Jupiter (locomotive)

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CP steam loco.jpg
Jupiter replica at Golden Spike N.H.S.
Type and origin
Power type Steam
Builder Schenectady Locomotive Works (original)
O'Connor Engineering Laboratories (replica)
Serial number 505
Build date September 1868 (original)
1979 (replica)
Configuration 4-4-0
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Fuel type Wood, converted to coal in 1893
Operator(s) Central Pacific Railroad, Southern Pacific Railroad, Gila Valley, Globe and Northern Railroad
Number(s) 60 (CP), renum 1195 in 1891, GVG&N 1 in 1893
Official name Jupiter
First run March 20, 1869
Disposition Scrapped in 1909; replica built in 1979
Celebration of completion of the Transcontinental Railroad, May 10, 1869, showing the name Jupiter on the side of the tender

The Jupiter (officially known as Central Pacific Railroad #60) was a 4-4-0 steam locomotive which made history as one of the two locomotives (the other being the Union Pacific No. 119) to meet at Promontory Summit during the Golden Spike ceremony commemorating the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad.

The Jupiter was built in September 1868 by the Schenectady Locomotive Works of New York, along with three other engines, numbered 61, 62, and 63, named the Storm, Whirlwind, and Leviathan, respectively. These four engines were then dismantled and sailed to San Francisco, California, where they were loaded onto a river barge and sent to the Central Pacific headquarters in Sacramento, then reassembled and commissioned into service on March 20, 1869.

The Jupiter was a wood-burning locomotive. The distinctive conical chimney, known as a 'balloon stack', contained a spark arrestor.

This engine was scrapped in 1909, and a replica was built in 1979, 70 years after scrapping.

Golden Spike Ceremony[edit]

The Jupiter leads the train that carried Leland Stanford, one of the "Big Four" owners of the Central Pacific Railroad, and other railway officials to the Golden Spike Ceremony.

The Jupiter was not Leland Stanford's original choice for transporting his party to the Golden Spike site. Originally, Stanford's train was to be pulled by another Central Pacific locomotive, the Antelope. For some distance, this train followed closely behind a regularly scheduled train pulled by the Jupiter. However, at one point the two trains were to go through a cut where a logging camp resided atop the hill. Apparently, either the Jupiter did not wear the proper flag to designate an extra following close behind, or the workers had failed to notice the flag. As a result, once the Jupiter passed, the workers rolled a large log down the mountain, which struck the Antelope. With the engine damaged, a message was sent to the upcoming station to hold the approaching train. There, Stanford's consist was added to the Jupiter‍ '​s train.

Later career[edit]

After the ceremony, Jupiter continued in service for the Central Pacific. In the 1870s, the railroad decided to end their practice of naming their engines, and thus, the Jupiter name was dropped and the engine was simply known as C.P. #60. The locomotive also received many new upgrades such as a new boiler, cowcatcher, domes, and smokestack. In 1891, the Southern Pacific, which acquired the Central Pacific in 1885, began renumbering its locomotives. As part of this renumbering, the former Jupiter engine #60 became S.P. #1195. In 1893 it was converted to burn coal, and later that year was sold to the Gila Valley, Globe and Northern Railroad and designated GVG&N #1. In 1909 the locomotive which no longer resembled the original Jupiter was sold to scrappers for $1,000.

Later reproductions[edit]

The Jupiter in a Golden Spike ceremony reenactment at the Chicago Railroad Fair. In this instance, the engine is actually the Virginia and Truckee Genoa painted and lettered to resemble the Jupiter.

The Southern Pacific had not acknowledged the Jupiter‍ '​s significance until well after the engine had been scrapped. The railroad later used a stand-in for the Jupiter, usually Virginia and Truckee Railroad's Genoa locomotive, to celebrate the road's legacy at various events, such as the Chicago Railroad Fair.

In 1969, another stand-in for the Jupiter was placed on display, this one at the Golden Spike National Historic Site to celebrate the centennial of the Golden Spike. In this instance, the engine was portrayed by Virginia and Truckee Railroad's Inyo.

In 1974, the National Park Service had approached O'Connor Engineering Laboratories of Costa Mesa, California, to construct exact, full-size replicas of the Jupiter and Union Pacific 119. As was the case with the engines themselves, no drawings or plans of the engines survived, necessitating entirely new drawings to be produced based mostly on photos of the engines as well as research done on similar engines built around the same time. That same year, the existing engines portraying the Jupiter and 119 (the latter portrayed by the Virginia and Truckee Railroad's Dayton), had been sold to the state of Nevada, though they remained displayed at the Golden Spike NHS until the construction of the new replicas was complete. Noted railroad historian and steam engine owner Gerald M. Best served as engineering consultant to the Park Service for the project. Over 700 detailed engineering drawings were recreated, based almost entirely on the photographs taken of the engines during the ceremony, as the original drawings had not been preserved. Disney animator and steam engine owner Ward Kimball did color matching and original artwork for the Jupiter and No. 119.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10]

The replicas were completed in 1979, and began operations on May 10 of that year, 110 years after the original Golden Spike ceremony, and continue to make demonstration runs.[11]

Other historic Jupiter locomotives[edit]

Jupiter was known as "King of Gods" or "God of Sky", and it was common for railroads of the 1800s to name engines after this and other mythological legends to invoke awe and wonder. Thus, there have been many engines named "Jupiter" by their respective railroads that, apart from the name, had little else in common with the engine of Golden Spike fame. One such engine is Santa Cruz Railroad no. 3, also named Jupiter.[12] This engine, owned by the Smithsonian Museum, is also a wood-burning 4-4-0. However, this engine was built for narrow-gauge track, unlike the broader standard gauge of the trains at the Golden Spike ceremony.


The Disney film "The Lone Ranger" features a locomotive named for and modeled after the Jupiter engine, which attends a golden spike ceremony for the film's fictional Trans-Continental Railroad. The ceremony leads to a furious chase and fighting aboard both the Jupiter and the T.C.R.R.'s "Constitution" train, culminating in the Jupiter plunging off a damaged bridge and into the river below. The bluegrass band Railroad Earth has a song entitled "The Jupiter and the 119" about the meeting of the two trains.

In 2015, a Lego model depicting the Jupiter locomotive was submitted to the Lego Ideas website.[13][14]


  1. ^ Dowty, Robert R., Rebirth of the Jupiter and the 119: Building the Replica Locomotives at Golden Spike, Tucson, AZ: Southwest Parks & Monuments Association, 1994, p. 35.
  2. ^ Pentrex, 1997.
  3. ^ "Colored Steam Locomotives," SteamLocomotive.com (http://www.steamlocomotive.com/colored/) Retrieved 8-17-2011.
  4. ^ "Question: Engineering Drawings for the Jupiter and No. 119," CPRR Discussion Group (http://discussion.cprr.net/2005/10/question-engineering-drawings-for.html), Retrieved 8-17-2011.
  5. ^ "Golden Spike," National Park Service, Dept. of the Interior, Golden Spike National Historic Site, Brigham City, UT (http://www.nps.gov/gosp/historyculture/upload/jupiter%202.pdf), Retrieved 8-17-2011.
  6. ^ "Union Pacific's 119" Golden Spike Pictures (http://users.tns.net/~path/GS119.html), Retrieved 8-17-2011.
  7. ^ Best, Gerald M., Promontory's Locomotives, pp. 12-43, Golden West Books, San Marino, CA, 1980.
  8. ^ "Central Pacific Jupiter and Union Pacific 119 at Promontory, UT, 6-8-09" YouTube video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yv54hDAvJwk&feature=related), Retrieved 11/24/11.
  9. ^ "Promontory Locomotive Project: Plans for the Jupiter and No. 119," DVD, Western National Parks Ass'n.
  10. ^ Broggie, Michael. Walt Disney's Railroad Story: The Small-Scale Fascination that Led to a Full-Scale Kingdom, pp. 149-50, second edition, The Donning Company Publishers, Virginia Beach, Virginia, 2006. ISBN 1-57864-309-0.
  11. ^ Broggie, Michael. Walt Disney's Railroad Story: The Small-Scale Fascination that Led to a Full-Scale Kingdom, pp. 149-50, second edition, The Donning Company Publishers, Virginia Beach, Virginia, 2006. ISBN 1-57864-309-0.
  12. ^ The narrow-gauge Jupiter at the Smithsonian
  13. ^ Lego Ideas - Golden Spike Ceremony
  14. ^ Salt Lake Tribune - How this Utah monument could become a new Lego set