Monday, December 07, 2015

Mastodon locomotives on Donner Pass?

From: "Larry Mullaly"

Mastodons on Donner?

A June 1884 Motive Power summary that I found at the National Archives lists status of all locomotives then in service from Visalia to El Paso. This reports shows that “mastodon" locomotives SP nos. 51-63 as well as CP no. 229 were assigned to the Tulare Division. No mastodons were assigned to the Los Angeles Division.

However, nowhere is there is no sign of SP nos. 64-79, the last group of these engines built by Danforth-Cooke in May-June of 1883. Their absence from the southern lines leads me me to surmise that they may have been assigned to the Donner route.

The topic gets more interesting because Menke/Mullaly (SP Trainline Fall 2005) suggest that the transition on this route from wood to coal took place in late 1886 based on San Francisco. Since the Danforth-Cooke locomotives seem to have been coal burning engines, perhaps the topic of coal usage over Donner also needs to be revisited.

Comments would be appreciated.

—Larry Mullaly