Denver & Rio Grande Western Railway, Its Antecedents

Bingham Canyon and Camp Floyd Railroad (1872-1881)
Wasatch and Jordan Valley Railroad (1872-1881)
Utah and Pleasant Valley Ry (1875-1882)

By George E. Pitchard

This page was last updated on August 27, 2004.

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Locomotives of the three roads purchased by the D&RGW Ry in 1881 and 1882, discussed by railroad, in order according to date of incorporation.

The BINGHAM CANYON & CAMP FLOYD RAILROAD, incorporated September 10, 1872, held a ground-breaking ceremony on October 24, 1872, which date was also Superintendent (and owner) Hugh White's 27th birthday. Within a month, about six miles had been graded, and ties began to appear. Apparently, the entire line of some 16 miles length had been graded, ties placed, and the Jordan River bridge built, but no iron laid, when the 'railroad' was sold by White and his associates in June of 1873 to Charles W. Scofield, Wm. B. Welles, B. W. Morgan, and others, who retained White (as an employee) to complete the railroad. The first lot of rail seems to have arrived by late August, 1873, and although the line was not quite completed, scheduled trains began running on Thursday, October 16, 1873. The line was completed, as far as ever it would be as a steam railroad, to a point near the Winnamuck smelter, just short of Bingham town, on November 22, 1873, giving the railroad 16 miles of line from Sandy station, on the Utah Southern Railroad about 12 miles south of Salt Lake City, west to Bingham station, just below Bingham town proper. It appears that the track from Sandy station to the Jordan River bridge was three-rail, for the convenience of the Utah Southern Railroad in reaching smelters in that vicinity; the length of this three-rail track appears to have been about a half-mile or so.

The first locomotive acquired by this railroad, an 0-6-0 with tender, from the works of Porter, Bell & Co., Pittsburgh, Penna., appears to have been received sometime between August 27th and September 13th, 1873; over the next six months or so, two more quite similar locomotives were received, from the same source, with a fourth and final such engine arriving sometime in early 1875, probably around March. These four locomotives, all 0-6-0 engines with tenders, from Porter, Bell & Co., constitute the entire locomotive roster of the Bingham Canyon & Camp Floyd Railroad., all four of which became D&RGW Ry. engines when that company officially took over the BC&CF RR on September 1, 1881.

Bingham Canyon and Camp Floyd Railroad
Number Name c/n Year Date Shipped Driver Diameter
1 Bingham 152 1873 8/-/1873 33-inches
2 Winamuck 188 1873 12/-/1873 36-inches
3 Galena 189 1873 3/16/1874 36-inches
4 (none) 207 1874 -/-/1875 33-inches

All locomotives were 0-6-0, with 8-wheel (two-truck) tenders, built by Porter, Bell & Co., Pittsburgh, Penna., having 12x16" cylinders and a nominal engine weight of 36,000 lbs. in working order. Specifications given here are from Porter Specification Book "B" and the 1878 3rd Edition of Porter, Bell & Co.'s "Light Locomotives" catalogue.


No. 1, "Bingham" - built as 0-6-0T for Colorado Central Railroad No. 7, diverted and rebuilt by Porter in 8/1873 to BC&CF No. 1, "Bingham," as an 0-6-0 with tender of the usual two-truck variety.

Per item in the Salt Lake Herald of June 16, 1874, name of this engine may have been changed (subsequent to delivery) to "Argenta," since the names as shown on numbers 2 and 3 occur in records before and after June 16, 1874 - and No. 4 will not appear before early 1875. The rationale for the change may have been to 'unify' the naming of the locomotives for prominent on-line mining/smeltering operations, of which "Argenta," "Winamuck," and "Galena" were among the most prominent.

No. 2, "Winamuck" - ordered 10/17/1873 and received in mid-January of 1874; to have "8-wheel Tender, duplicate of No. 152." Lettering on tender tank was to have been "B. C. & C. F. R. R." per spec book, which also shows the '& C. F.' struck out.

No. 3, "Galena" - per spec book, "This loco originally built for Col(orado) Cent(ral) RR with Saddle Tank & no tender - and altered for B.C.R.R. ..." "Sold Feb'y 3/74 to Bingham Canyon RR. Furnished with W. Air Brake." "Shipped March 16th 1874."

No. 4, (no known name) - the spec book does not show order or ship dates for this locomotive, but the dates on the several engines before and after c/n 207 indicate that this engine was 'ordered' (for stock, apparently) in August of 1874, later being sold to the B.C.RR. as that road's No. 4, which appears to have been received on the B.C.RR, sometime around March of 1875.

The WASATCH & JORDAN VALLEY RAILROAD, incorporated October 24, 1872, held a ground-breaking ceremony on November 4, 1872, at the eastern end of about 32 miles of grade, done 'last summer' by the Utah Southern Railroad, which ran east from Sandy station, on the Utah Southern about 12 miles south of Salt Lake City, towards the mouth of Little cottonwood canyon. Both the U.S.RR. and the W. & J.V. RR. were 'Mormon' enterprises, with a number of officials in common, so it is not surprising to see the apparent handing-over to the W&JV RR of the Utah Southern's unused branch-line grade.

By mid-December of 1872, rail was arriving and grading nearly completed to the Davenport smelter, near the mouth of Little Cottonwood canyon. Tracklaying apparently began early in January of 1873, but only three miles of track had been laid by February 21, 1873. The first locomotive arrived in Salt Lake City on February 28th, and was in operation by March 4th, 1873. The railroad reached the temple rock quarries (which were the prime motivation for the Utah Southern's partially-graded branch, and for the building of this railroad) in early April, with the first shipment of temple rock occurring on Apil 4th. Trains began running on regular schedule to the town of Granite on April 28, 1873, the line to which place had grades of up to 225 feet per mile, or slightly in excess of 4 percent. The one-way passenger fare over this 72 miles or so of line was 75 cents, and ore was hauled at $1.00 per ton.

By the end of July, grading appears to have been completed to Fairfield Flat, 11 miles east of Sandy station, with the rail-laying to that point being completed in mid-September, the line being opened for regular business to Fairfield Flat on Monday, September 22, 1873; this point ended up being as far as W.& J.V. steam operation would ever go. Grades on the line between Granite and Fairfield Flat reached 287 feet per mile, or about 5-1/2 percent.

It was specifically for these extreme grades that the W.& J.V. had their second engine built as a patented 'grade-climbing' locomotive, for overcoming such steep grades. A fair amount of comment on this type of locomotive is found in the papers before the arrival of the locomotive in October of 1873 - but nothing is found in the papers concerning its success (or not), and the loco is sooner or later (probably sooner) rebuilt to a more conventional sort of engine.

The railroad was not a stunning financial success, and in June of 1875 it was sold to Charles W. Scofield and associates, they who already owned the Bingham Canyon Railroad. Almost immediately, it seems, Scofield set crews to work grading a line between Fairfield Flat and Alta, and by September 12, 1875, had completed (and opened on that date) a horse- or mule-powered tramway of some seven miles or so in length, the animals pulling the tram-cars up, and gravity pulling the cars back down. The winter of 1875-76 showed the wisdom of covering the whole length of the tramway with a snowshed, which was done in the summer of 1876; in areas where the railroad cut several feet into the hillside, a rock wall was built and used as a part of the snowshed structure, and in several areas these rock walls are still to be seen along the present highway to Alta.

Additionally, the W.& J.V. seems to have had a branch, of two or four miles in length (accounts vary), running south from a point near Granite to a place called "Cottonwood." This branch appears to be gone not later than 1885.

With the acquisition of this road by the D&RGW Ry at the end of 1881, the Western got two of the W&JV's three engines, the third one having been previously transferred to the Utah & Pleasant Valley Ry., possibly in August of 1881.

Wasatch and Jordan Valley Railroad
Number: Name: When Built: Type: Cyldrs: Drvrs: Eng Wt:
1 Chamois Jan'y 1873 2-6-0 11x16" 36" 17 tons
2 Deseret ca. 8/1873 ? 12x16" 32" ?
3 ? /1874? 2-6-0 11x16" 36" 17 tons

All locomotives built by the National Locomotive Works, a.k.a. Dawson & Baily, of Connellsville, Penna.; there are no known construction numbers assignable to these engines.


No. 1, "Chamois" - received in Salt Lake City on Friday, February 28, 1873, "having been four weeks on the journey," in charge of J. A. Lantz, Superintendent of the National Locomotive Works (see Salt Lake Herald, 3/1/1873). Cost of this loco appears to have been $9,045.00, freight and so forth extra. Tender 'as built' held 600 gallons of water, and was of a six-wheel pattern, with a single axle at front and an ordinary four-wheel truck at rear. First operation of this locomotive on the W&JV was on March 3rd or 4th, 1873, under the direction of J. A. Lantz.

At some as-yet-unknown date, but probably prior to D&RGW Ry. takeover, this engine was 'detrucked' and changed from a 2-6-0 to an 0-6-0.

No. 2, "Deseret" - the reason for the '?' under 'type' of locomotive, above, is that this engine was the 'grade-climber,' and it is not yet certain what the 'as-built' wheel arrangement was on this beastie.

An early notice of this engine's eccentricity appears in an item in the Salt Lake Herald of July 19, 1873, which rotes that "...two new locomotives are also on the way, one of which has French's patent attachment for climbing. This invention has been tested at Connellsville, where the locomotive was built, and advices from there received here are to the effect that it is a great success." Then, in the Deseret Evening News of September 17, 1873, it is noted that "...the Company have purchased, or ordered, a locomotive of the patent improved climbing variety, manufactured by French, of Virginia, which, it is said, is capable of making ascents of four hundred feet gradient to the mile, the climbing apparatus acting as a brake on the down grade." The Salt Lake Tribune adds its bit, in its paper of September 23, 1873, printing a letter from one "Mathiot," of Alta, dated September 20th, 1873, in which he says "A mountain engine of an entirely new description is being constructed in Connellsville, Pa., with supplementary driving wheels, which can be made to grip the rails and walk up a grade of 1,000 feet to the mile. It will be tried for the first time on this road, and the result will be looked for with interest by other narrow-gauge railroad companies who propose constructing lines through the mountains."

The engine in question was, in fact, en route to Utah at the time the above was written, as a Pennsylvania paper, the Uniontown Standard, of September 11, 1873, notes that on the 6th of September the National Locomotive Works "shipped six-wheeler 'Deseret' to Salt Lake City, Utah. Col. McAleer and E. T. Duckworth accompany her to test the feasibility of overcoming heavy grades with light machinery, by French's Patent." The item goes on to say that the loco is "...intended to run on grades of 500 feet to the mile; to accomplish this the hind drivers have a grooved tire that is applied to the rail by a small steam cylinder attached to the engine similar to an air brake and can be applied to give any amount of adhesion."

The 'Col. McAleer' mentioned was L. F. McAleer, recently made Superintendent of the National Locomotive Works; and E. T. Duckworth a traveling engineer, in charge of set-up, initial operation and so forth, of new locomotives.

Curiously, there seems to be no notice in the local papers of this odd locomotive's arrival or initial performance. The only clue so far found as to this engine's arrival in Salt Lake City is in the Salt Lake Tribune's "Hotel Arrivals" column in the paper of October 5th, 1873, which notes the arrival, probably on the 4th, of one L. F. McAleer, of Pennsylvania, at the Valley House in Salt Lake City - presumably, the locomotive was to be found not far from its keeper.

That the odd locomotive did not function as intended seems indicated by the apparent complete lack of laudatory (or any other) reports, after trial, in either local or national press; and that it was rebuilt to a somewhat conventional 4-4-0 type of locomotive, date of which rebuilding is not known, but logically it would have been not long after its apparent failure as a 'grade-climber.'

No. 3, (name unknown) - date of arrival uncertain; after No. 2, obviously, and known to be on hand in March of 1874 - and some indication of its having been a recent arrival at that time (3/74). There being two identical Dawson & Baily engines shown in the 10/1883 D&RG "Equipment Catalogue," it is assumed that W&JV No. 3 was essentially a duplicate of W&JV No. 1, with a similar tender as well; and which was likewise rebuilt to an 0-6-0 at an as-yet-unknown date, but quite probably at about the same time as the No. 1.

The 1883-84 "Engines in Utah Service" list shows the W&JV with an 0-6-0 numbered "1" and a 4-4-0 numbered "2," with an 0-6-0 of Dawson & Baily build as Utah & Pleasant Valley No. 1; on that basis, it is assumed that W&JV No. 3 was transferred to the Utah & Pleasant Valley Ry. at some point prior to the D&RGW Ry takeover (possibly about 8/1/1881, per Salt Lake Herald, 8/3/1881), almost certainly as U&PV second No. 1 - see U&PV section, hereafter.

The UTAH & PLEASANT VALLEY RAILWAY, incorporated December 11, 1875, does not seem to have done much work until some grading was done in 1877; apparently no track was laid prior to the acquisition of the U&PV company by Charles W. Scofield (who already owned the Bingham Canyon and the Wasatch & Jordan Valley roads) in 1878. He had, in effect, financed what little construction work had been done (prior to his acquisition of the company) by having bought most of the U&PV's issued first mortgage bonds. Scofield obtained stock control in 1878, and appears to have begun laying track about 29 August 1878, about 11 miles being completed by mid-September, at which time 'an engine' was put on the line. This engine, the first one put on the U&PV, is believed to have been the former American Fork Railroad second No. 1, an 0-6-0 with a 4-wheel tender acquired by the American Fork Railroad in early 1874 from Porter, Bell & Co. Scofield had, in 1878, also purchased the American Fork Railroad, in its entirety, from its owners, the New York firm of Howland & Aspinwall, for same $50,000 (which transaction became the subject of a suit for non-payment when Scofield failed to pay the last $10,000 or so, plus interest, whereupon H.& A. sued for $11,050). It is believed that all of this former A.F.RR. material (rails, rolling stock, locomotive, etc.) went to Scofield's then-abuilding Utah & Pleasant Valley railroad project; the rail, when taken up from the A.F.RR., was stockpiled for awhile in American Fork town (see Salt Lake Tribune, 6/23/1878), and when tracklaying began (finally) on the U&PV, the Tribune noted August 29, 1878, that "...the rails are being sent down from American Fork,..." Expectedly, little work was done on grading or track-laying during the winter of 1878-79, but by early November of 1879 the main-line, from Springville, about five miles south of Provo, on the Utah Southern Railroad, into the Pleasant Valley coal fields, was completed. In 1880, an extension of the main-line from Springville north to Provo was completed, the first coal train into Provo being on Thursday, October 21, 1880. This was essentially the state of the railroad when officially acquired by the D&RGW Ry on June 14, 1882.

The D&RGW Ry acquired three locomotives with the Utah & Pleasant Valley Ry.; No. 1, a Dawson &-Baily 0-6-0, formerly W&JV; No. 2, a Porter, Bell & Co. 0-6-0, formerly American Fork Railroad; and No. 3, a Baldwin 2-6-0 similar to D&RG's Class 40 moguls. This No. 1, however, has to be a second No. 1, as the W&JV engine could not have been transferred to the U&PV prior to May 31, 1880, the date of the report to the U.S. Census Bureau by the W&JV, at which date the W&JV reports itself as having three locomotives; at March 31, 1880, the U&PV had reported themselves as having three locomotives, not long after the arrival of the Baldwin Mogul known to have been numbered 3, so one supposes the existence of a 1 and a 2; sundry newspaper items show that the U&PV had at least two engines prior to the arrival of the Mogul No. 3 in January of 1880. Identity of the first No. 1 is unknown; but that it was not another Porter, Bell & Co. 0-6-0 with 12x16" cylinders, as was U&PV No. 2, becomes apparent upon examining the histories of all Porter, Bell & Co. 12x16" 0-6-0,engines, and finding that there are none available in the necessary time period - and also finding, in the process, that U&PV No. 2 can only be the former American Fork engine (this examination is possible, since Porter spec books A and B (and others) are now copied and in circulation). What happened to the first No. 1 is also not apparently a matter of record, but it may be the 'locomotive boiler' in pump service at Cisco in 1883; it is the only one of the several boilers in such service so described, and as no known D&RG/D&RGW loco is scrapped so early, perhaps possibly this boiler is the remnant of the U&PV's first No. 1.

The other apparent anomaly is the numbering of what is thought to be the first engine on the U&PV, which being the former American Fork Railroad engine, which appears in the "Engines in Utah Service" to be U&PV No. 2. Why, if this engine was the first on the U&PV, and already numbered '1' all over, courtesy of the A.F.RR., was it numbered to U&PV No. 2? One possibility would be that the first number '1' on the U&PV was lighter and smaller than the former A.F.RR. engine - one newspaper item, in Provo 'Territorial Enquirer" of 1/7/1880, indicates that this earlier No. 1 may have been as much as nine tons lighter than the Baldwin mogul, No. 3, which was but 20 tons itself, so the first No. 1 may have been as light as a mere 11 tons - light, indeed, on a railroad such as this one, with long stretches of 4 percent grades, and a good deal of snow trouble, and trying desperately to haul a commercially-viable tonnage of coal literally from one end of the line to the other.

In any event - the second No. 1, the former Wasatch & Jordan Valley engine, is believed to have been W&JV No. 3, as what sense would it make for the W&JV to send off their No. 1, and then renumber their No. 3 to No. 1, when the U&PV will have to (or ought to) repaint the recent arrival anyhow? Such is the idea, for what it's worth.

The No. 2, as noted in passing, above, would seem could not be anything but the former American Fork Railroad's second No. 1, a Porter, Bell & Co. engine built in 1873 as an 0-6-0T for the Colorado Central Railroad, No. 6, identical with CCRR numbers 4 and 5. The American Fork Railroad ordered an engine on March 20, 1874, whereupon Porter took CCRR No. 6, c/n 151, built but not delivered, rebuilt it as an 0-6-0, added a small 4-wheel tender, did a nice paint job, and shipped it on April 30, 1874, to the American Fork Railroad. The engine appears to have been received by the AFRR in mid-May of 1874, and put into service without much delay. At least three Charles W. Carter stereographs, believed to have been taken in the summer of 1874, are known to exist showing this engine in service on the A.F.RR., amongst many views of scenery in the canyon he took on the same trip; the original glass-plate negatives for most of the views are in the Mormon Church's Historical Department collections - or were, some years ago.

The No. 3, a Baldwin Mogul, had been built in 1877 for a Texas road, the Galveston, Brazos & Colorado Ry., not numbered, but named "Lota," and delivered to that road the same year. However, it was "taken back" by Baldwin, and resold to the Utah & Pleasant Valley Ry. on December 4th or 5th, 1879, for $5,350.00, a considerable bargain for such an engine at that time. Some changes were made by Baldwin to the engine, including providing a snow plow that was likely unnecessary in Texas, and repainted the thing in Olive Green and gold as "U. & P. V. R. R." number "3". Baldwin had assigned class number 8/18D-20 to this engine when it was built in February of 1877. Date of Charge to the U&PV was December 20, 1879, also commonly the date shipped, or within same by a day or so; it was received in Springville in mid-January of 1880.

Another entertaining curiosity is that at about the time the Baldwin Mogul No. 3 arrived in Utah, the U&PV ordered from Baldwin a class 10/24E 2-8-0 locomotive, virtually identical to the D&RG Class 56 2-8-0 engines then being delivered to that road, to be numbered U. & P. V. No. 4. However, the U&PV seems to have put off taking delivery of this engine a couple of times, and finally the order was "countermanded" on June 23, 1880. It had had Baldwin class number 10/24E-89 assigned at order, then 10/24E-90 was assigned, and finally 10/24E-88 before being cancelled. Like the No. 3, the putative No. 4 was to have been painted Olive Green and gold, as "U. & P. V. R." number "4". It's just barely possible that one of the 'assigned' engines may actually have been completed and painted as U&PV No. 4 before being diverted elsewhere by Baldwin.

Utah and Pleasant Valley Railway
Number: Type: Builder: c/n & Date: Cyldrs: Drvrs: Eng Wt: Remarks:
1st 1 ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
2nd 1 0-6-0 National ?, /74? 11x16" 36" '17-ton' x-W&JV, probably No. 3
2 0-6-0 P.,B.&Co, 151, /73 12x16" 33" 36,000 lbs. x-AFRR 2nd No. 1
3 2-6-0 Baldwin 4048, 2/14/77 12x16" 36" 39,000 lbs. x-GB&C, "Lota"
4 2-8-0 Baldwin -, -/-/80 15x18" 36" 56,000 lbs. not delivered