(This page printed from UtahRails.net, Copyright 2000-2017 Don Strack)

American Fork Railroad Locomotives

Index For This Page

This page was last updated on June 9, 2013.

(Return to American Fork Railroad Page)

(Based on the research of George Pitchard)


In its six years of life, the American Fork Railroad had two locomotives, both of which were numbered "1"; fortunately, they were both not in use at the same time.

Roster Listing

Road Number Builder Type C/N Date Cylinders Drivers Weight Note
AFRR no. 1 (1st) Mason 0-4-4T 461 1 Jul 1872 10x15" 33" 29,900 lbs 1
AFRR no. 1 (2nd) Porter 0-6-0 151 30 Apr 1874 12x16" 33" 20 tons 2

Roster Notes:

1. No. 1 (1st) was sold to Eureka & Palisade RR in about December 1873; sold to Nevada Central RR in October 1879; to Utah & Northern in about December 1882; scrapped in about May 1886.
2. No. 1 (2nd) was sold to Utah & Pleasant Valley at the end of 1878, along with the rest of the railroad's equipment and rail.


The Mason Locomotive

The first locomotive for the American Fork was an 0-4-4T locomotive, built by the Mason Machine Works in 1871-1872, as the first locomotive Mason built upon the single-boiler Fairlie pattern, which would become so famous in the larger engines of the same type built for the Denver, South Park & Pacific. This one, which became American Fork's first no. 1, was built as a "demonstrator," and not to any particular railroad's order. It was named the "Onward," and a side view engraving and description of this new type of engine appeared in the 'Railroad Gazette' of November 25, 1871.

When Major Wilkes went shopping for equipment, somehow he came across this odd engine, and bought it for the American Fork Railroad, ordering a second one at the same time. The order is in the Mason records, and is signed by Edmund Wilkes for the American Fork RR. The Mason works refurbished the engine, repainting it to American Fork No. 1, and now named "American Fork", assigned construction number 461 to the engine, and shipped it west on July, 1, 1872. It arrived in Salt Lake City on the morning of July 17, 1872, the first narrow gauge locomotive seen in Salt Lake City, and the second in Utah. The Mason record for this locomotive says that it was three foot gauge. Other specifications given for 'Locomotive No. 461' were: cylinders, 10" x 15"; drivers, four, 33" diameter; the wheelbase of the engine unit, 5'0"; wheelbase of the entire engine, 20'0"; tank truck wheels, 30" diameter; and the tank was 9'6" long, 2'8" high, and 5'6" wide.

The engine stayed some days in Salt Lake City, and then was taken down the Utah Southern as far as that road was completed, which was Point of the Mountain, and from there the Mason engine was moved to American Fork on a narrow gauge track, laid down for a ways, the engine moved to the end of it, then the track behind the engine was taken up and laid down again in front of the engine, which was then moved to the end, and so forth and on, until American Fork was reached. It took a good two weeks, and apparently reached American Fork city on August 20th. On that day, the engine was moved onto the permanent track, and steamed up for the first time. There was about eight miles of track completed at that date.

While initial reports of its performance were quite favorable, it soon proved to be less than hoped for. The little Mason 'Fairlie' was simply too light for the job to be done. In April of 1873, the engine is put up for sale, but there were no buyers, it being noted as on the property but not in use in September.

The American Fork Mason engine went to Eureka & Palisade Railroad in December 1873 or January 1874, as E&P No. 1, originally named "Eureka". The engine's name was apparently changed to "Onward" upon arrival of new Baldwin 4-4-0 "Eureka" in 1875.

In October 1879, Eureka  & Palisade sold the Mason engine to Nevada Central Railroad, as that road's No. 2, "Austin", and renumbered to No. 3 in mid-1881, when new Baldwin No. 2 arrived on Nevada Central, at about the same time as the Union Pacific obtained control of the Nevada Central. One consequence of UP's control of Nevada Central was the transfer of Nevada Central No. 3 to the Utah & Northern in December 1882 or January 1883, "to be used temporarily" on the U&N as a switcher. It turned out to be a permanent transfer.

In December 1882 it appears on the Utah & Northern as No. 45. In the 1885 renumbering of the Union Pacific system, it became No. 296, was dropped from equipment in May 1886, and scrapped.

The Porter Locomotive

The Porter, Bell & Co. engine on the American Fork Railroad is now positively identified, by way of the builder's specification books, as Porter, Bell & Co. construction number 151, built for the Colorado Central Railroad in 1873 as one of four identical 0-6-0T locomotives. Only two, construction numbers 149 and 150, were actually delivered to Colorado Central in 1873, as their numbers 4 and 5. A third locomotive of the four was rebuilt from its original 0-6-0T configuration to an 0-6-0, with 4-wheel tender, configuration for the American Fork in 1874.

There are several photographs which show this engine in service. In Fleming's "Narrow Gauge Railways in America," second edition, 1876, page 58, is the information that the American Fork's engine was built by Porter, Bell & Co., has 12" x 16" cylinders, six drivers, and weighs 17 tons. The photos also confirms it to be an 0-6-0.

Ordered by American Fork Railroad on March 20, 1874, construction number 151 was rebuilt by Porter and shipped "to Salt Lake" on April 30, 1874. According to page 38 of Specification Book 'B';, the engine then had 12x16 inch cylinders, 33 inch drivers, a 4-wheel tender, Westinghouse air brakes, and was "Guaranteed to pull on 300-ft. grade maximum train load of 50 tons, regular train to be 35 tons". This Porter record also says the railroad was "Gauge, 36 inches." In the 1878 3rd edition of Porter, Bell & Co.'s "Light Locomotives" catalogue, page 59, in a brief report of this engine's performance, is a note that it "Has hauled 47 tons on special trial" on the American Fork Railroad.

This locomotive was used until the end in 1878. Its disposition is not a matter of absolute fact, but given that the rails and cars were sold to C. W. Scofield, and were used on his various roads, it is likely that the engine went that way, too, and became Utah & Pleasant Valley No. 2. Also, the fact that Howland & Aspinwall, late owners of the American Fork Railroad, sued Charles W. Scofield in 1880 to collect $11,050 owed and unpaid by the said Scofield. This suit was brought in a New York court, with the judge finding in favor of Howland & Aspinwall. When Scofield still did not pay, suit was brought in Utah to collect the judgment, but as the original suit was in New York, and not made a part of the Utah action, the Utah court threw it out; details as to what Scofield but didn't pay for are not unknown. It was for railroad material, and the figure seems reasonable for the amount and kind of equipment that was on the American Fork Railroad. Howland & Aspinwall sold the entire American Fork Railroad to Scofield for $50,000.00 in 1878; it was the last five payments that Scofield defaulted on, and Howland & Aspinwall sued for.

As to this engine going to the Utah & Pleasant Valley Railway, U&PV No. 2 is known to be a Porter, Bell & Co. 0-6-0 with 12x16 inch cylinders, and with the information from the Porter specification books now available, each of the 12x16 inch, 0-6-0 engines can be identified, and all but the American Fork engine ruled out as a possibility for U&PV No. 2. In a court in New York, there may exist a detailed inventory of what Howland & Aspinwall sold to Scofield in 1878 (i.e., the entire American Fork Railroad), for which Scofield did not finish paying, and on which Howland & Aspinwall sued on the unpaid $11,050.00 balance, interest included, of the $50,000.00 purchase price. If such a court record exists, and if it is ever dug up, this case may provide the documentation needed to show that the American Fork Porter locomotive became the Utah & Pleasant Valley locomotive.

Other Equipment

The other equipment consisted of 20 flatcars and a small arch-roofed combine passenger car. This passenger car is visible in two photos, and the 20 flat cars are mentioned in the Deseret News of July 17, 1872. A photo of an American Fork train in the canyon, with the Porter on the point and the combine at the rear, while fuzzy, does give some idea of the appearance of the car. The body of the car appears to be about 24 feet in length; in the passenger end there are four apparently evenly-spaced single-pane windows, set below the roof-line. The baggage door appears to be about three feet wide, and the space ahead of it as about wide as the door. There are windows each side of the end doors. The lettering, while not readable in the original, is clearly below the side windows, and not in that huge space above them.

More Information

Utah & Northern no. 45 -- A summary of the American Fork Mason locomotive at the end of its service life in 1882-1887.