American Fork Railroad Locomotives

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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 December 1882; scrapped in 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

American Fork Railroad no. 1 (1st) was built on speculation by Mason Locomotive Works by March 1872, named "Onward"; sold to American Fork Railroad no. 1 in July 1872, named "American Fork" (failed on AFRR); sold to Eureka & Palisade Railroad no. 1 in December 1873, named "Eureka", used for construction, out-of-service by May 1875; sold to Nevada Central Railway named "Austin" in October 1879, used for construction, out-of-service in June 1881; loaned (later sold?) to Utah & Northern in December 1882, assigned to switch service at Spring Hill (later Lima), Montana; vacated by September 1887.

(Read more about the unique Mason locomotive delivered to American Fork Railroad in July 1872)

The Porter Locomotive

The Porter, Bell & Co. engine on the American Fork Railroad was positively identified by a review 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, ordered as Colorado Central no. 6, 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 June 1878 when the rails of the American Fork railroad were taken up and stored at American Fork for later resale. The engine's 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.

Research has found 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 bought but did not pay for can be gleaned from other sources. 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.

George Pitchard's research among D&RGW and RGW documents, as well as contemporary newspaper accounts found that Utah & Pleasant Valley no. 2 became D&RG no. 113 in 1883. When D&RG and D&RGW accounts were separated in July 1886, D&RG no. 113 became D&RGW no. 4. Pitchard remarks that possibly D&RGW 113/D&RG 4 was one of the small engines removed from service and stored at Salt Lake City at the time the narrow gauge D&RGW became the standard gauge RGW in 1889, with a total of 38 engines being changed from D&RGW to RGW.

Various lists from 1886 through 1890 show varying totals from 33, 34, or 35 locomotives in service, but Pitchard's extensive accounting of the entire roster of engines shows that 38 locomotives changed ownership from D&RGW to RGW. D&RGW no. 4, the former American Fork no. 1 (2nd), and D&RGW no. 113, was likely one of the so-called 'dinkie' engines being dismantled and referenced in a newspaper account on September 21, 1890, "The rest of the dinkie engines are being hauled in, running gears to be scrapped and the boilers used in stationary service."

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.