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UP's Heritage Fleet Auxiliary Water Cars

Index For This Page

This page was last updated on February 11, 2014.

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Overview

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:

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, as of August 2008, 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.

Water Car — 2 cars
UP, 1960

Car
Number
Name Previous
Number
Date To
UPP 800 Series
Date Converted
From GTE Tender
Notes
UPP 809 Jim Adams UP 907856 1 Aug 2003
(May 2003)
Aug 2008 1, 2, 3
UPP 814 Joe Jordan UP 907857 30 Jul 2003 Jul 2006 4, 5, 6

Description:

Length, Over Buffers:
Length, Over Coupler Pulling Faces: 46'-5"
Length, Over End Sills:
Length, Inside:
Truck Centers: 23'-5"
Truck Style: 6 wheel (10'-0" wheelbase)

General Notes:

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
Number
GTE Tender
Number
Steam Tender
Number
Last Steam
Assignment
Locomotive
Retired
Tender
Retired
Date To
24-GTE Series
Roadway
Number
Date To
Roadway Number
  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

Notes:

1. 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; moved to Cheyenne in 1989; official renumber date is August 1, 2003 (photos from early May 2003 show the car already renumbered); rebuilt in August 2008 to remove insulation, in service as UPP 809. (2008 photo)
2. UPP 809, named "Jim Adams" in August 2008, was renumbered from UP 907856 in early May 2003 (photo on May 13, 2003); official renumber date is August 1, 2003.
3. For UPP 809, conversion work 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.
4. 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; retired in March 1981; reinstated in March 1983; moved to Cheyenne in 1989 (1996 photo); renumbered to UPP 814 on July 30, 2003; rebuilt in July 2006 to remove insulation, in service as UPP 814. (2008 photo)
5. UPP 814, named "Joe Jordan" in July 2006, was renumbered from UP 907857 on July 30, 2003.
6. For UPP 814, conversion work began in December 2005 to convert the GTE fuel configuration to a restored steam tender configuration for dedicated water service. Work 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.
 

UP 903026, 907853, 907856, 907857

Water Car — 4 cars
UP, 1960

Car
Number
Previous
Number
Date To
907850 Series
Later
Number
Years In Service,
Heritage Fleet
Notes
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.

Description:

Length, Over Buffers:
Length, Over Coupler Pulling Faces: 46'-5"
Length, Over End Sills:
Length, Inside:
Truck Centers: 23'-5"
Truck Style: 6 wheel (10'-0" wheelbase)

General Notes:

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)

Notes:

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; retired in April 1972; assigned to steam service and painted black in late 1973; 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)
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; moved to Cheyenne in 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; moved to Cheyenne in 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.

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