Colorado Midland 4-6-0 "Ten-Wheeler" Locomotives in the USA

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class 15 (Locobase 11125)

Data from Schenectady Locomotive Works, Illustrated Catalogue of Simple and Compound Locomotives (Philadelphia: J B Lippincott, 1897), pp. 88-89 and Richard Stamm, "Colorado Midland Railway - A Short History", archived on [], last accessed 24 January 2010. See also "Ten-Wheel Passenger Locomotive, Colorado Midland Railway," Railroad Gazette, Volume 19 (25 November 1887), pp. 760-761. Works numbers were 2239-2246 in March 1887.

The CM was formed in 1883 by Homer D Fisher to connect Colorado Springs through the Ute Pass into South Park and, from there, continue on to Salida and Leadville by the "most eligible route." The charter also included the intent to put a telegraph line as well. According to Stamm, both the Union Pacific and the Denver & Rio Grande chose to try to block the line by doubling the price of materials, a tactic that backfired when then-CM President James J Hagerman exploited resentment of such heavy-handed moves to raise eastern money.

The road opened to Buena Vista on 13 July 1887 and, according to Stamm, the CM had already bought more than 2 dozen engines from Schenectady. The 15 he describes as a passenger engine, although its 57" drivers suggest only modest speed.

RG's report indicates the challenges to be overcome by this design. Rail weight at best was a typical, but still modest 65 lb/yard (32.5 kg/metre) and maximum grade inclination measured 4%. Calculating an estimate of maximum trailing load up 4% yielded 150 tons, which RG notes was "...about equal to that of a train composed of two heavy sleeping cars, two first-class passenger coaches, and two baggage or express cars." The writer concluded the design is up to the challenge: "This engine is, however, one of the heaviest and most powerful passenger engines ever built, and at the same time appears to possess a sufficiently flexible wheel base to run over curves even sharper than those on the Colorado Midland."

The author doesn't neglect downhill running, "...which is often a matter of more difficulty and danger than the ascent, especially when the grades are long and the sudden rain and snow storms prevalent amongst the mountains are apt to convert a dry rail into a very slippery surface without warning. The engines are equipped with Westinghouse brake for tender and train, American steam brake on all drivers and Le Chatelier water brake for cylinders."

Some remained with the CM, but 15 was later sold to locomotive rebuilder/reseller Birmingham Rail & Locomotive, who placed on Milton S Hershey's benevolently run FC Cubano de Hershey in Hershey, Cuba.

BR&L found a buyer for ex-19 in the Motley County Railway of Matador, Texas. It later moved on to the Quanah, Acme & Pacific.

Ex-20 went to Zimmerman-Wells-Brown, a lumber company based in Portland Ore and ex-21 found similar work as Kirby Lumber's #79 in Kirby, Texas.

Class 29 (Locobase 11673)

Data from Baldwin Locomotive Works Specification for Engines as digitized by the DeGolyer Library of Southern Methodist University, Volume 14, p. 134. Works numbers were 9206, 9208-9210 in March 1888; 9215, 9217, 9219 in May; 9300, 9302 in June.

These Ten-wheelers served the CM until it was abandoned in July 1919. 31 then was sold to Robinson Land & Lumber Company and 34 went to Horse Shoe Lumber of River Falls, Ala. 37 traveled further, winding up on the Hershey de Cubano, the Hershey Corporations railroad near Havana.

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
Locobase ID11,125 11,673
RailroadColorado MidlandColorado Midland
Number in Class810
Road Numbers15-2229-38
Number Built810
BuilderSchenectadyBurnham, Parry, Williams & Co
Valve GearStephensonStephenson
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)12 / 3.6611.75 / 3.58
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)22.25 / 6.7821.92 / 6.68
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.54 0.54
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)48.67 / 14.8349.17 / 14.99
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)99,000 / 44,90688,000 / 39,916
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)121,000 / 54,885110,000 / 49,895
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)77,083 / 34,964
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)198,083 / 89,849
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)3800 / 14.393850 / 14.58
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / ML/MT)
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)55 / 27.5049 / 24.50
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)57 / 144849 / 1219
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)160 / 11160 / 11
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)19" x 26" / 483x66019" x 24" / 483x610
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)22,395 / 10158.2124,047 / 10907.55
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 4.42 3.66
Heating Ability
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)133.30 / 12.38155.50 / 14.45
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)28.60 / 2.6626.60 / 2.47
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)1914 / 177.811981 / 184.11
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)1914 / 177.811981 / 184.11
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume224.33251.53
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation45764256
Same as above plus superheater percentage45764256
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area21,32824,880
Power L145974577
Power MT307.11344.00

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Wes Barris