GE 23 Ton Narrow Gauge Box Cab Locomotives Page

{Transferred to sbiii.com 20 Jul 2006;
posting revised  06 Sep 2011;  20:30 ET}

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Two decades had passed since the first GE 23 Ton Box Cab was introduced when the above 23 Tonner came into view looking like a shiny new penny...  Beginning during 1961 construction of the Navajo Dam began as part of the Colorado River Storage Project which would result in a reservoir that would submerge the community of Arboles, Colorado and about 11-1/2 miles of the Denver & Rio Grande Western's 36" narrow gauge trackage...  At the time this was on the mainline between the centers of Chama, New Mexico and Durango, Colorado... and it became the responsibility of the U.S.Bureau of Reclamation to move the threatened trackage to higher ground and they hired a Contractor to perform this task...  Thus Smith's Contracting 23 Ton Box Cab #2 arrived to handle motive power duties...  Note the coupler pocket design which allowed for a "Rooster" to be attached to the slotted knuckles of ex? D&RGW Drop Bottom and High Side Gondolas (and perhaps other cars)...  Also the original front end vertical grab irons were replaced with lower horizonatal grab irons now anchored to the deckplate...  On the standard gauge GE 23 Ton Box Cabs the air reservoir ran Cross-ways between the frame sides... but on the narrow gauge version the side frames were moved closer to the center causing smaller diameter air reservoirs to be placed outside of the frames and under the 3-1/2" deckplate...  This image and the following B&W view were taken by A.M.Payne during 1962...

This view from the rear radiator end has the hinged metal protective door removed...  A fan is placed behind the radiator and the Cummins 6-cylinder HBI Diesel engine used (this power plant could be used on these Box Cabs up to a gauge as narrow as 32" with the same Traction Motor)...  The attached generator generally came to within 2" of the front of these units and the engineers seat & controls were to the right of the generator on standard gauge models...  This didn't leave much manuvering room for the engineer and on this narrow gauge unit he could either sit or stand on the fuel tank... but then these locomotives were not intended for any long distance running...

Sporting "Grande Gold" Safety Stripes, Smith's Contracting #2 looks right at home on the Denver & Rio Grande Western near Arboles, Colorado in this 1962 view courtesy of Garry Paine...  Originally this 23 tonner had been one of the two Ash Grove Lime & Cement 1939-built diesel-electrics and that it wore No.2 suggests that it might have retained the same Road Number from its original owner...  Disposition of this narrow gauge unit is currently unknown...


Assuming that General Electric might have rebuilt and/or "detailed" Smith's Contracting #2, it was not the first venture they made into 36" narrow gauge diesel-electric locomotives represented by the first two 23 tonners built for Ash Grove Lime & Cement...  When both GE and ALCO were moving in separate directions from the AGEIR consortium, GE built five (5) 35 Ton B-B Oil-electric 36" gauge Box Cabs for United Fruit Company to be exported for use on their Chiriqui Land Company rail operations in Panama & Costa Rica... and as the Ingersoll-Rand 300 HP Diesel engines were too large for constructing these units GE purchased Winton 6-cylinder 75 HP engines through EMC for constructing the following GE/Winton locomotives...

Chiriqui #6 - b/n 10837 - b/d 5/1929...
Chiriqui #7 - b/n 10838 - b/d 5/1929...
Chiriqui #8 - b/n 11084 - b/d 1/1930...
Chiriqui #9 - b/n 11085 - b/d 1/1930...
Chiriqui #10 - b/n 11086 - b/d 1/1930...

     

Web Site Notes:  John F. Campbell passed away far too soon on 23 Feb 2005; for more information, click here.  This site is now hosted in John's honor by his e-friend and fellow boxcab aficionado S. Berliner, III; more boxcab information and photographs can be found at SB,III's site, http://sbiii.com/boxcabs.html, et seq.  John's pages are not being changed or otherwise updated as to content, unless specifically so noted in {braces}.

To contact S. Berliner, III, please click here.



© 2001 by John F. Campbell; © Copyright S. Berliner, III - 2006, 2011  - All rights reserved.

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