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Utah Railway Steam Era (1917-1957)

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This page was last updated on June 6, 2022.

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Overview

At the time Utah Railway operations began in November 1914, with D&RG using its own locomotives and crews, there were seven SURR and CVRR locomotives on the property: Southern Utah 50, 100, 102, 104, and Castle Valley 101, 102, 103.

Southern Utah originally had an additional 2-8-0 with road number 100 which was transferred in February 1916 to another United States Smelting, Refining and Mining Company (Southern Utah's parent company) smelting operation in El Paso, Texas.

Southern Utah also had a two-truck Shay, number 50, and a McKeen gasoline motor car. The carbody of the McKeen car was placed on the ground at Utah Railway's Martin, Utah shops in 1939, and remained there until late 1992 when it was cut in half and moved to private property for use as a storage shed.

The Utah Railway 2-8-0s spent about 84 percent of their time on the mixed passenger train, until March 1926 when all passenger service was abandoned. The 2-10-2s spent about 15 percent of their time on the mixed train.

Utah #4 was identical to Tooele Valley #11 and #12, along with Nevada Northern #97. All four came from the same group of Buffalo & Susquehanna engines. (Read more about the Buffalo & Susquehanna locomotives)

Utah Railway diagram sheet shows a builder date of 1911, by American Locomotive Co.

A photo by G. M. Best in 1933 shows Utah Railway 2-8-0 no. 2 on a mixed train in Provo.

Because 2-8-0 numbers 1 and 2 were the smallest of Utah's locomotives, they were usually assigned to the mixed train. Number 2 did most of the duties in 1922, but during 1923. 1924, and 1925, number 1 shared the assignment about a third of the time. The 2-10-2s began to be assigned to the mixed train in 1924, with number 101 doing the duty most often of the 2-10-2s. In 1925, numbers 100 and 103 worked the mixed train several times. There is no mention of the use of the former Southern Utah McKeen car during 1922 to 1926.

During 1923 Utah Railway leased Oregon Short Line 4-6-0 1556, and it was used occasionally on the mixed train.

First Trips, Utah Railway Steam Locomotives

Robert Crosbie, Roadmaster and Traveling Engineer, wrote the following in Ax-I-Dent-X magazine, January 1930:

I was selected to bring engine No. 103 to Provo from the Oregon Short Line shops at Salt Lake City where it had been placed in running condition upon its arrival from the builders. At Salt Lake City about twenty tons of mine run coal were put into the tender. As the coaling facilities at Provo had not been completed, it was necessary to run to Thistle, about twenty miles easterly beyond Provo, for a supply of slack coal; the engine was equipped with the type "C" Street stoker which would not handle coarser sizes of coal. All the unused mine run coal which was in the tender had to be shoveled out by hand and replaced with slack. This was loaded with a clamshell as the Thistle chute was then out of service.

Upon our return to Provo, we were required to take eight hours rest, after which we were called to take the first train east on November 27th, 1917. Engine 103 was run onto the turntable and this is where I lost out on the first trip over the road for the turntable belied part of its name and refused to turn. This made it necessary to run engine 102, with Engineer Pumphrey, on the first train, beating me out of the privilege, for which reason I have ever since regarded the Provo turntable with considerable contempt.

Utah Railway and Union Pacific

The Utah Railway 2-10-2s and 2-8-8-0s were built using the same designs as Union Pacific locomotives of the same wheel arrangement, and the locomotives were purchased through the Union Pacific Equipment Association.

2-10-2s

Utah 2-10-2s 101-105 were delivered from Baldwin in November and December 1917, after UP's 2-10-2s 5000-5009 (Baldwin, delivered July and August 1917).

In the June 28, 1918 issue of Railway Age, page 1573, in an article about new 2-10-2 locomotives for Union Pacific, the following statements are made,

…locomotives of the 2-10-2 type were designed for this division under the supervision of C. E. Fuller, Superintendent of Motive Power and Machinery, and A. H. Fetters, Mechanical Engineer. Twenty-seven of these engines were built last year by the Baldwin Locomotive Works, fifteen for the Union Pacific, six for the Los Angeles and Salt Lake, and six for the Utah Railway.

Utah 2-10-2 106 (Baldwin b/n 53845) was delivered in November 1920, just after UP 2-10-2 5037 (Baldwin, delivered October 1920).

Utah 2-10-2 107 (Baldwin b/n 53910) was delivered in December 1920, after UP 2-10-2 5038 (Baldwin, delivered October 1920).

Utah 2-10-2 108 (Baldwin b/n 56201) was delivered in June 1923, after UP (OWRR&N) 2-10-2s 5409-5414 (Baldwin, delivered March 1923).

2-8-8-0s

In 1918, Utah Railway received three 2-8-8-0 locomotives, ordered in late 1916 by the Union Pacific Equipment Association. Utah Railway had asked for UP's assistance in the design of these locomotives, with Utah Railway soon to assume the operation of its own trains. UP evaluated the available designs, and determined that the design of fifteen B&O EL-series delivered in 1916 was a good match for the projected and similar service slow speed coal drags on Utah Railway. These three Utah Railway locomotives were very similar to later UP's MC-class, but were built by Baldwin and were about 12,000 pounds lighter (weight on drivers) than the sixteen locomotives delivered in 1918 to UP and OSL. Utah Railway used MC-2 as the class for their locomotives, the same as UP's class.

The Utah Railway three 2-8-8-0s, numbered as 200-202, were delivered in April and June 1918, being built by Baldwin rather than ALCo. The first UP 2-8-8-0 locomotives, numbered as UP 3600-3618, were built by ALCo-Schenectady in May 1918.

Summary

2-8-0s

Leased on December 1, 1917; purchased on July 1, 1918

Road
Number
Previous
Number
Builder Type Date To
Utah Ry.
Date
Scrapped
Utah 1 CVRR 101 Lima 2-8-0 Jul 1918 May 1939
Utah 2 SURR 102 Lima 2-8-0 Jul 1918 Aug 1939
Utah 3 CVRR 105 Alco-Schenectady 2-8-0 Jul 1918 Apr 1942
Utah 4 SURR 104 Alco-Brooks 2-8-0 Jul 1918 Apr 1956

2-10-2s

Delivered new.

Road
Number
Builder Type Date To
Utah Ry.
Date
Scrapped
Utah 100 Baldwin 2-10-2 Nov 1917 Oct 1954
Utah 101 Baldwin 2-10-2 Nov 1917 Sep 1952
Utah 102 Baldwin 2-10-2 Nov 1917 Mar 1957
Utah 103 Baldwin 2-10-2 Nov 1917 Jan 1953
Utah 104 Baldwin 2-10-2 Dec 1917 Mar 1957
Utah 105 Baldwin 2-10-2 Dec 1917 Sep 1953
Utah 106 Baldwin 2-10-2 Nov 1920 Oct 1953
Utah 107 Baldwin 2-10-2 Dec 1920 Sep 1954
Utah 108 Baldwin 2-10-2 Jun 1923 Apr 1955

2-8-8-0s

Delivered new.

Road
Number
Builder Type Date To
Utah Ry.
Date
Scrapped
Utah 200 Baldwin 2-8-8-0 Jul 1918 Sep 1954
Utah 201 Baldwin 2-8-8-0 Jul 1918 Mar 1957
Utah 202 Baldwin 2-8-8-0 Aug 1918 Oct 1954

Utah Railway received its first diesel locomotives from American Locomotive Company on January 25, 1952. Numbered as Utah 300, it entered service on February 9th. A total of six locomotives were delivered between January and August 1952, numbered as Utah 300-305.

Utah Railway Tender Near Price

The steam locomotive tender visible from the highway at Spring Glen, Utah (between Price and Helper) is on private property. It came from Utah Railway 2-8-8-0 number 201, and has been at its current location since the early 1970s.

(View photos of the tender in 1982)

Jeff Terry wrote on June 9, 2011:

Along US 6 between Price and Helper, Utah is a large open field at Spring Glen that contains a relic of Helper's steam days: the tender from Utah Railway 2-8-8-0 Mallet No. 201, one of the largest steam locomotives ever owned by that railroad.

While many railfans best remember the Utah for its fleet of white and red Alco diesels, before they arrived in 1952 the railroad relied on a stable of nine 2-10-2s and three 2-8-8-0s - all Baldwins - to move heavy coal trains between the mines of Carbon County and Provo. Like the Utah's cabooses, the railroad's steam locomotives were purchased through the Union Pacific Equipment Association, and thus their headlights, tenders, cabs, and even number indicator boards were all UP standard design.

The Utah's 2-10-2s, Nos. 100-108, were the "bread and butter" engines of the road; six were ordered new in 1917, and three more were added in the 1920s. They were mainly as road engines, but were also used in helper service as needed.

Three big 2-8-8-0 compound mallets, or "Consolidation Mallets," were built for the Utah by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in April 1918, numbered 200 - 202. They were based on a B&O design, and were identical in appearance to the Union Pacific 3600-series "Bull Moose" Mallets (at the time, fifteen of which were under construction at Alco).

The 200-series were used mostly for mid- and rear-train helper service in both directions from Soldier Summit, assisting the 2-10-2s up the hill with loaded coal trains. They were equipped with 57" drive wheels, 26" x 32" high pressure cylinders, 41" x 32" low pressure cylinders, Walschaert valve gear, Schmidt superheaters, and a boiler pressure of 210 PSI; this contributed to an impressive 96,227 pounds of tractive effort (just 39,143 pounds less than a Union Pacific Big Boy of 1941).

The 2-8-8-0s were well suited for mountain railroading and were touted as being supplied with "Baldwin's flexible articulated frame connection," which allowed them to negotiate a 9-degree curve on the mainline or a 20-degree curve in sidings, and tackle grades as steep as 2.4 percent. Tenders supplied were of the Vanderbilt type and were 36 feet long, as was standard on the UP. They held 20 tons of coal and 12,000 gallons of water, and rode on Vulcan four wheel trucks.

No. 201 arrived on the Utah Railway just after the 4th of July celebrations ended in the summer of 1918. The new Mallets were immediately popular with the crews, since they were equipped with Street type "C" automatic stokers (Rio Grande power, frequently leased to the Utah in the early days, was not yet outfitted as such). By all accounts they did their jobs very well, shoving trains up Spanish Fork Canyon day in and day out.

By the early 1950s, though, the Mallets days were numbered. While the Utah kept its steam power in excellent mechanical shape, by then the 201 and her sisters were showing the effects of 30-plus years of continuous service, and rather than purchase second-hand replacements the Utah management authorized the aquisition of six new Alco RSD-4s, which quickly took over most chores. Most steam power was scrapped, with the exception being three 2-10-2s that saw some limited use in Provo, then were store, and the No. 201, which - being in the best shape of all the Mallets - was stored serviceable in Helper Yard.

In 1955 the Utah purchased a new RSD-5 from Alco, bringing its fleet of diesels up to seven, and it became apparent that the stored steam locomotives would not be needed. The remaining two 2-10-2s were cut up in March of 1957, along with Mallet 201 at Helper. However, the 201's tender was saved and converted into a water car. Its fading paint shows evidence that it was last serviced at Martin during 1964.

By the early 1970s the water car was no longer needed and it was destined to be scrapped. By then no other trace of the Utah Railway steam power still existed - the tender of 201 was the only survivor. Fortunately, a savior was found. The tender was acquired by Mr. H. L. Lowdermilk of the Lowdermilk Construction Company, which in the 1970s was the largest construction company in central and eastern Utah. Mr. Lowdermilk was a fan of railroad memorabilia and other equipment, and over the years he assembled a small display of old iron at the entrance to the company's equipment yard at Spring Glen. The tender was moved there and placed on a piece of panel track for display.

Today the Lowdermilk equipment yard is silent, and many of the displays have moved elsewhere. The tender remains, forlorn and rusting, along with some mining equipment, the boiler from an Avery steam tractor, and a derelict Fordson tractor.

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