Heisler Locomotive Notes

Geared Steam Locomotive Works

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This page provides various additional information about selected individual Heisler locomotives found on this site.   The information is organized by  Shop Number  (S/N).


s/n 1136 - Green Lumber Co. added 11/26/2002
Although the road number on the side of the cab shows a #8, David Price confirmed his roster information does show the recorded road number at Green Lumber Company as being #3.


s/n 1351 - Blake Brothers Construction #1 - added 9/24/2002

From - "The Western Railroader", May 1965, Vol.28, No.5; Issue 304
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The standby Heisler that Blake Bros. had at its plant until 1963 was a diamond frame model weighing 47 tons.  It was used from 1917 to sometime in the 1930s on 2-1/2 miles of a curving and gradient copper railroad of the Bluestone Mining & Smelting Company west from Mason, Nevada on the Nevada Copper Belt.  It was the road's only power besides some narrow gauge electric engines.  It was bought by equipment dealer F. L. Botsford in 1939.

During heavy wartime use of the Whitcomb and before 1960 it was often out of service for repairs for long periods before there was time to fix it, necessitating the need of a spare standby engine.  A spare engine was sought resulting in the purchase of the Heisler from Botsford in 1944 and its moving from Nevada to California.

The Heisler was partly stripped and needed reshopping.  The over-hauling and repair work was done by Pete Baromini, a former engineer of the Michigan-California Lumber Company in the traction company shops during the winter of 1944.  The engine was completely rebuilt except for the cylinder caps - which were lacking when it operated at Richmond.  At the Blake Bros. plant, prior to the mid-1950s, the Heisler would be used for as much as 4 or 5 months out of the year and once operated daily for 8 months.  The engine worked backwards in going to the transfer.  Except to transfer asphalt sand hoppers from the pier's edge to the plant, the Heisler didn't operate out on the length of the pier but was first stored there when bought until a spur could be built for it.  The engine was last used by the company around 1959 about the time Blake Bros. discontinued shipment of everything except the now occasional rock.  The Heisler was oiled from a truck and stored off a spur in the open near the Whitcomb's shed.

One June 16, 1961 the Pacific Locomotive Ass'n. operated the engine for its last time on the line back and forth to Castro Point for a day  long excursion. (They lettered her for BBCo. and renumbered her #1 for the occasion)

Except for the one fan trip, the engine was stored idle on its spur from around 1959 to May, 1963.  Locomotive collector Bert Rudolph had bought the engine from the Blake Bros. in October, 1962 and in May, 1963 it was trucked away to Willits, California to be preserved.  It now rests at Willits in an aluminum shed.  The Whitcomb's operator from 1925 to 1942 was a John Mayers.  Pete Icardo had charge of the Whit- comb from 1942 to 1963 and the Heisler from 1944 to its last running in 1961.

Specifications: 2-Truck  Heisler - built 1916 - SN 1351 - 47 tons - 36" drivers - 15" x 12" cylinders -  Diamond Frame 


Owners: 
ex-Bluestone Mining & Smelting Co. 1 - Mason, Nevada (new)
Mason Valley Mines Co. (Eimco Corp.) - Mason, Nevada 1929
Botsford, F. L. , (equipment dealer) - San Francisco, Calif. 1939
Blake Bros. Co. 6 - Richmond, Calif. 1944 - Standby until 1959
Rudolph, B.  - Willits, Calif. 10/1962  - (Moved 5/1963) - Preserved.
_

Article provided courtesy of Marc Reusser
  
Marc explains the "traction company shops" referred in the article:

 "The  Key System and Oakland Traction Co.  leased land from Blake Brothers so they could run their line through the quarry and company grounds to a ferry pier built by the Richmond and San Rafael Ferry Co., which was adjacent to B.B.'s rock/barge pier.   Later,  this line was relocated, improved, and jointly financed by Key System and Blake Brothers. This line was built as the common carrier "Castro Point Railway and Terminal Co." "


s/n 1354 - Snohomish Logging Co. #6  - added 8/11/2002

The locomotive is being delivered from the factory as part of a west bound freight train.    The Heisler company's delivery practice for new locomotives was to transport those standard gauge locomotives weighing more than 40 tons using their own wheels.  The company would contract with the required railroads to have the locomotive transported as part of a regularly scheduled freight train.   New locomotives that were narrow gauge or weighing less than 40 tons were loaded onto flat cars for delivery.

The gears were removed from those transported on their own wheels to allow the wheels to rotate freely and at the same speeds as the remainder of the cars in the transport train.

The Snohomish locomotive photo shows the company's practice of removing items subject to theft or damage and placing them in the cab for safe keeping during the journey.   The bell, whistle, sand dome cap, and road number "spot plate" have been so removed.   The headlight face has been "boarded up" to prevent damage.  The sand dome cap has been temporarily replaced with a circular cover plate to prevent loss of the cap.   The large "Heisler" sign located next to the boiler was for advertising purposes in transit.

What is unusual in this photograph is the lack of protection for the windows.   They were typically "boarded up" also to prevent damage in transport.

A Heisler company engineer would travel with the locomotive to its destination.  He would have living provisions and stay in the cab during the trip.   Expediting the delivery, lubrication, and final  setup at the customer's location were some of his responsibilities.  130d            


s/n 1424 - W. T. Smith Lbr. Co. #15 - added 01/08/2013

        Although the specifications noted for this locomotive are from The Heisler Locomotive 1891 - 1941, this author questions their accuracy for the following reasons:
        #1.  The build date noted for s/n 1423 and 1425 from the above source is 1920.
        #2.  This site's photo depicts a locomotive that is larger than the 22 ton build weight noted in the above source.
           

 

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