D&RGW K-27

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D&RGW K-27 Class
Ex-D&RGW 464 on the Huckleberry Railroad, Flint, Michigan.jpg
Denver & Rio Grande Western K-27 #464 on the Huckleberry Railroad.
Type and origin
References:[1][2]
Power type Steam
Builder Baldwin Locomotive Works
Build date 1903
Specifications
Configuration:
 • Whyte 2-8-2 Mikado
 • UIC 1′D1′ n4v, later 1′D1′ h2
Gauge 3 ft (914 mm)
Leading dia. 28 in (711 mm)
Driver dia. 40 in (1,016 mm)
Trailing dia. 28 in (711 mm)
Wheelbase 24.5 feet (7.5 m)
Length 33.7 feet (10.3 m)
Adhesive weight 105,425 lb (48 t)
Loco weight 136,650 lb (62 t)
Fuel type Coal
Boiler pressure 200 lbf/in2 (1.38 MPa)
Cylinders Original: Four
Vauclain compound,
Later: Two, simple
Cylinder size Original: 13 in × 22 in (330 mm × 559 mm)
and 22 in × 22 in (559 mm × 559 mm)
Later: 17 in × 22 in (432 mm × 559 mm)
Valve gear see table
Valve type see table
Loco brake Air
Train brakes Air
Performance figures
Tractive effort 27,000 lbf (120 kN)
Career
Operators Denver & Rio Grande
Denver & Rio Grande Western
Rio Grande Southern
Cumbres & Toltec Scenic
Huckleberry Railroad
Class
  • D&RG: 125
  • D&RGW: K-27
Number in class 15
Numbers 450–464
Nicknames Mudhen
Locale California, Colorado, Mexico, Michigan, New Mexico
Preserved Two: D&RGW #463 and #464

The D&RGW K-27 class are 3 foot narrow gauge, Mikado type, 2-8-2 steam railway locomotives built for the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1903. They eventually became known by the nickname "Mudhens," and are the smallest of the four K classes of Rio Grande narrow gauge engines. Only two of the original 15 "Mudhens" survives to this day.

Origins[edit]

Fifteen locomotives were built, originally class 125, reclassified K-27 in 1924 when the Denver and Rio Grande became the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. The K-27s were built as Vauclain compounds, with two cylinders on each side, expanding the steam once in the smaller cylinder and then a second time in the larger one. The extra maintenance costs of the two cylinders were greater than the fuel saving, so they were converted to simple expansion in 1907–1909. They were Rio Grande's last purchase of compound locomotives. They were built with their main structural frames outside the driving wheels, with the counterweights and rods attached outside the frames.[2]

They had one peculiarity which arose from their outside frames and counterweights. In places where the D&RG's standard gauge system met the narrow gauge system, the railroad operated dual gauge trackage, with three rails, so that standard gauge equipment ran on the outer two rails and three foot gauge equipment ran on one of the outer rails and a third rail, inside the other two. Since the narrow gauge equipment was much lighter than the standard gauge, the inner rail was generally lighter and, therefore, not as tall as the standard gauge rails. In the case of the D&RGW, the difference was ⅞ inch (22 mm). Because the counterweights were outside the frames, they ended up directly over the standard gauge rail, with a clearance of only about ⅝ inch (16 mm). When the shop crews trued up the drivers periodically, they had to be very careful not to go too far.[2]

They pulled freight, passenger and mixed trains on the D&RGW in and over the Colorado Rocky Mountains, traversing the entire length of the railroad. Many of them also spent time on the Rio Grande's subsidiary, the Rio Grande Southern.

Preservation[edit]

Two K-27s survive today. D&RGW #463 was sold to cowboy actor and singer Gene Autry in May 1955. Autry never used the Mudhen and donated it to the City of Antonito, Colorado. It was restored by and entered into service on the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad in 1994. It was taken out of service with a broken side rod in 2002. In 2009, it was moved to the railroad's shop at Chama, New Mexico where a major rebuild was performed.[3] The engine made its inaugural run after the rebuild on the C&TS on May 20, 2013.[4] 463 was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 as Engine No. 463.

The other K-27 in existence is D&RGW #464. It sat outside in Durango, Colorado during the 1960s and was sold to Knott's Berry Farm in 1973. It saw little or no use there, in part because of its condition and in part because of the counterweight clearance problem described above. The Huckleberry Railroad in Flint, Michigan, acquired the locomotive in 1981, did an eight-year restoration on it, and put it into active service.[5][6]

Details[edit]

The K-27s went through a variety of modifications during their 36 to 107+ years of service. They ended up in three distinct groups, with many different details such as the location of the air tanks, whether or not they had a doghouse on the tender for the head brakeman, and so forth. The most important of these details are:[2]

Number Builder's Number Equipment after rebuild Ultimate Disposition
450 21677 slide valve cylinders Stored in Alamosa, Colorado in 1932.Scrapped 1939
451 21685 slide valve cylinders Stored 1932. Scrapped 1939
452 21803 piston valves outboard of cylinders, Walschaerts valve gear, superheater Out of service in 1951. Scrapped 1954
453 21824 piston valves outboard of cylinders, Walschaerts valve gear, superheater Used for switching at Durango, Colorado until 1953. Scrapped 1954
454 21832 piston valves inboard of cylinders, Walschaerts valve gear, superheater Used as a switcher at Montrose, Colorado. Scrapped, 1953
455 21845 piston valves outboard of cylinders, Walschaerts valve gear, superheater Traded to RGS, wrecked 1943, rebuilt 1947 using parts from a standard gauge locomotive, scrapped 1953
456 21854 piston valves inboard of cylinders, Walschaerts valve gear, superheater Gunnison, Colorado switcher. Scrapped 1956
457 21894 slide valve cylinders Stored at Alamosa, Colorado in 1932. Scrapped 1939
458 21910 piston valves inboard of cylinders, Walschaerts valve gear, superheater Sold to National Railways of Mexico in 1941, converted to standard gauge in June and renumbered 2251, 1949, scrapped in 1957
459 21936 piston valves outboard of cylinders, Walschaerts valve gear, superheater Sold to National Railways of Mexico, converted to standard gauge July 1949 and renumbured 2250, scrapped 1963
460 21728 slide valve cylinders Last breath in Salida, CO. Scrapped 1939
461 21729 piston valves inboard of cylinders, Walschaerts valve gear, superheater Sold to RGS, scrapped 1961
462 21781 piston valves outboard of cylinders, Walschaerts valve gear, but did not have super heating Scrapped 1950. The preserved Tender is at the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad in Chama, New Mexico.
463 21788 piston valves outboard of cylinders, Walschaerts valve gear, superheater To Gene Autry, 1955
Then static display at Antonito
Now operational on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad in New Mexico and Colorado
464 21796 piston valves outboard of cylinders, Walschaerts valve gear, superheater Static display at Durango
To Knotts Berry Farm, 1973
Now operational on the Huckleberry Railroad in Michigan

References[edit]

  1. ^ Official Roster No. 11 of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad System. Denver: The Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad System. April 1, 1923. p. 94. 
  2. ^ a b c d Brewster, Allen J. (March and June, 1973). "D&RG's K-27, parts 1 and 2". Model Railroader. Milwaukee: Kalmbach.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. ^ "A chronicle of the rebuilding of D&RGW locomotive #463". DRGW463.COM. Retrieved 6 February 2010. 
  4. ^ Miller, Janneli (2013-07-01). "Going loco over locomotives". Four Corners Free Press. Retrieved 2016-03-15. 
  5. ^ "Denver & Rio Grande Locomotive History: 464". Rio Grande Modeling and Historical Society. Retrieved 28 January 2010. 
  6. ^ "Primary Locomotives of the Huckleberry Railroad, #2 and #464". Huckleberry Railroad. Archived from the original on January 19, 2010. Retrieved 6 February 2010. 
  • O'Berry, Dennis. (1995). The Mudhens, A Photographic History.

External links[edit]