May 2012

Featured Locomotive for May 2012

The Recyclying locomotive

This month we will talk about recycling locomotives, specifically the huge 2-6-6-2 Mallet (pronounced like ballet, of the Unitah (Utah, and Sumpter Valley (Oregon, Railway.

These locos (2 in number( were the largest Baldwin 3ft gauge locos to run in America. A larger loco was planned by Baldwin( but never saw the light of day, due to the great Depression. Bachmann have made a model of this loco from original drawings. But back to Uintah R.R which started in 1902 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Gilson Asphaltum Co. The route was from Mack, Colorado to Dragon, Utah, across the Baxter Pass 7.5% slope and 66 degree curves and at 8437ft asl (2572m,.

Initially using Shay locos. 1911 saw further expansion of the route and by 1926 an articulated loco (Mallet, was purchased to handle the difficult grades. This loco #50 was such a big success that #51 was purchased in 1928.

Sumpter Valley Locomotives

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The RR lasted until 1939 when trucks took over transport of the ore and the two locos were sold to Sumpter Valley RR in Oregon. The conversion took place of both 50 and 51. Loosing the tanks, tiny coal hopper, which was replaced with a tender, fuel was changed to oil and the brake system altered, a bigger cab provided. The below deck running gear remained unaltered. The top of the boiler was also unaltered and they were renumbered 250 and 251. By 1947 the railway ceased operations as trucks again took over the transport of logs. That year saw the 2 locos now sold to Guatemala - part of the International Railway of Central America. #251 was the first to suffer being cannibalised to keep #250 running until 1960 when she was scrapped.

Our photograph shows the two locos side by side so the reader can view the changes that were made. Unfortunately no technical information is readily available as the Baldwin records are not on line and lie in the bowels of the Pennsylvania Archives.

We note that the Shay and the giant Mallet 2-6-6-2 have appeared in previous editions of this journal. The Museum has models of all three locos. On the heritage side the Unitah Railway has disappeared while the Sumpter Valley Railway operates a railway with a 2-8-2 loco and is still operational.

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