Colorado Midland 2-8-0 "Consolidation" Locomotives in the USA

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class 136 (Locobase 12226)

Data from Baldwin Locomotive Works Specification for Engines as digitized by the DeGolyer Library of Southern Methodist University Volume 20, p. 229. Works numbers were 15130-15134 in December 1896.

Locobase 7698 shows the Schenectady engines supplied to the Midland Terminal (a subsidiary of the CM) and these appear to be duplicates supplied by Baldwin a couple of years later.

After 25 years, the CM was abandoned in 1919. Two of the engines -- 50 and 53 -- went to the Midland Terminal. The other were sold to the locomotive rebuilder/reseller Birmingham Rail & Locomotive, which induced the Boyne City, Gaylord & Alpena to buy the trio in January 1920. They were renumbered 5-7. (See Locobase 11484 for a discussion of the railroad.)

The direct heating surface is an estimate based on the Schenectady engines.

Class 159 (Locobase 12470)

Data from Baldwin Locomotive Works Specification for Engines as digitized by the DeGolyer Library of Southern Methodist University Volume 23, p. 199; , American Engineer and Railroading Journal, Volume 76, No 2 (February 1902), p. 49 and William Kaminsky, "Colorado Midland Locomotive Roster,", July 2006. (Big thanks to Keith Lesteburg for his 31 March 2015 email correcting Locobase mistaken assertion that this class operated as compounds until the 1920s. Thanks too to James Lowther for his 17 December 2021 email supplying the correct class IDs and citing books by Morris Cafky and Mel McFarland ) Works numbers were 18631-18632, 18646-18648 in January 1901.

Acquired in 1901 with the usual fanfare, this class pitted the Vauclain compound system against the demands of "passenger service on grades of 3 and 4 per cent. and curves of 16 degrees in the mountains of Colorado. These conditions required unusual tractive power and involved a large weight on driving wheels. M.. Vauclain, of the Baldwin Locomotive Works, in explaining the reason for the inclination of the cylinders of this engine, said that the officers of the road wanted the cylinders sufficiently high to clear the 'scenery' of the Rocky Mountains, which is 'so unstable that it is likely to be found alongside the railroad tracks'".

They cannot be described as "flyers", but the locomotives hauled four cars --a combination mail and smoker, two chair cars, and a sleeper weighing a combined 150 tons--over the Manitou-Cascade section that featured steep grades and six tunnels in a 3.4 mile (5.5 km) stretch. A"tourist sleeper" joined the train on weekends and some trains of six cars of 230 tons

This set of Vauclain compounds soon proved as unsuitable to the CM's requirements as most other North American railroads found compounds to be. Lowther wrote that the cylinder packing leaked. "This not only drop[ped] efficiency, but also caused visibility and icing issues in the Colorado winters"

They were rebuilt in 1908 with two simple-expansion 21" x 30" (533 mm x 762 mm) cylinders supplied through Walschaert's constant-lead radial valve gear. "It was often said that the cure was worse than the disease," Lowther continues,"as the engines were now 'over cylindered' and proved to be very poor steamers as a result. This just about ruined the engines in their intended role as passenger locomotives, and they were quickly switched to freight and helper service."

CM then planned to superheat all five. The 202 went first and was the only one to complete the upgrade; see Locobase 16006.

But the financially strapped CM was finally closed in August 1918 by the United States Railroad Administration (USRA)..

Locomotive reseller W A Zelnicker bought all five in 1919 and sold them in March 1920 to the Louisiana & Arkansas, taking numbers 429, 425-428.

The L&A operated the saturated quartet into the 1930s. 426 was sent to the ferro-knacker's at Minden in September 1933, 427 followed in October, 428 in May 1934, and 429 in June 1934

Class 175 (Locobase 11976)

Data from Baldwin Locomotive Works Specification for Engines as digitized by the DeGolyer Library of Southern Methodist University Volume 31, 69. (Thanks to James Lowther for his

Works numbers were 32124-32127, 32151,32152 in November 1907.

After the CM closed in 1919, this sextet went into storage until 1921, but Lowther reports a different interregnum: " After the CM ceased operating in 1918, it made

its locomotives available on a per diem basis to local operators that could make

use of them. I do not have any records of which locos were by whom or when. I

do know that on several occasions the the Midland Terminal (often incorrectly

spoken of as a subsidiary of the CM) rented these big locomotives to haul ore

trains up the 4% grades of Ute Pass to Cripple Creek and back."

In 1921, the six engines were sold in batches of three to the Central Mexicano as their 1-6. The Nacional de Mexico nationalized the CM and placed the sextet in its G-35 class, giving them road numbers 785-790 and, after 1930, 1434-1439. See Locobase 11977 for the G-35, which used a modified boiler and firebox, possibly as a result of a conversion to oil-firing

Class 202/425 (Locobase 16006)

Data from Louisiana & Arkansas 1 - 1941 Locomotive Diagrams supplied in August 2013 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange. (Thanks to Steve Low for his 1 May 2020 email correcting the road numbers for this class. James Lowther provided key information about the one locomotive in this class to be superheated.)

Originally delivered to the Colorado Midland as Vauclain compounds (Locobase 12470), this class of Consolidations converted to simple expansion in 1908. Acknowledging the shortcomings of that conversion, the CM planned to update all five. The 202 went first, accommodating a relatively modest superheater and, James Lowther reports, a Franklin Universal Piston Valve and Steam Chest conversion kit inside a valve chest that fit the original cylinders.

Within a year, however, the United States Railroad Administration closed the financially fatally ill CM in 1918. The orphaned quintet went to the Louisiana & Arkansas, taking numbers 429, 425-428. But none of the other four were superheated.

[The superheater heating surface area is an estimate as that figure doesn't appear in the diagram. It is based on other Consolidations of similar vintage with identical flue counts, diameters, and lengths.]

All but 425 were scrapped in 1933-1934.

For some reason the 425 wasn't discarded until February 1949, when it was sold to the Comite Southern, a recently formed industrial line connecting a gravel pit to the docks. 425 was scrapped in 1951. Lowther reports a different final history: The 425 went to the "maverick Louisiana Eastern", but was scrapped in 1951, "However, I have heard stories that the engine remained in dead storage with the railroad until that line was shut down and most of the rolling stock scrapped onsite in 1962. Lowther adds: adding "It is possible, but I just find it hard to believe."

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
Locobase ID12226 12470 11976 16006
RailroadColorado MidlandColorado MidlandColorado MidlandColorado Midland
Number in Class5561
Road Numbers49-53201-205301-306425
Number Built556
BuilderBurnham, Williams & CoBurnham, Williams & CoBurnham, Williams & CoCM
Valve GearStephensonStephensonStephensonWalschaert
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)14.33 / 4.3715.75 / 4.8014.50 / 4.4215.75 / 4.80
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)22.25 / 6.7824.33 / 7.4223 / 7.0124.33 / 7.42
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheelbase 0.64 0.65 0.63 0.65
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)59.98 / 18.28
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)133,000 / 60,328160,000 / 72,575175,000 / 79,379159,000 / 72,121
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)150,000 / 68,039180,000 / 81,647193,000 / 87,543182,000 / 82,554
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)85,000 / 38,555120,000 / 54,431130,000 / 58,967136,000 / 61,689
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)235,000 / 106,594300,000 / 136,078323,000 / 146,510318,000 / 144,243
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)4000 / 15.156000 / 22.736500 / 24.627000 / 26.52
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / Liters/MT)10 / 912 / 112963 / 2694
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)55 / 27.5067 / 33.5073 / 36.5066 / 33
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)52 / 132160 / 152452 / 132160 / 1524
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)180 / 12.40200 / 13.80200 / 13.80200 / 13.80
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)21" x 26" / 533x66017" x 30" / 432x76222" x 28" / 559x71121" x 30" / 533x762
Low Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)25" x 30" / 635x762
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)33,737 / 15302.8633,595 / 15238.4544,305 / 20096.4337,485 / 17002.93
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 3.94 4.76 3.95 4.24
Heating Ability
Tubes (number - dia) (in / mm)258 - 2.25" / 57337 - 2" / 51412 - 2" / 51200 - 2" / 51
Flues (number - dia) (in / mm)28 - 5.375" / 137
Flue/Tube length (ft / m)13 / 3.9614 / 4.2714.75 / 4.5014 / 4.27
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)162.30 / 15.08172.20 / 16158 / 14.68172.20 / 16
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)31.70 / 2.9535 / 3.2549.50 / 4.6035 / 3.25
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)2125 / 197.422626 / 244.053324 / 308.922181 / 202.62
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)366 / 34
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)2125 / 197.422626 / 244.053324 / 308.922547 / 236.62
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume203.93333.00269.81181.30
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation5706700099007000
Same as above plus superheater percentage5706700099007980
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area29,21434,44031,60039,262
Power L143964092578810,534
Power MT291.47225.53291.66584.24

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Wes Barris