N.P. Ry.

By Ronald V. Nixon

Part II

Steve Jackson, Curator of Photography at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Mont., sends word that the Nixon Collection negatives are now archivally stored and arranged numerically, making requests for specific Nixon images by number relatively easy. You can see MoR on line at:


Selections from the Nixon Collection can be seen at:


For the on-line fans of NP steam, here's a few more stories from RVN's Northern Pacific Motive Power series.

Northern Pacific Motive Power--No. 2 of a Series
Class C-13 (870-898)
by R.V. Nixon
Truly a Northern Pacific pioneer, locomotive No. 220 was built by the Portland Locomotive Works in 1883, one of 29 American Standards classified as C-13. Some 15 years later the number was changed to 896.
It is interesting to speculate as to the appearance of the engine during its last days of service. No doubt it has been converted to a coal burner with an extended front end, and equipped with a straight stack, automatic couplers, electric headlight and a standard pilot. Possibly some reader might supply us with a print of a C-13 after the changes had been made, or some other old timer of pre-1905 vintage.
This rare photograph, made at Missoula, Mont., in 1884, is from the collection of E.H. Carlson, Master Mechanic of the Rocky Mountain Division at Missoula. Ed is an accomplished photographer and has a very interesting display of railroad pictures in his office.
-The Tell Tale, January 1950, pp. 4-5

Northern Pacific Motive Power--No. 3 of a Series
Class M (1-2)
by R.V. Nixon
This month we present one of the most unusual locomotives ever to operate on the NP. Northern Pacific has always been famous for pioneering in the field of motive power. Class M was the result of such pioneering. Built in 1886, the two locomotives of this class were reputedly the largest and heavies in the world--an honor again held by the NP 50 years later when the Z-5 (4-8-8-2 Yellowstones) were the ultimate in locomotive construction.
The two Decapods, built by Baldwin and originally numbered 500 and 501, were designed for heavy freight service in the Cascade Mountains. By comparison it can easily be seen that they were predecessors of the well-known Baldwin Hogs (Class F-1 2-8-0 Consolidations).
Later, as was the case with most of the older steam power, the low-drivered 1 and 2 were converted to switchers, most of their work being performed in the vicinities of Spokane, Tacoma, and Hoquiam, Wash.
Both were dismantled at South Tacoma, Wash. The photograph [of No. 2] was made at Tacoma in April 1932.
-The Tell Tale, February 1950, p. 2

Engine Class M
Road Numbers 1-2
Wheel Arrangement 2-10-0
Builder Baldwin
Year Built 1886
Cylinders (in inches) 22x26
Boiler Pressure (pounds per square inch) 150
Drive Wheel Diameter 46
Grate Area (square feet) 35.70
Tractive Effort 34,800
Booster 0
Valve Gear Stephenson
Superheater 0
Weight on Drivers (pounds) 130,540
Engine Weight, Working Order (pounds) 134,020
Engine Weight, Empty (pounds) 127,580
Tender Weight, Working Order (pounds) 137,300
Tender Weight, Empty (pounds) 55,000
Tender Class 11C
Water Capacity (gallons) 7,000
Coal Capacity (tons) 12

Northern Pacific Motive Power--No. 4 of a Series
Class G (1151-1159)
by R.V. Nixon
Another rare photograph has come our way, thanks to Engineer L.L. Hardy of Glendive, Mont., and we take pleasure in sharing it with those who are following our presentation of NP locomotives in the Tell Tale. Made at Dickinson, N.D., November 22, 1892, the 469 is shown with Engineer Dosky and Fireman John Winn.
According to the records, the 1159, photographed at Seattle, Wash., in 1932, is the same engine--believe it or not! Yet upon strict examination it is difficult to find very much similarity.
The 469 was one of nine Class F Consolidations (2-8-0) delivered to the Yellowstone Division in 1893. Its number was subsequently changed to 148, then to 121, and again to 103. In the early 1900s all nine engines were completely rebuilt into 0-8-0 switchers, Class G, the original 469 being given number 1159.
The 469 was quite a celebrity, too, as it was the 7,000th locomotive built by Baldwin. NP also received Baldwin's 10,000th locomotive in 1889, which for a time carried Northern Pacific No. 10,000. It will be featured in a future issue.
After service on the Yellowstone Division, the 469 and others of its class gradually worked west. Several were use as switchers at Trout Creek, Mont., when it was an important terminal. Last of this type was the 1158, which was scrapped at South Tacoma, Wash., in about 1936.
-The Tell Tale, March 1950, p. 2

Engine Class G (formerly F)
Road Numbers 1151-1159
Wheel Arrangement 0-8-0
Builder Baldwin
Year Built 1883
Cylinders (in inches) 19 by 24
Boiler Pressure (pounds per square inch) 180
Drive Wheel Diameter 50
Grate Area (square feet) 28
Tractive Effort 26,500
Booster 0
Valve Gear Stephenson
Superheater 0
Engine Weight, Working Order (pounds) 137,000
Engine Weight, Empty (pounds) 137,000
Tender Weight, Working Order (pounds) 75,000
Tender Weight, Empty (pounds) NA
Tender Class 8A
Water Capacity (gallons) 3,800
Coal Capacity (tons) 5.5

Northern Pacific Motive Power--No. 5 of a Series
Class S-10 (320-329)
by R.V. Nixon
In this age of diesel streamliners and fast 125 car freight trains, it is very refreshing to come across a touch of old time railroad, such as exists on the Sixth Sub-Division of the Lake Superior Division. Daily except Sunday, a mixed train powered by a small Ten-Wheeler, leaves Rush City for the round trip to Grantsburg, Wis., crossing the St. Croix River on the oldest of NP bridges, and traveling on light 56 pound rail. At Grantsburg the engine is turned on one of the few remaining Armstrong turntables. The photograph made April 7, 1950, shows Engineer Walter Ebel in the cab of the 328, which is being turned manually by Conductor Robert Wilcox, his brakeman and fireman.
It is doubtful if such a picturesque railroad scene can be found anywhere at this late stage of the game. Probably they will be short lived, as the 328 is due to be dismantled and application has been made for the abandonment of the Grantsburg Branch. An interesting sidelight of the abandonment is the fact that Brakeman Jack Murray, whose father rode the first train over the branch 67 years ago, will probably work the last run.
Engine 328 was one of ten small 4-6-0s built by Rogers in 1907. The order was placed rather mysteriously by an agent of a foreign country, supposedly for service in Russia or Manchuria. Upon completion the locomotives were refused for some unknown reason and were purchased by the NP for use on branch lines.
Most of the S-10s worked in the vicinity of Fargo, N.D., although the 325 and 326 were assigned to the old Montana Division for many years and were familiar sights on the Alder, Pony, and Norris branches. All have been scrapped except the 328--which will itself soon be railroad history.
-The Tell Tale, May 1950, p. 2

Engine Class S-10
Road Numbers 320-329
Wheel Arrangement 4-6-0
Builder ALCO
Year Built 1907
Cylinders (in inches) 19 by 26
Boiler Pressure (pounds per square inch) 190
Drive Wheel Diameter 57
Grate Area (square feet) 38.5
Tractive Effort 26,600
Booster 0
Valve Gear Stephenson
Superheater 0
Engine Weight, Working Order (pounds) 115,000
Engine Weight, Empty (pounds) 153,000
Tender Weight, Working Order (pounds) 131,000
Tender Weight, Empty (pounds) 46,350
Tender Class 8C
Water Capacity (gallons) 5,000
Coal Capacity (tons) 8

Nixon, Ronald V., ''Northern Pacific Motive Power,'' The Tell Tale, various issues. Courtesy of James M. Fredrickson
Zuhn, David D. ''Northern Pacific Railway Research,'' http://www.armadillo.com/monad/ Tim Harris' ''Locomotives on the Northern Pacific,'' http://www.armadillo.com/monad/roster/steam.html

Gaertner, John, ''The Grantsburg Branch,'' The Mainstreeter, Volume 10, Number 4, Fall 1991 pp. 5-19
Schrenk, Lorenz P., ''The Truth About 328 Revealed!,'' The Mainstreeter, Volume 15, Number 4, Fall 1996 pp. 5-11
Tarbox, Gary L., ''The Hogs Pulled and Pushed NP Tonnage for Almost 60 Years,'' The Mainstreeter, Volume 8, Number 1, Winter 1989 pp. 5-15, 19-24

Author: Ronald V. Nixon. Title: By Ronald V. Nixon, Part II. URL: www.employees.org/~davison/nprha/rvntwo.html.

© August 21, 2000