Steam Dummies In Utah

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This page was last updated on April 16, 2022.

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A steam "dummy" was a small steam locomotive used by streetcar companies in the days before they were electrified. More properly known as Steam Motors, these small locomotives usually had wheel arrangements of 0-4-2, with their water tanks on the same frame as the locomotive drive wheels. They also had enclosed wooden bodies that made them look like regular streetcars, which explains why they were usually known as "steam dummies."

Great Salt Lake & Hot Springs Railway

"The name selected for Bamberger’s local railroad was “The Great Salt Lake & Hot Springs Railway,” and it had as its first goal a popular resort four miles north of Salt Lake City known as “Beck’s Hot Springs”. As soon as rail was down to the Springs the company announced start of service to that point. Those first little trains would have gladdened the heart of a Brooklynite, for they were almost exact duplicates of those then operating on the elevated railways of that Eastern community. The steam dummy engines, purchased new from Baldwin, were from Brooklyn plans -- while the cars (long, narrow, wood, double-trucked) were purchased second-hand from the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company. The little steam engines, although quite light, made good time and in a short while the Great Salt Lake & Hot Springs Railway was carrying a sizeable number of people to the resort." (Ira Swett, Interurbans of Utah)

"Those steamers were of the familiar dummy type -- a wooden car body completely enclosing the boiler and cab. The dummies were built by Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia, and were similar to those operated by the Brooklyn Elevated Railroad of that era. They were of the 0-4-2 wheel arrangement with water and coal being carried on the locomotive itself. Although small and light, the dummies were efficient and made fairly high speed." (Ira Swett, Interurbans of Utah)

According to the January 1914 Board of Equalization reports, Great Salt Lake & Hot Springs had at least three steam motors, numbered as no. 3, 11, and 21. (More research is needed to identify these locomotives.)

An illustration in the April 17, 1899 issue of the Salt Lake Tribune newspaper shows a small engine named as 'Morning Side' and labeled as "Bamberger's Curiosity." The engine does not have the enclosed body of a traditional steam dummy, although it may have had an enclosed body at one time. The text accompanying the illustration reads, "One of the funniest-looking engines was found on the sidetracks of the Salt Lake & Ogden. This is a dummy, or motor, and is called 'Morning Side.' It is an interesting relic in several ways, having been formerly run on the line from Kansas City to Independence, Mo. President Bamberger bought it when the Great Salt Lake & Hot Springs was first built, but the suburban line on which it first operated is now a part of the Kansas City, Pittsburgh & Gulf. Mr. Bamberger is going to have the dummy painted and put under a shed at Lagoon as a curiosity."

(Read more about the Great Salt Lake & Hot Springs Railway, which later becem the Bamberger Railroad)

Ogden City Railway

Ogden City Railway had five steam motors, purchased between April 1889 and November 1890. All were sold when the company converted to electric operation less than a year after the dummies were delivered.

(Read more about the Ogden City Railway, which later became part of Ogden Rapid Transit Company)

Ogden & Hot Springs Railway

Ogden & Hot Springs was closely affiliated with Ogden City Railway, then with Ogden City Street Railway, which was the electrified version of the earlier steam-powered Ogden City Railway. The Ogden & Hot Springs was a suburban line and remained steam powered until its successor, Ogden & Northwestern, was electrified in 1907.

"ORIGINAL BRIGHAM LINE: At this point it is pertinent to bring in the history of the original line between Ogden and Brigham. On December 9, 1890, the Ogden and Hot Springs Railway and Health Resort Company received a franchise for a railway from the north end of Washington Ave. to North Ogden, thence north and west to Hot Springs. The line was built and operated by steam dummy power. The Ogden and Northwestern Railroad Company was incorporated on October 3, 1903, and purchased the older company. The O&NW was an Eccles company and electrification took place about 1907, when the O&NW extended the line from Hot Springs to Brigham, seven miles. On June 22, 1911, O&NW conveyed the line to ORT, which operated it until absorbed into OL&I." (Ira Swett, Interurbans of Utah)

"PLAIN CITY LINE: This was built as an O&NW branch. The franchise was granted on March 8, 1909 for a line from the north city limits of Ogden through Harrisville, Farr West to Plain City for the “operation of a steam railroad.” $48,000 was spent by the Eccles interests in 1909 in building the line. A 15-ton Baldwin steam dummy was the motive power, and the passengers rode in a 200 Class wood trailer. In 1916 this branch was electrified, and in 1918 it was extended to Warren at a cost of $5,000 per mile." (Ira Swett, Interurbans of Utah)

(Read more about the Ogden & Hot Springs Railway, which later became part of Ogden Rapid Transit Company)

Provo Street Railroad

Provo Street Railroad had two steam motors. A small version, known as "Little Kate," and a larger version.

A photo by George Edward Anderson shows a steam dummy lettered for Provo City Railway, lettered as "Little Kate," and carrying number 1. This particular "Little Kate" was a different engine than the former Ogden Street Ry. steam dummy that was also lettered as "Little Kate" almost 20 years later on the Mount Hood Ry. in Oregon.

(View a George Edward Anderson photo of "Little Kate" in Provo)

(Read more about the two steam dummies on Provo Street Railroad)

Saltair Railway

Although a vote by the Salt Lake City council on May 2, 1890 approved "the use of steam motive poser known as Steam Dummies" on the tracks of the Saltair Railway on the streets of Salt Lake City, there is no known example of the Saltair Railway actually owning one of these unique small steam locomotives. The approval of a franchise to operate over city streets included the approval of the use of steam dummies along Third South, from Sixth West, west to the city limits. The Saltair Railway later became the Salt Lake, Garfield and Western. (Salt Lake Tribune, May 17, 1890)

(Read more about the Saltair Railway)

Roster Listings

Builder C/N Date Gauge Cyl Dr Whl Arr Fuel Builder Class Owner & # Notes
Baldwin 9955 Apr 1889 Std 8"x12" 38" 0-4-2T Co/HC 6-10 1/3C-25 Ogden City Ry #2 1
Baldwin 10442 May 1889 Std 10"x14" 35" 0-4-2T Co/HC 6-14 1/3C-63 Ogden City Ry #10 2
Baldwin 10950 Jun 1890 Std 10"x14" 35" 0-4-2T Co/HC 6-14 1/3C-68 Ogden City Ry #100 3
Baldwin 10951 Jun 1890 Std 10"x14" 35" 0-4-2T Co/HC 6-14 1/3C-69 Ogden City Ry #101 4
Baldwin 11336 Nov 1890 Std 10"x14" 35" 0-4-2T Co 6-14 1/3C-70 Ogden City Ry #6 5
Baldwin 11337 Nov 1890 Std 10"x14" 35" 0-4-2T Co 6-14 1/3C-72 Provo City Ry #8 6
Baldwin 12011 Jul 1891 Std 10"x14" 35" 0-4-2T Co 6-14 1/3C-73 Great Salt Lake & Hot Springs #3 7
Porter 3000 Mar 1904 Std 12"x18"   0-4-4T   4BRSS Ogden & North Western #5 8

General Notes:

  1. Fuel Type: "Co" = Coke; "HC" = Hard Coal
  2. Another Ogden City Ry. #10 was a Shay (Lima #295, July 1890)
  3. On December 23, 1890, the entire road, property and equipment of Ogden City Railway was sold at auction. The amount of the sale was $80,000, which was the same amount needed to requip the road with electric power and cars. The first electric car ran on September 25, 1891, although four new electric cars had been delivered on February 4, 1891.
  4. According to, after Ogden City Railway was bankrupt in late 1890: "All of the dummies found other homes. 10 went to work with the Union Railway company, 100 served the Imperial Manufacturing and Importing Company. The last three went to other street railways: 101 to the Salt Lake & Ogden, the 6 to Provo Street Railway, and the 8 to the Great Salt Lake & Hot Springs." (Read the information at
  5. Basic builder data for steam motors furnished by Robert Lehmuth, email dated March 11, 2016


  1. Ogden City Railway #2; (no later owners shown in Baldwin records)
  2. Ogden City Railway #10; to Union Railway #10 in October 1892; to Union Street & Suburban Railway #10 in December 1894; to Central Railway of Oregon #10 in June 1905; to Mount Hood Railway #10 (Mount Hood, Oregon) in October 1910, lettered as "Little Kate" while on Mount Hood Railway, and was used as a switcher at the saw mills; out of service by August 1919; sold in August 1920. (Mount Hood information from "Switchback To The Timber" page 109)
  3. Ogden City Ry #100; to Imperial Manufacturing and Importing Company
  4. Ogden City Ry #101; to Great Salt Lake & Hot Springs; reorganized in 1896 as Salt Lake & Ogden
  5. Ogden City Ry #6; to Provo Street Railway; sold in January 1895
  6. Provo City Ry #8; sold in January 1895; to Great Salt Lake & Hot Springs; reorganized in 1896 as Salt Lake & Ogden
  7. M. M. Buck & Co, for Great Salt Lake & Hot Springs #3; reorganized in 1896 as Salt Lake & Ogden
  8. Ogden & North Western #5; to Ogden Logan & Idaho (not a steam motor; but instead a larger 0-4-4 tank engine)


Examples of Steam Dummies -- Random photos from online sources, showing what these steam dummies in Utah looked like (used without permission).