Daniel Nason Locomotive
Locomotive No. 1: Minnetonka:
Northern Pacific Steam Locomotive No. 1: The wood-burning Minnetonka was the first locomotive to see service for the Northern Pacific Railway. Weighing 12 tons and stretching 27 ½ feet long including tender, the locomotive was purchased from Smith and Porter of Pittsburgh at a cost of $6,700. Built in 1880, it was the workhorse for the start of the NP transcontinental railway construction at Carlton, MN, twenty miles west of Duluth. It pulled long, heavy loads of ties and rail behind it. Work crews would lay some of the ties and rails down, spike them to the ground, and then the locomotive would move up a bit. They would lay some more track, and the locomotive would move up a bit. After a long time and a lot of hard work, the railroad was finally built. The Minnetonka worked the eastern end of the transcontinental line, and was transferred by rail and boat for construction work between Kalama and Tacoma, Washington after the line was completed.
The locomotive remained on the western end of the railroad until it was sold in 1886 to a logging company. The logging company added the small tender, which carried fuel only. In 1895, it was resold to another logging company, the Polson Logging Company of Hoquiam, Washington, and became known as "Old Betsy." It was retired and abandoned in 1928. The Minnetonka's original smokestack was modified to provide for a safer operation. The one seen today is larger, with additional screening installed to control the emission of sparks from the burning wood. The headlight is a kerosene lantern. The box on top, marked #1, was used to dispense sand for traction, similar to the WILLIAM CROOKS. The locomotive has small drive wheels for strength and heavy load service where speed is not an issue. To add weight over the drive wheels, thus increasing the locomotive's strength for pulling heavy loads, there is a water tank over the boiler. It sits over the boiler like a saddle, hence referred to as a saddle tank design, and carries extra water.
After a lengthy search by NP, the Minnetonka was discovered in the woods near Hoquiam and was sent to St. Paul for restoration. The little engine was sent to both the Chicago and New York Worlds Fairs in the 1930s, and was also under steam at the 1948 Chicago railroad fair. The Minnetonka is owned by the Burlington Northern, and is on custodial loan the Museum. Item on indefinite custodial loan from Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad.
(Text copied from the Lake Superior Railroad Museum.)
Railway Post Office
Hannibal & St. Joseph RR
The very first instance of mail being sorted en-route was when the Chicago Postmaster decided to conduct an experiment to see if this would improve delivery times.
The Hannibal & St. Joseph RR runs across the upper part of Missouri as part of a route from Chicago to Kansas and from there to the routes being built to the Southwest and to Denver.
At the Postmaster's insistence, they modified a standard wood baggage car with improvised plank tables and oil lamps, and on July 28, 1862, the first actual Railway Post Office run was made.
(Excerpt from North East Rails: click the following link for more information about RPO and other related railway history www.northeast.railfan.net/classic/RPOdata1.html
Boston & Providence
"Daniel Nason" Locomotive - Built in 1863
G. S. Griggs, the builder, was motive power superintendent for the B&P. From "A Little Story of the Boston & Providence Railroad Company" by Charles E. Fisher (privately printed booklet, 1917). The B&P was leased by the Old Colony in 1888. The Old Colony, in turn, was leased by the New Haven in 1893. This locomotive is preserved today at the Museum of Transportation in suburban St. Louis.
(Text take from The NERAIL New England Railroad Photo Archive click the link for more pages on railroad history.)
Photo submitted by Patrick Connors courtesy of the Arcade & Attica Railroad Collection