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Two mystery locomotives from Alaska

Discussion of specific prototype locomotives and other equipment of all gauges.

Two mystery locomotives from Alaska

Postby saveitforparts » Wed Sep 03, 2014 2:01 pm

I'm hoping to identify or at least get some ideas on the following two locomotives. They've turned up while researching Alaska shortline for my website, but I suspect the location/owner of one or both has been misidentified.

Hi again folks, I'm still working on my Alaska shortline and industrial railroad website, and am trying to ID a couple mystery engines from different books.

The first shows up in an old issue of Alaska Geographic magazine (no longer published), and is attributed to the Alaska Anthracite Railroad.


It looks like an 0-4-2 Porter or similar, I am not sure of the exact make. The cab is similar to Porter's "cold climate" design with enclosed fuel bin, also seen on an 0-4-2 Porter used at Yakutat & Dry Bay (http://digitalcollections.lib.washingto ... obb/id/280).

The Alaska Anthracite had various other names and is known to have had an Alco 0-4-0 (CN 41751) named "Ole", still sitting on the river bank near Katalla ( ... ge-13.html), previously owned by the Katalla Co for construction on the Copper River Northwestern. One source also mentions "Ole" used at a rail line on Shepherd Creek (across the Bering River). There is a whole rat's nest of abandoned railroads and small trams in this area. The mystery loco shown in AK Geographic might have been on a disconnected branch of the AK Anthracite, on one of the other lines, somewhere else in AK, or might not have been in Alaska at all. Any ideas people might have would help! (I've asked the local museum and tried contacting the people mentioned, with no luck).

The other mystery locomotive is an open-cab 0-4-0 seen in the first edition of Howard Clifford's Rails North and described as part of the White Pass and Yukon RR.


As it's not recorded in any WP&YRR info I can find (while other small locos like a Fordson-based switcher are), I'm led to believe it was with another outfit. I'm leaning towards the Treadwell Mines railroad, as they seem to be one of the few operating without cabs (Usually Alaskans wanted as much cab as possible, even on the smallest loco). However, it could also be from somewhere outside AK. The name plate on the front is unreadable in the book, but looks like Baldwin's circular style.
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Re: Two mystery locomotives from Alaska

Postby Andrew Brandon » Thu Sep 04, 2014 5:59 pm


The second locomotive looks like a Baldwin to me, it's low slung like other mining locomotives I've seen Baldwin turn out.
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Re: Two mystery locomotives from Alaska

Postby saveitforparts » Wed Mar 04, 2015 12:22 pm

I just received a photo from the Juneau-Douglas City Museum, showing a small locomotive at Treadwell. It is very similar to the mystery locomotive that Clifford labels as a WP&YRR switcher. The stack and rear driver's platform are a little different, so it is probably not the same one but a close relative.


"Treadwell Train and Dock", c. 1916. Image courtesy of the Juneau-Douglas City Museum, 90.42.008.

The Juneau-Douglas City Museum has a great online archive of their collections here: ... /index.htm . The previews are small, but they will provide larger scans for a modest fee. I've already ordered quite a few of the railroad-related images and have some of them on my site, including a pedal inspection car at Treadwell and another steam locomotive with a square-ish saddle tank.
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