Denver & Salt Lake 2-8-2 "Mikado" Locomotives in the USA

The Denver, Northwestern and Pacific Railway was incorporated on July 18, 1902 by David H. Moffat, along with seven other shareholders. After the city of Denver was bypassed by the Union Pacific line, which passed through Cheyenne, Wyoming, and by the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad, which was routed through Pueblo, Colorado, and ran west through Royal Gorge. The Denver business community wanted a direct route to the West. The Denver, Northwestern and Pacific Railway was planned to be that line, originating in Denver, and planned to terminate in Salt Lake City, Utah. DNW&P was placed in receivership on May 2, 1912 and on April 30, 1913 was reformed as the Denver and Salt Lake Railroad, and finally the Denver and Salt Lake Railway in 1926.

One of the outstanding features on the D&SL is the Moffat Tunnel, a railroad and water tunnel that cuts through the Continental Divide in north-central Colorado. Named after Colorado railroad pioneer David Moffat, the tunnel's first railroad traffic passed through in February 1928.

The East Portal of the tunnel is located fifty miles west of Denver, Colorado. The West Portal is near the Winter Park Resort ski area. The tunnel is 24feet high, 18feet wide and 6.2miles long. The apex of the tunnel is at 9,239feet above sea level. The Moffat Tunnel finally provided Denver with a western link through the continental divide, as both Cheyenne, Wyoming to the north and Pueblo, Colorado to the south already enjoyed rail access to the West Coast. It follows the right-of-way laid out by Moffat in 1902 while he was seeking a better and shorter route from Denver to Salt Lake City. The water tunnel and the railroad tunnel parallel each other; the water tunnel delivers a portion of Denver's water supply.

In 1915, the Denver & Salt Lake Railroad bought eight "Mikado" type locomotives from the Lima Locomotive Works. These locomotives were assigned road numbers 400 through 407. They had 55" diameter drivers, 26" x 30" cylinders, a 200 psi boiler pressure and they exerted 62,700 pounds of tractive effort and each weighed 295,000 pounds. The evaporative heating surface was 4,224 square feet and these locomotives were not superheated. In 1916, two more "Mikados" built by the American Locomotive Company were added the D&SL roster. These two 2-8-2s were very similar to the Lima-built "Mikados".

The D&SL merged with the D&RGW in 1947. All of the D&SL "Mikado" type locomotives were added to the D&RGW roster. They were classified as Class K-63 and assigned D&RGW numbers 1220 through 1229.

There are no surviving Denver & Salt Lake 2-8-2 "Mikado" type locomotives.


Qty.Road Numbers1947 D&RGW Class1947 D&RGW NumbersYear BuiltBuilderNotes
2408 & 409K-631228 & 12291916ALCO2
  1. Assigned D&RGW numbers 1220-1227 in 1947.
  2. Assigned D&RGW numbers 1228 and 1229 in 1947.

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class Class 63/K-63 (Locobase 1465)

Data from [] and D&SL 1 -1932 Locomotive Diagrams supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange. Works numbers were 5100-5107 in August 1915.

Originally built for the D&SL for the Rollins Pass route, they had problems negotiating the curving alignment and slipped because of their power, according to Drury (1993). Still they ran until the late 1940s, receiving Coffin feedwater heaters.

When the D&SL was acquired by the D&RGW in 1947, these engines re-numbered 1220-1227. Most were dismantled in the 1950s.

NB: The direct heating surface (including the firebox heating surface) is an estimate calculated by subtracting the calculated tube heating surface from the reported total evaporative heating surface. Superheating surface is an estimate based on a very similar Lima Pacific delivered to the MKT (Locobase 7083) in 1920.

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
ClassClass 63/K-63
Locobase ID1465
RailroadDenver & Salt Lake (D&SL)
Number in Class8
Road Numbers400-407/1220-1227
Number Built8
Valve GearWalschaert
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)15.75 / 4.80
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)32.92 / 10.03
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.48
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)67.67 / 20.63
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)232,000 / 105,234
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)295,000 / 133,810
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)178,000 / 80,740
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)473,000 / 214,550
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)8736 / 33.09
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / ML/MT)17 / 15.50
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)97 / 48.50
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)55 / 1397
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)200 / 13.80
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)26" x 30" / 660x762
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)62,684 / 28433.02
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 3.70
Heating Ability
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)352 / 32.70
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)70.40 / 6.54
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)4224 / 392.42
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)870 / 80.82
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)5094 / 473.24
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume229.13
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation14,080
Same as above plus superheater percentage16,474
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area82,368
Power L113,738
Power MT522.19

  • 407 (Louis C. McClure Photo)
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Wes Barris