Not much is know about this compressed air locomotive, other than its preservation at the Roots of Motive Power in Willits, California.
Locomotives like this served all over the country in places where it was deemed dangerous to have an open ignition fuel burning locomotives (diesel and steam powered units), in particular ammunition plants and mines. Mines found them useful because these externally charged locomotives could be more compact than their steam powered cousins, and did not release the normal exhaust associated with internal combustion (Air exhaust in some cases helped stir the stagnant air) Ammunition plants however were usually known to have much larger and more complex locomotives because these smaller locomotives are a bit small for the task of moving shells.
I know that Jagneta had doubts about his model General Electric 44 ton Switcher, but this locomotive has such an interesting history I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss it.
This locomotive was part of General Electrics popular line of Switching Locomotives below 45 tons. The 45 ton limit in place because in 1937 there was a law making firemen a requirement on a locomotive above 45 tons. While this was entirely true for the more maintenance heavy steam locomotive, small switching operations didn’t need the extra manpower. General Electric wisely capitalized on the gap in the market.
Made for the New York, Ontario, and Western Railway in 1945, The Arcata and Mad River RR purchased this locomotive used in 1954. It served the company until the line was shut down in 1985.
The steam Locomotive Crane mentioned previously was designed to handle the weight of a locomotive, but smaller railroad cranes did exist. For example this Burro Model 40 was built in 1972, and was designed to be a maintenance-of-way vehicle. Not shown in the photos I took while at the Roots Open house was the shovel fitted to the boom instead of a hook on this model. This shovel crane would have worked in conjunction with a speeder in track inspections and other railroad maintenance activities. The history of this model can be found on the Roots’ website.
The California Western Railway acquired this S-10 Locomotive in 1956. Built in 1949 it originally served as the Army Corps of Engineers W8380 moving freight traffic on Army bases throughout it’s short time serving. It served both sectors until the 1980s when it was donated to The Roots of Motive Power. The last photo was taken from the California Western section of Railfan.net and shows it switching California Western
Unfortunately I do not have any usable photos of the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad, as all of them are on rolls of film (tells you how long it has been since I have been there) so I took these from the YMSPRR website. But now for a bit of History!
The YMSPRR started life as the Madera Sugar Pine Company back in 1899, and currently sits about 5 miles away from the southern entrance to Yosemite National Park here in California. The winding 3 foot gauge track was abandoned in the 1930’s and then returned to operating condition in 1961 under the YMSPRR.
Most of the engines and rolling stock are courtesy of the Westside Lumber company (not unlike Roaring Camp) including the two steam locomotives I have shown along with a few Model A railspeeders. The #10 was built for Pickering Lumber Company in 1928 and has the distinction of being the largest Narrow Gauge Shay ever produced. #15 was manufactured in 1917 and run through several lines and eventually was sold to the YMSPRR in 1988.
#40 is a 14-ton Plymouth Switcher that helps do various tasks around Roaring Camp. Seen mostly in the back of the engine shed she is used to switch the cars.Historically she has also been used to help Heisler #2 up the sharp grade with full car loads. On the day of the Harvest Faire the locomotive was being used to shuttle a birthday party up Bear Mountain.
Roots of Motive Power’ Climax Locomotive. The third type of North American geared locomotives and the first to be posted here. From the Roots’ website:
Engine #4 was build for Holmes Eureka Lumber Company in 1922 by Climax Manufacturing of Corry, Pennsylvania and carries builder’s number 1621. The engine was sold to Pacific Lumber of Scotia, California in 1937, where it was retired in 1954. Bert and Ferne Rudolph of Willits acquired the engine in 1955 and brought it to Willits, where it was kept until acquired by The Roots of Motive Power in 1990. The engine has been restored and was operated by the Roots of Motive Power as recently as 1993 during our “School Days” demonstrations.
The locomotive is a two-truck geared engine with about 200 horsepower capable of 26,400 lbs traction at 200 pounds steam pressure. The unit is operated at about 50 pounds pressure today.
A long way from operational this locomotive has been moved into the shop for a complete overhaul to fix the aforementioned 50 lbs of working pressure it has been limited to. Hopefully they can restore this locomotive along with the Robert Dollar Shay
This 8-ton Plymouth switching engine was donated to Roots of Motive Power by Laurens Edwards of Santa Rosa, CA. Used mostly for moving around the cars in the Roots’ collection this locomotive is probably the most commonly used locomotive that they operate. Taken at the annual open-house.
This 1924 Ohio Steam Powered crane weighs in at 20 tons, yet is still considered a locomotive crane. Although the Roots of Motive Power site doesn’t have much information on it’s history (hasn’t been updated in a while either) you can find the link here. Because there was not much to lift for the open house at Roots the crane mostly sat on a side track and ran back and forth under its own power, which for a single boiler crane is quite an accomplishment and shows exactly what light duty cranes could accomplish in the 1920’s. Later models also had to deal with much heavier loads as the mainline railroads had heavier and heavier locomotives.
Cortez Mines Limited No. 1, also known as Ann Marie is an 0-4-0 H.K. Porter built in 1890. This locomotive has served many excursions on short line narrow gauge Railroads even though it is privately owned. One example is Ardenwood Farm in Fremont, CA. But this day it was serving as a display engine at Roaring Camp Railroad in their Harvest Faire and Steam Festival.
The wheelbase on this locomotive is so small that the main drivers extend into the cab. The brakes on the locomotive are hand opperated, and it lacks the equipment necessary for train air brakes.