 2015.
Union Pacific has used four retired GTE tenders as water cars to extend the range of the road's two operating steam locomotives, 844 and 3985.
Two different types of tenders were used on the GTEL-8500 locomotives, as follows:
- Uninsulated, classified as 23-C-GTE, and was rebuilt from 19-C tenders from retired 3800-class Challengers.
- Insulated, classified as 24-C-GTE, and was rebuilt from 20-C tenders from retired FEF-1 class 800-series 4-8-4 Northerns. While in service as GTE fuel tenders, the cars were insulated and smooth-sided, with round covers along the bottom curve of the GTE tender that provided access to large, cylindrical electric heaters. UPP 809 and 814 started as this type.
Capacity was 24,000 gallons in the GTE fuel tender configuration, and 28,000 gallons in the "restored" steam tender configuration, due to the removal of heater elements and associated metal structure.
UPP 809 and UPP 814
The two current water cars are UPP 809 and UPP 814. Both have been converted from their GTE fuel tender configuration, back to their original steam tender configuration. UPP 814 was completed in July 2006 (work began in December 2005), and UPP 809 was completed in August 2008 (work began in late 2006).
After UPP 814 was stripped in late December 2005 in preparation for conversion, two numbers were visible in white on the original black-painted tender body: 812 and 80x. At the time, observers were pretty sure that the second number was 807, with 812 painted over the previous number.
The following comes from comments by Nathan Beauheim, posted to Trainorders.com on January 21, 2006:
This tender probably was never behind the 814 (despite its most recent number of UPP 814). One possible reason that this tender was thought to be the 814 is that its badge number is 20-C-214.
Other information to further bust the myth of welding two tanks together. The drawings of the turbine conversion (which were not completely followed) show two different types of baffles. In the original tank portion, the baffles are staggered, alternating between a two-thirds height baffle attached to the bottom and a one-third height baffle attached to the top. This rivet pattern can be seen in photographs showing the old "Union Pacific" lettering. In the fuel bunker portion of the tender, the baffles are all full height. Again, the rivet patterns reflect this. The guys working on the tender report that the drawings are accurate in this regard.
There's not a lot of greyhound paint visible, it's just little spots. It can be confirmed that this tender was in the yellow striped version of greyhound. This appears to be consistent with the assignment information, though it's rather difficult to distinguish striping color in a black & white photo.
John Rimmasch, of Wasatch Railroad Contractors, wrote in an email dated May 24, 2006:
It was very interesting taking the jacketing of the cars off. As you may well know, it has been believed for a long time that the GE number on the tender tanks was the number of the 800 class locomotive that the tender originally ran with.
Interestingly enough, when the tenders were originally built, there was no number 0 or 00 or 000. The first tender was the 01 which was with the 800, thus from the start there is a problem with the way tenders were numbered in regard to the builder number on the tender tank and the locomotive.
When the tenders became turbine tender tanks, they were given turbine numbers. In most cases the tender number was the same as the builder number on the tank. So, for example, the 814, which is what we are working on would have really been the 813....or in other words the 813's tender.
So, when we took the jacket off, we expected to find the 813 number under the 814 jacket. We actually found two numbers......neither what we were looking for. The last actual locomotive that this car ran with was the 812. Before the 812 it appears that the tender was originally with the 809 or the 807.....couldn't really confirm the last number. We do know it was a 80....something.
Interestingly enough, we found gray paint and YELLOW, not silver stripes under the jacket as well. Though we found no yellow tender numbers, we found yellow and gray two tone scheme paint.
Jim Ehrenberger has studied the car in depth with me. Jim brought a book of tender records. The book [Union Pacific's equipment record] logs which tenders went with which engines. We can confirm from the record that the tender we have.....supposedly the 814....was never the 814 and if it is the 812, that the 809 also had the same tender at one time.
As history goes, the 800's where often brought to Cheyenne for class overhaul work. Once the Class One work was finished, the locomotives were then paired with the first Class One, or C-20 tender that was available after repairs were completed in the tender shop. This is how and why tenders were mixed up.
Now, Jim believes that the first greyhound paint job was done in Cheyenne on a Class One FEF. He also believes that this was the 812. However, records show it as painted two-tone gray with silver-gray stripes, not yellow stripes. However, Jim recalls that the first two-tone locomotive with yellow stripes was done in Cheyenne, not Omaha and that it is possible that the first FEF-1 two-tone was the 812 and that it was yellow stripes, not silver-gray.
There is much of the history that we will never know. One thing is for sure, the 814 water car, ran last with the 812 FEF 1 locomotive and that the 809 once had the same tender, both of which ran in a black paint job at one time.
The lack of yellow numbers was strange, however, we only found small spots of gray. In fact, had we not had been looking for it, we may not have seen it at all. The original sphere end of the car was very rusted and we were lucky to find what we did!
Water Car -- 2 cars
UPP 800 Series
From GTE Tender
|UPP 809||Jim Adams||UP 907856||1 Aug 2003||Aug 2008||1|
|UPP 814||Joe Jordan||UP 907857||30 Jul 2003||Jul 2006||2|
|Length, Over Coupler Pulling Faces: 46'-5"|
|Truck Centers: 23'-5"|
|Truck Style: 6 wheel (10'-0" wheelbase)|
|a.||Both cars first came to Heritage Fleet water car service in 1989 as retired GTEL-8500 insulated, smooth-sided tenders, class 24-C-GTE. After being retired in 1970 and separated from their GTE locomotives, both cars were moved to Los Angeles and used as temporary storage tanks, at which time they received their 907000 series numbers.|
|b.||Both cars converted from GTE fuel tender configuration, to a restored steam tender configuration for dedicated Heritage Fleet water service; UPP 809 completed in August 2008; UPP 814 completed in July 2006..|
|c.||Renumber dates for 900000 series number to UPP number as shown in UP computer; UPP 809 renumbered in early May 2003 but held out of service until early August 2003.|
|d.||Below is the information for each tender's history:|
|UPP 809||24-GTE-16||20-C-101||UP 816||Jan 1957||Apr 1960||Jul 1960||UP 907856||Apr 1972|
|UPP 814||24-GTE-14||20-C-214||UP 807||Jun 1956||Jan 1957||Apr 1957||UP 907857||Apr 1972|
UPP 809 was built in 1937 as tender 20-C-101, last assigned to UP 4-8-4 816; retired in April 1960 and converted to insulated tender 24-GTE-16 in July 1960; removed from its assigned GTE locomotive ca. 1968-1970; renumbered to UP Water Storage 907856 in April 1972; retired in September 1973; used at Los Angeles for fuel storage (#1), circa 1976 to 1988; moved to Cheyenne in September 1988.
UPP 809 was renumbered from UP 907856 in early May 2003, while the car was still out of service, based on a photo dated May 13, 2003; official renumber date is August 1, 2003, when the car went into service.
Conversion work on UPP 809, including removal of exterior insulation, began in late 2006, and was completed in late August 2008, in time to accompany UP 3985 on its trip to the upper Midwest in mid September 2008. Upon completion, in addition to receiving its yellow and gray paint scheme, UPP 809 received a U. S. flag. Work was performed by Wasatch Railroad Contractors.
UPP 809 was named "Jim Adams" in August 2008 (October 2008 photo at RRPictureArchives.net).
UPP 814 was built in 1937 as tender 20-C-214, last assigned to UP 4-8-4 807; retired in January 1957 and converted to insulated tender 24-GTE-14 in April 1957; removed from its assigned GTE locomotive ca. 1968-1970; renumbered to UP Water Storage 907857 in April 1972; used at Los Angeles for fuel storage (#2), circa 1976 to 1988; retired in March 1981; reinstated in March 1983; moved to Cheyenne in September 1988 (August 1996 photo at RRPictureArchives.net).
UPP 814 was renumbered from UP 907857 on July 30, 2003.
Conversion work on UPP 814, including removal of exterior insulation, began in December 2005, and was completed in July 2006 with the car being fully painted in UP's standard yellow and gray scheme and named for Joe Jordan, a much respected member of UP's "Steam Team". He was the team's pipefitter, until his retirement from the steam shop in 1993. Work was performed by Wasatch Railroad Contractors.
UPP 814 was named "Joe Jordan" in July 2006 (October 2008 photo at RRPictureArchives.net).
UP 903026, 907853, 907856, 907857
Water Car -- 4 cars
|Years In Service,
|UP 903026||24-GTE-6||Jul 1973||1990-(??)||1|
|UP 907853||24-GTE-13||Apr 1972||1973-1984||2|
|UP 907856||24-GTE-16||Apr 1972||UPP 809||1988-2003||3|
|UP 907857||24-GTE-14||Apr 1972||UPP 814||1988-2003||4|
Water cars not used in special steam service, 1981-1988.
|Length, Over Coupler Pulling Faces: 46'-5"|
|Truck Centers: 23'-5"|
|Truck Style: 6 wheel (10'-0" wheelbase)|
|a.||24,000 gallons capacity|
|b.||Converted from retired GTEL-8500 insulated, smooth-sided tender, class 24-C-GTE|
|c.||Examination of painted-over lettering on UP 907853 found that it had been assigned to both GTE 11 and 23 at various times in its career (UP 11 was retired in June 1969, and UP 23 was retired in February 1970).|
|d.||UP 907856 and 907857 were moved from stationary fuel storage cars at Los Angeles to Cheyenne in 1989.|
|e.||Photo research suggests that UP may not have used any of these tenders for special steam trips between 1981 and 1988.|
|f.||UP Equipment Record: r3-778 (907850 series); r3-780 (907850 series); r3-1336 (24-GTE series); r3-1583 (20-C series); r3-1585 (20-C series)|
|1.||UP 903026 was built in August 1937 as tender 20-C-207, last assigned to UP 4-8-4 805; retired in March 1958 and converted to insulated tender 24-GTE-6, assigned to UP's three-unit gas turbine locomotives; retired in July 1973 and renumbered to UP 903026 and used for fuel storage; moved to Cheyenne for fuel storage in 1990 (further disposition unknown).|
|2.||UP 907853 was built in August 1937 as tender 20-C-213, last assigned to UP 4-8-4 804; retired in April 1958 and converted to insulated tender 24-GTE-13, assigned to UP's three-unit gas turbine locomotives, last assigned to GTE no. 23 (retired in February 1970); tender retired in April 1972; converted to water car, painted black, and assigned to steam service in December 1972; used with Expo 74 train to Spokane in July 1974; traveled with SP 4449 from Birmingham, Alabama, back to Portland, Oregon in April 1977; retired in March 1984 and donated to Kansas Railroad Museum, displayed with GTE 18/18B; to Illinois Railroad Museum in (?) (still in black paint) (original conversion date from Railroad magazine, December 1972, page 33)|
|3.||UP 907856 was built in September 1937 as tender 20-C-101, last assigned to UP 4-8-4 816; retired in July 1960 and converted to insulated tender 24-GTE-16, assigned to UP's three-unit gas turbine locomotives; retired in April 1972 and renumbered to UP 907856; used at Los Angeles for fuel storage (#1), circa 1976 to 1988; moved to Cheyenne in September 1988; renumbered to UPP 809 in early May 2003; official renumber date is August 1, 2003|
|4.||UP 907857 was built in September 1937 as tender 20-C-214, last assigned to UP 4-8-4 807; retired in April 1957 and converted to insulated tender 24-GTE-14, tender assigned to UP's three-unit gas turbine locomotives; retired in April 1972 and renumbered to UP 907857; used at Los Angeles for fuel storage (#2), circa 1976 to 1988; moved to Cheyenne in September 1988; accompanied UP 8444 to Los Angeles in April 1989; renumbered to UPP 814 on July 30, 2003|
The following comes from Steve Lee, manager of UP's steam program, via an email dated December 31, 2004:
UP 907853 was the tender they used in the 1970's, and loaned to the American Freedom Train for a few trips. Later, in about 1981 or 1982, it was donated to the now-defunct museum in Kansas City to go with Turbine 18-18B. All three of these were sold to the Illinois Railway Museum later after the Kansas City group failed. The tender is in Union, Illinois, with the 18-18B, still painted black.
The 907856 and 907857 were two of six tenders discovered in Los Angeles in 1988. All were coupled together on piece of track not connected to anything at either end. They were all piped together and were used as a large diesel fuel storage tank. Three of the tenders were ex-FEF-1 tanks (which were NOT built by splicing two tanks together) and the other three were ex-CSA (3800-series 4-6-6-4) tanks, which were also NOT built by splicing two together.
We moved the three ex-FEF tanks to Cheyenne, and the three ex-CSA tanks to Ogden. One of those ex-CSA tanks is now displayed with their turbine. These ex-CSA tenders were not insulated and jacketed when converted, and you can easily see where the coal space was modified into more oil space. The other two of those ex-CSA tanks are at Ogden, awaiting movement here.
When we restored our two current water cars, we kept the 907-series numbers. Two or three years ago, we changed them to UPP numbers, and for the 800-series number, we simply used the number on the "class" plates, which were still on the frames. Again, we wanted to get away from the 900000-series numbers, as those are targets for retirement and sale. That is also why the flatcar was renumbered from UP 903008 to UPP 3008. We will eventually renumber or reinitial the two rotaries, for the same reason.
The third ex-FEF tender was scrapped at Cheyenne a couple of years ago.
Incidentally, the ex-FEF tenders were classed 24-GTE-xx when converted, and they have those plates on them, too. For years, the capacity of these things was given as 24,400 gallons. We filled one through a meter a few years back and they actually hold a little over 27,000 gallons of water.
We have a refurbishing plan to get rid of the jackets and insulation, the interior steam heat coils, and the "barrels" that housed the Calrods, and other unneccesary piping and components. That should give us close to another 1,000 gallons on each car without changing the loaded weight, which is 401,000.