History of D&RGW Class 60 / C-16

2-8-0 Consolidation Locomotives
By Robert H. Longnecker

During the years 1881 and 1882, 82 Class 60 2-8-0 Consolidation type locomotives were built and placed in service on the Denver and Rio Grande Western narrow-gauge lines. Twenty-eight engines, numbers 200 - 227, were built by the Grant Locomotive Works. Fifty-four engines, numbers 240 -295 excluding numbers 292 and 293, were built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works.

Additionally, two other locomotives were later added to the Class 60 roster. These two Class 60 engines, rebuilt from Class 56 2-8-0 's, were number 227 (originally D&RGW number 22, built by Baldwin in 1877 and renumbered and added to the class in 1884) and number 228 (originally D&RGW number 41, built by Baldwin in 1880 and renumbered and added to the class in 1894).

There were slight differences between the Grant Class 60's and the Baldwin Class 60 's, most notably in driver spacing, dome contour, and cab roof contour. Numbers 227 and 228 were atypical although their wheel arrangements, driver spacing, and other specifications were basically the same. One example, number 228 had a wagon-top boiler as opposed to a straight-course boiler.

The original specifications for all Class 60 locomotives were as follows:

Cylinders: 15” X 20”
Boiler Pressure: 160 lbs.
Boiler Diameter: 48” - 50”; wrought iron
Drivers: 36-3/4" diameter
Engine Weight: 58,600 lbs.
Weight on Drivers:  50,250 lbs.
Tractive Effort: 14,989 lbs.

The Class 60 name refers to the weight of the locomotive in thousands of pounds (i . e. approx. 60, 000 lbs.).

The Early Period: 1880 - 1903

In the early 1880 's, the Class 60 locomotives saw very few changes. An 1885 photo at Cimarron, Colorado shows what is apparently a special D&RGW number board as opposed to the standard Baldwin number board. In the mid-1880 's, thirty of the Class 60 engines were sold outright to the Rio Grande Southern or the D&RG's Utah operation at the time, the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railway Co.

Accounting for all locomotives is further muddled for the narrow-gauge historian as many other Class 60 locomotives were temporarily leased to one or the other, or both. The disposition of the locomotives that were sold is as follows:

Sold to the Rio Grande Southern: 19 engines #242-256, #258-261

Sold to the D&RGW Railway Co. : 11 engines #257, 275, 277, 279, #287-291, #294-295

The first Class 60 locomotive to be scrapped was #264, which was wrecked beyond repair and dismantled in 1889. The disposition of the remainder of these locomotives is unclear. The D&RGW Railway Co. went to standard gauge in Utah in 1890, so one could assume that most of the Utah-based Class 60 engines were disposed of shortly thereafter.

The First Rebuilding Period: 1903 - 1913

Beginning in 1903, the remaining Class 60 locomotives on the D&RG began their long history of rebuilds and changes. The reason for the 1903 rebuilding was the delivery of many hundreds of new freight cars which had the new automatic Janney knuckle-type couplers and the Westinghouse K-1 Automatic Air Brake System with triple valve. These changes were required by the U. S. Safety Appliance Act for Railways. This rebuilding included the replacement of the old 8 1' air pump with a larger 8-1/2" pump. The pump was relocated a little farther forward at this time but remained on the Engineer's side of the locomotive. The Janney knuckle couplers also were being installed at this time, replacing the original link-and-pin couplers. This necessitated rebuilding the long wooden original pilot with a new shorter one. The shorter pilots were also made of wood.

The Second Rebuilding Period: 1914 - 1920

The next changes came during the period 1914 - 1920. Steel or iron sheets were bolted on the sides of the cabs, covering the original one- , two- , or four-panel wooden cab sides. Many, but not all, of the remaining Class 60's received new D&RG steel boilers with round domes (like those on C-16 #268) at this time. There is some conjecture as to whether or not the D&RG used a pattern of their own for the dome castings, or whether they simply purchased them from Baldwin. The shape is identical to the Baldwin rounded-dome which was used on all of Baldwin's small boiler locomotives built after May, 1883.

Even the remaining Grant Class 60's received the new & heavier steel boilers and rounded domes. Although they retained their original different driver spacing, they were otherwise beginning to lose their identity. The #271 and #278 Class 60's apparently did not receive new, heavier steel boilers at this time.

During this time period, the appearance of many of the locomotives changed considerably. This in many cases was due to odd dome combinations resulting from boiler changing and/or subsequent shoppings. Some of the Grant engines, numbers 201, 202, 203, and 207 for example, kept the Grant sandbox and received the modern rounded steam dome cover. Of the Baldwin engines, #284, for example, retained the Baldwin flanged sandbox, while carrying the newer rounded steam dome. Another odd example is #226, which carried a Baldwin flanged steam dome along with its original Grant sandbox at the time of its demise in 1936.

Numbers 223 and 268 are good examples of a complete appearance change, having had both their original sand and steam domes replaced with the post-1883 rounded dome castings. Numbers 271 and 278 are good examples of the retention of the original dome contour. Both carried the original Baldwin flanged domes throughout their lifetime. Very few of the dome variations were seen operating after 1930, and all were to disappear forever in the 1935-36-37 scrapings.

All Class 60 locomotives received a lengthened smokebox and modern stack in place of the original diamond stack during this period. This resulted in quite a performance increase and came as a result of new developments and understanding (at that time) of the function of the smokebox, nozzle, and stack, and their effect on locomotive performance. Such performance improvements were first noted and reported in a paper by W. F. M Goss, Dean, Schools of Engineering, Purdue University, and read before the Central Railway Club on Nov. 13, 1903. Dr. Goss's paper became the defining document for the design of the steam locomotive " front end" from that point forward.

At the same time, most Class 60's received a new, flatter profile smokebox door. Class 60 #278, however, retained its original front with characteristic protruding profile.

Some of the old oil headlights were removed at this time and replaced with a Pyle Electric Arc Headlight, as required by I.C.C. The electric arc headlight was large and square, and closely resembled the original oil headlight except for the absence of a chimney. Other locomotives simply had their oil headlamps converted directly to the modern incandescent electric headlight. For these locomotives, steam dynamos were added to provide electrical power for the headlights. These generators were the early Pyle Type E generator, similar to the modern Pyle generators except that they had a much larger diameter turbine wheel and housing on the steam side. The conversion to electric headlights was required by the I.C.C. during the 1913-1918 period.

The airbrakes system was again changed during this period. The 8-1/2" pump was replaced on most engines with two 9-1/2 " Westinghouse pumps and the mounting of the pumps was moved over to the fireman's side. However, some engines may have received only one 9-1/2" pump mounted on the fireman's side or, the single 9-1/2" pump may have been an interim arrangement until it was determined that two 9-1/2" pumps were necessary for added air capacity. Photographs taken during that period show both arrangements, but not on the same locomotives.

Other air system modifications at this time included the installation of an additional air tank mounted below the running board on the engineer's side of the locomotive. This modification appeared on some, but not all, locomotives. The extensive air system modifications at this time necessitated the fabrication of new steel running boards to replace the original wooden ones. Apparently, there were two distinct styles of metal running boards installed at this time. One style ran directly forward from the bottom line of the cab, as is evident on #278 today. The other style had only very short stubs running forward from the bottom line of the cab but had its main rear running board sections starting from a point on the cab about 6" up from the bottom cab line. These running boards were somewhat narrower than the first style. The second style of running board can be seen on #223.

Other changes during this period included the addition of air sanders, air bell ringers, and improved "Consolidated" type pop valves. Many of these changes were applied partially, or to just a few of the Class 60 locomotives. Number 223, for example, apparently never received the air bell ringing attachment.

Another interesting dome variation that began to appear in the early 1920's was the removal of the flange or upper "collar" portion of the Baldwin flanged steam dome casting. This flange, evident in all "as built" photographs, was apparently cut off to allow the new-style larger-diameter pop valves to fit, and to allow easier maintenance of the pop valves and whistle. It is also probable that this same flange or collar was removed from the round dome castings at the same time. Photographic evidence of a round dome with flared top collar is lacking, but original Baldwin post-5/1883 round steam dome drawings show the presence of a flared top nearly identical to the "as-built" flanged Baldwin dome.

The original Class 60 frames and suspension underwent extensive modifications during this period probably done in conjunction with the boiler replacement as this was an equally heavy class of repair/ rebuild. The original equalizing system on the last two driver axles was changed from the 1880's vintage single equalizing plate and spring to a more modern system employing an equalizing lever and fulcrum with equalizing links to the axle box yokes. The " free" ends of the axle box yokes for these drivers were anchored with a rod and coil spring arrangement. The coil springs were mounted below the frame, bearing directly on the bottom frame member in the vicinity of the pedestal binders. Also, the original equalizing links for the drivers had passed through elliptical vertical holes in the frame. These were removed and replaced with heavier links. The new links ran behind the frame and had N ears T' protruding from their ends to bear on the spring ends and equalizing levers. (Conventional double links and shackles could not be used due to lack of clearance between the rear face of the drivers and the locomotive frame. )

The tenders also had their share of modification during this period. The original 24" diameter tender wheels were replaced with larger 26”-wheel sets. This necessitated changing the tender truck side frames. The original plain sideframes centers were replaced with the familiar radially-webbed center casting . In order to raise the tender body to clear the larger wheels, shims of approximately 1-3/4" in thickness were added over the journal boxes, and again under the sideframe center casting. Also during this period, some of the tender air tanks began to be moved from the rear end sill up to the top of the tender tank.

The front sections of the locomotive frame were replaced with a stronger version which facilitated mounting a heavier pilot beam. At the time, drawings were made for a completely new and heavier frame, but it appears that this new frame was never installed on any locomotives, aside from the aforementioned front section, which was part of this design. The new front sections also provided additional strength to the frame in critical areas where the cylinder forces are transmitted to the frame. The new front frame sections may have been added during the boiler change, or they may have been added when the pilots were rebuilt in order to add the Janney knuckle couplers.

As built, the Class 60's had a lifting injector on the engineer' s side, and a non-lifting injector on the fireman's side. During this period, some locomotives began to appear with lifting injectors on the fireman's side also. Others retained their original configuration for some time longer. A 1940 photograph of #278 shows that it still has the original non-lifting configuration on the fireman's side. The actual injectors were probably changed to more modern equipment over the years whether the configuration changed or not, The lifting injectors progressed from various "Ohio" models (usually Type through the "Edna" type "O" No. 7 .

The "Thinning Out" Period: 1921 - 1930

During the 1920's, the Class 60 population began to drop steadily. For one reason, the locomotives were now 40 -plus years old, and many were just "dying of old age" Another reason for their decline was the advent of the far more powerful "K" Class 2-8-2 ' s. In 1903, the D&RGW received the K-27 series, and had settled on that wheel arrangement after many years of modifications to the design. In 1923 the D&RGW received the K-28's, with the K-36's, and K-37's all to follow. The last of the "K " series, the K-37, appeared with #490-495 delivered in 1928, and #496-499 in 1930. Oddly enough, the classification of the Class 60 was changed to C-16 in 1924 just as the class was to begin its decline. The recent heavy modification (adding the new and heavier steel boiler) added to the tractive effort, and the D&RGW changed their classification to reflect this: they became Class C-16, with the "16" referring to the 16, 000 lbs. of tractive effort now available.

The new 1924 specifications for all Class C-16 locomotives were as follows:

Cylinders: 15” X 20”
Boiler Pressure: 160 lbs.
Boiler Diameter: 50-3/3" steel
Drivers: 36-3/4" diameter
Engine Weight: 69,100 lbs.
Weight on Drivers:  59,330 lbs.
Tractive Effort: 16,100 lbs.

Even with the recent re-classification, the D&RGW management was intent upon replacing the aging Class 60's with the more powerful modern locomotives and their increased tonnage capabilities. The fate of the C-16's had been decided. During the early/ mid-twenties, those locomotives destined to be scrapped were allowed to deteriorate quite badly, with no money committed to their continued maintenance. Others, destined for branch line or light-rail service, continued to receive normal maintenance and even some updating.

The tenders continued to receive modifications: Tanks (air) were nearly all moved up from the rear end sill to a mounting point on the top of the tender tank just behind the coal bunker. Also, some tenders had entirely different tender water tanks installed, with higher coal bunker sides and rolled top edge beading. These tanks were doubtless from small standard gauge locomotives that were being scrapped at that time; although there is some indication of "tender swapping" from the ranks of the "doomed" C-16's. Tender modifications seemed to have been done at random as some tender tanks were left almost as original except for moving the air tank from the rear sill up to the top of the tank . Number 223 is a good example of an original tender being carried through the entire lifespan of the locomotive.

Others had extensive updating only to be scrapped a short time later. One photograph taken in 1925 shows #226 as having a new, increased water capacity tender (probably from some scrapped standard gauge locomotive) , and the modification appears to have been done in the early 1920's. Yet this engine was to have been scrapped in 1936. Other locomotives did not receive this type of modification until the early 1930's, if at all.

Sometime during this period, or perhaps in the very early 1930's, engine number 278 received a different tender. This tender is somewhat unusual for a Class 60/ C-16 locomotive. The exact origin of this particular tender is not known, but it is suspected that it came from D&RGW standard gauge #500, #505. This tender had a longer coal pocket than most large-tendered C-16 's, a longer water tank that extended to the end of the tender end beam, and high, straight tender sides with rolled edge beading. Locomotive #278 was to have this tender for the remainder of its active days .

During the 1920 s, some locomotives began to receive the Pyle National modern headlight with "winged" number boards. A 1925 photo of #227 shows it equipped with the later style headlight . Other locos had to wait much longer for the new headlight #278, for example, still had the box headlight in 1935 .

The rebuilt shorter pilots began to disappear in the early 1920's . Most locos received the modern standard D&RGW steel "boiler tube" pilot in exchange. Later, some, destined for switching duty, received only full -width wooden steps such as commonly seen on switching locomotives. Number 271 is a good example of the switcher-type pilot.

In 1926, many of the aging C-16's were scrapped. Those dismantled in 1926 were: #200, 202 204, 207, 208, 211 - 213, 215 -217, 221, 222, 227, 228, 240, 241, 262, 266, 267, 269, 272, 274, 276, 280 282, and 286.

Locomotive number 285 was sold in 1926 to the New Mexico Lumber Company.

Locomotive number 205 was scrapped in 1928; #224 and #263 were scrapped in 1929.

This left a total of twenty C-16's on the D&RGW roster in 1930, out of an original total of 84 in the class.

Thirties Period: 1931 - 1939

The early 1930's saw little additional development of the C-16 class. About the only evolution occurring during this period was the continued addition of the late style Pyle National headlights.

Locomotive number 283 was sold to the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad in 1933.

During the middle 1930's (1934 1937) many of the remaining C-16's had outlived their usefulness to the D&RGW and were scrapped.

Eight Dismantling proceeded as follows: 1934: #210 and #218 scrapped. 1935: #219, 220, 265, and 270 scrapped. 1936: #206, 214, 225, 226, 229, and 284 scrapped. 1937: #201 and #209 scrapped.

The sale of one locomotive and the dismantling of fifteen others brought the count of active D&RGW C-16's down to only four: #223, #268, #271, and #278.

Locomotive number 278 received the late style Pyle National headlight sometime after 1935 and before mid-1937. The assignments of these four remaining locomotives were as follows:

Numbers 223, 268, and 278: Assigned to the Gunnison roundhouse to perform either switching duties or to service remaining narrow gauge trackage radiating from Gunnison, most notably on the Crested Butte line. Number 271: Assigned as the Durango switcher.

As the Durango switcher, #271 received a rather unusual angle topped toolbox, mounted on the roof of the cab rather than on the front foot plate as was common practice. It was also fitted with a spark arrestor screen arrangement on the stack. Photos show the spark arrestor and toolbox in place on July 31, 1937. By July 5, 1938, the spark arrestor had disappeared, but the odd toolbox remained on the cab roof. During the same time span, #271 had the early Pyle Type "E" dynamo replaced with a more modern version. Number 271 also received a back-up light, centrally mounted high on the rear tender wall. This back-up light was a Pyle headlight, but with "flat" number boards rather than the "winged" style.

Period: 1940 - 1955 End of Service

In December of 1941, C-16 number 271 was sold to the Montezuma Lumber Company, which operated several miles of narrow-gauge trackage in the pine forests northwest of Dolores, Colorado, on the Rio Grande Southern Railroad. It lasted there until 1947, when it was dismantled and replaced by C-19 number 346.

In December of 1941, C-16 number 223 was leased to Salt Lake City, Utah, for display.

Sometime between 1940 and 1947, C-16 #278 received a different style front tender truck. This truck has no webbed center casting and appears to be built up from channel iron in the area of the center casting. An interesting point is that a 1935 photo of #226 shows that it is equipped with what appears to be an identical front tender truck.

Sometime between 11/24/40 and 6/1/47, #278 received a new higher capacity center section to its otherwise original Baldwin flanged sand dome. The new height was approximately the same as the existing original Baldwin steam dome.

Sometime in 1948 or early 1949, #278 had slots flame-cut into the engineer's side running boards to assist in the removal of cinders and snow. The fireman's side running board was unaltered for unknown reasons. One story has it that the slots were cut by D&RGW apprentice mechanics, as welding practice! Although this story cannot be substantiated, it would certainly explain the apparent lack of forethought in the size, shape, and pattern of these slots.

Locomotives number 268 and 278 received new 11-1/2 'f Westinghouse air pumps sometime between 1947 and 1949.

Locomotive number 268 had its original tender replaced, probably with a K-27 tender, in 1949. This was in preparation for a display trip to the Chicago Railroad Fair. At this time it also received a modified headlight mount, brass bands around the domes, and a bright yellow/ orange and silver paint job. The paint job, dubbed "the Bumble Bee paint job", remained until its last days in service.

In 1949, the trackage through the Black Canyon and over Cerro Summit was abandoned, leaving an isolated portion of narrow-gauge trackage around Montrose. This trackage could be reached by the Rio Grande Southern out of Ridgway but was quickly standard gauged after the demise of the RGS in 1953.

This left the 26-mile portion of narrow-gauge rail between Gunnison and Sapinero to be operated as a third branch line out of Gunnison, with the Gunnison - Salida stretch being referred to as the "main line". Locomotives number 268 and 278 worked this remaining narrow-gauge trackage heavily until the coal mines in Crested Butte closed in 1952. Permission to abandon all narrow-gauge operations was requested by the D&RGW at that time, and was granted in the fall of 1953.

Locomotive number 278 was retired in March of 1953 and donated to the city of Montrose, Colorado for display

Locomotive number 268 was retired on July 1, 1955 after assisting in scrapping operations on lines in the vicinity of Gunnison, and was donated to the city of Gunnison, Colorado for display.