Sunday, February 13, 2005

First Coal Burning Engine in the West

The CP wasn't the first to burn coal in a locomotive in California.  Union Iron Works in San Francisco constructed 5 or 6 little 0-6-0T locos in 1866-68 for 2 different coal mine railroads on the north slope of Mt Diablo.  Not surprisingly, these burned coal.  

Larry, not sure off the top of my head what the 1944 Joslyn is, but suspect it is one of the rewrites of the SP Shops articles that Joslyn did, or one of the CP rosters he also did and revised periodically.  

As to the WP "Industry"/CP 2nd #25, we do have an early photo of it as CP #25 at Terrace, UT, as a coal burner (coal visible in the tender) in Best, Iron Horses to Promontory, pg 74.  The conversion to coal is fully within the capabilities of outlying shops, and needn't have been in Sacramento.  For instance, in 1874 the Carlin shops (largest CP shops in Eastern Nevada and Utah at the time) replaced the swivel joint in Eureka & Palisades 0-4-4T #1, a Mason bogie (a pretty extensive job, I think).  The part was cast in Sacramento (the drawing survives at CSRM) and shipped to Carlin for installation.  Carlin had a good-sized shop by 1869-70, and the conversion quite possibly occurred there, although changing wood grates for coal grates (which comprised most of the work - the Industry still has its funnel stack in the photo) could likely have been handled at the smaller shops associated with the roundhouses further east at Toano and Terrace.  And since the eastern part of the CP was the district using coal (from Utah and Wyoming), it makes sense that the conversion occurred there rather than in Sacramento.  See Best pgs 73-74.  Also keep in mind that the Union Pacific locos such as #119 were coal burners.  (It seems to me there is a "smokeless" engine converted in Sacramento for the Oakland and Alameda lines a short time later - Wendell, do you recall?)  

As a side note, I've seen a better copy of the photo of the WP Industry/CP #25.  The builder's plate and smokebox front clearly identifies the loco as Norris-Lancaster c/n 14, built in 1864 (consistent with what Best lists).  

Kyle K. Wyatt
Curator of History & Technology
California State Railroad Museum

Note my work address has changed to:
My personal address remains:    

>>> Larry Mullaly 02/13/05 1:42 PM >>>

I have been working with Arnold Menke for some time on an article dealing with SP's transition from coal to oil. This past week, Arnold submitted the following additional information:  

Western Pacific "I", the Industry, became the first coal-burner in 1870, and later that year it was running between Ogden and Terrace, Utah, as Central Pacific second 25.[i]  

[1] Joslyn (1944, p. 19); Diebert and Strapac (1987, p. 35, 78).  

It seems very odd that the "Western Pacific"  (by 1870, CP in all but name) would convert an engine to coal burning only to have the CP ship it off to the wilds of Utah.  A more logical pattern would be that the engine was being shopped in Sacramento, at which time it was converted to coal burning and then sent east.  

I am not familiar with the Joselyn 1944 source  that Arnold cites.  Diebert and Strapac do give no reference for saying the this was the "first locomotive on the West Coast to burn coal fuel."  

Anything you can add would be appreciated.