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Great Northern Locomotives 1864-1958

From the April 1958 issue of Locomotive Engineers Journal published by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, pages 4-6.

By Clifford D. Kempf, General Chairman, Great Northern Railway

The Great Northern completed dieselization last year.  In the heyday of steam, the Great Northern had a stable of 1,350 "iron horses."  Today's fleet of power consists of 650 diesel units.

With the help of the GN public relations department, Rail Photo Service and others, I have compiled an album of 70 photographs of the carrier's power through the years.  It is a pleasure to accept The Journal's invitation to present a good sample of them here.

Most interesting to me has been the change in power through Cascade Tunnel in Washington.  The first tunnel was completed in 1900 and electrified in 1909.  It was relocated in 1929 at a lower elevation.  It is the longest (7.79 miles) in this hemisphere.

In 1956, a ventilation project was completed, allowing the change to diesels.

COVER PICTURES (above) are also from Brother Kempf's album.  Top photo is of the Oriental Limited alongside Puget Sound in 1909; beneath it, a multiple-unit diesel pulls a present-day freight train around Horseshoe Curve, Blacktail, Montana.

Early engine, the William Crooks, belonged to the St. Paul & Pacific Railroad, a Great Northern predecessor.  It is shown here near Elk River, Minnesota in 1864.

Elongated stack was feature of steam locomotive used before electrification of original Cascade tunnel in 1909.  This picture was taken in 1902.

Type S-2 engine was typical of the heavy passenger power in use for many years on the Great Northern.  It will be scrapped soon, Brother Kempf reports.

Two 5,000 hp single-cab electric locomotives were built by General Electric in 1946 for use in the Cascade Mountains.  They are now being scrapped.

Class O-6 engine which saw lots of freight service in the 1920's had Belpaire boiler and front-mounted air pumps.

1942 photograph taken in the Rockies foreshadows the ascendancy of the diesel.

American Flags decorate this old-timer built by the Rogers Locomotive Works at Paterson, NJ in 1887.  Picture was taken in 1890's at Barnesville or Crookston, MN.

F-7 types were given to the Korean Government during the Korean War.

Last steam engine to run out of Seattle, March 1953, was this P-2 type.

When steam reigned, the Empire Builder looked like this as it pulled out of St. Paul.

GP-9 diesel-electric emerges from the east portal of Cascade Tunnel.  Ventilation project completed in 1956 allowed conversion from electric to diesel power.

Coal burner was called largest locomotive in world when it was built by Brooks in 1897.  Weight on drivers was 172,000 pounds.

Approaching Minot, ND, an R-2 type pulls a freight.  Great Northern completed dieselization last year.