Class 70 History


D&RG 401, June 1923. Photo by Otto Perry.

The twelve 2-8-0 Class 70 locomotives that were delivered to the D&RG in 1881 arrived over the course of five months. In May, D&RG 402, the “Shoshone” was delivered with two others of the same class. The 402 was among five of the 1881 consolidations that were rebuilt for standard gauge switcher use just a few years after they arrived. In 1888, the old Shoshone became standard gauge Class 74 #800. Twelve years later, the 800 was again rebuilt and placed into service on narrow gauge rails. Emerging from the shops this time as D&RG #401, the diamond stack kettle would soon be equipped with automatic couplers and the latest innovations in Westinghouse airbrake equipment. By the mid 1910s, many of the old nineteenth century locomotives were being re-fitted with steel boilers following new government safety guidelines. The 401 emerged from the shop around January of 1914 with an extended smokebox, shotgun stack, and most likely a change in the air-compressor mounting and accompanying piping arrangement. By June of 1915, the 401 was fitted with a dynamo and electric headlight. In the midst of all the revisions to the old locomotive, she would still retain the nineteenth century Baldwin cast smokebox front for a few more years. The ICC Steam Locomotive Valuations of 1919 show the 401 fitted with a single 9 ½” air compressor. In 1924, the 401 was re-numbered 341 and two 9½ inch compressors eventually replaced the single 11-inch version hanging on her left side since the early 20s. The 341 would finish its working years in this general configuration and was scrapped in January of 1939.