The following timeline of the D&RGW 223 was researched and compiled by Joshua Bernhard, a member of the Golden Spike Chapter of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society. Without his research efforts, this historic timeline would not exist.
Swineburn, Smith & Co., Foundry, makes plans to begin building locomotives at their small shop in Patterson, New Jersey.
Swineburn leaves the company, and SS&Co. is reorganized as the New Jersey Locomotive & Machine Co.
March 21, 1866
The NJL&M Co. is renamed to The Grant Locomotive Works after then-president Oliver DeForest Grant. Larger, more modern shops are built on Pine and Jersey Streets in Patterson.
October 27, 1870
The Denver & Rio Grande Railroad is incorporated by William Jackson Palmer.
The Baldwin Locomotive Works is contracted to build new 2-8-0 locomotives for the D&RG. They are unable to fulfill the order, so transfer 28 of the locomotives to the Grant Locomotive Works to be built to Baldwin specs.
The 223 is completed at a cost of $11,553.00 and shipped to the D&RG’s Burnham Shop in Denver.
The Denver, South Park & Pacific begins laying track on what will later become the Baldwin Branch.
January 3, 1890
Grant Locomotive Works moves to Chicago, becoming the Grant Locomotive Works of Chicago.
December 11 1892
At 5:45 a fire was reported in the railroad’s Salida, Colorado, Shop. The fire started in the waste box of Consolidation no. 419, and eventually destroyed the shop and sixteen other locomotives, including the 223, which was promptly rebuilt.
Grant Locomotive Works falls into receivership. Only 12 more locomotives are built before the company closes for good.
The Colorado & Southern obtains the Baldwin Branch.
January 17, 1905
At 4:00 that morning a fire was reported in the Gunnison, Colorado, roundhouse where the 223 was sheltered. Again, the 223 was rebuilt after the fire.
The 223’s rebuild is underway. Among the improvements is a new tender tank.
The 223 and sister C-16 No. 203 are loaned to the Rio Grande Southern.
At about this time the 223’s fluted domes are replaced with “modern” Baldwin Domes.
The D&RG takes over operations of the Colorado & Southern’s Baldwin Branch in return for the transfer of the Blue River Branch to the C&S. The C&S retains ownership.
The 223 is again loaned to the Rio Grande Southern.
The Rio Grande shop crews build a new tender frame for the 223.
The 223’s oil headlight is replaced with an electric one.
The D&RG falls into receivership after the bankruptcy of subsidiary Western Pacific.
Once again the 223, with other C-16s, is loaned to the Rio Grande Southern.
The New Mexico Lumber Company leases the 223 for ten days.
July 21, 1921
The D&RG is reorganized, formally merging with subsidiary Rio Grande Western to form the Denver & Rio Grande Western.
September 12, 1922
The 223 collides with No. 222 in the Chama, New Mexico, yard. No details of the wreck were recorded.
The 223 is upgraded with a new air compressor and air reservoir. In addition, the 1-1/4″ throttle valve and SD-5 duplex governor are replaced with a 1-1/2″ throttle and SD-6 governor. Total cost: $289.64.
Under the 7th amendment to the 1892 Safety Appliance Act, the 223 receives cab curtains as part of an improvement program for the C-16s. This involved replacement of the existing curtains and storm windows, as well as modifications to the tenders.
August 13 1937
The Colorado & Southern abandons its narrow gauge lines, including the Baldwin Branch, which is finally purchased outright by the D&RGW. The C&S provided the materials to rebuild the track on the branch, which was in dire need of upgrades, having retained the original Denver South Park & Pacific 35-pound rail and stub switches. The 223 and 278 are assigned to the necessary work trains.
July 4, 1940
223 and 278 make a run on the Baldwin Branch, and noted railfans Otto Perry, Jack Thode, and R.H. Metcalf chase the train. Their photographs are the last known of the 223 in operation.
Salt Lake City requests a steam locomotive for display in a park. For unknown reasons the 223 was selected. Nos. 268 and 278 are left as the last C-16s in operation on the Rio Grande.
The 223 is moved to the Salida, Colorado shop and given a fake diamond stack, fake box headlight, link-and-pin couplers and a fanciful “1880s” paint scheme.
July 24, 1941
The 223 is paraded down Main Street for the Pioneer Day celebration. Later that day she is unloaded and placed on a short display track next to the Tracy Aviary in Liberty Park, where a dedication ceremony took place. The D&RGW kept ownership of the locomotive.
The 223 is officially retired, being taken off the list of operational locomotives.
The D&RGW abandons the Baldwin Branch. The track from Castleton to Baldwin is removed. All coal mined in Baldwin is now shipped by truck.
D&RGW vice president R. Knox Bradford transfers ownership of the 223 to Salt Lake City. The crews of the Salt Lake Shop renovate the 223, repainting her in a 1930s paint scheme. Bradford also donates a bronze plaque with a brief history of the 223.
The Baldwin Branch is abandoned, and the last of the C-16s, No. 268, is retired.
January 11, 1979
Salt Lake City no longer wants the locomotive. The 223 is transferred to the Utah State Historical Society.
May 23 1979
The 223 is added to the National Register of Historic Places.
March 27, 1980
The 223 is moved to the old Rio Grande/Western Pacific Union Station where the historical society is headquartered. Moving crews block the locomotive improperly and the fireman’s side main rod is bent.
The last of the Rio Grande Narrow Gauge is sold in this year to the Durango & Silverton in Colorado.
Rio Grande Industries purchases Southern Pacific, adopting the SP branding.
The USHS hires professional restorationist John Bush to head a study of restoration feasibility. Mr. Bush headed the restoration of D&RGW T-12 No. 169 in Colorado Springs, and now works for the Roaring Camp & Big Trees Railroad in California. It is determined that cosmetic restoration could range in cost between $88,000 and one million dollars.
The Ogden Union Station is designated as the Utah State Railroad Museum.
September 26, 1992
It is decided to move the 223 to the USRRM. Upon arrival in Ogden, the 223 is placed behind the Shupe-Williams Candy Company factory along with short caboose 0573 and a narrow gauge boxcar and gondola, and is adopted by the Golden Spike Chapter of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society. Restoration begins immediately.
September 11, 1996
The Rio Grande is no more- Rio Grande Industries is sold to Union Pacific.
The new century brings the completion of the dynamo and one the 223’s air pumps, restored from chapter funds and a grant from the Hostlers Model Railroad Club.
The pilot is completed. The pilot beam broke in two upon removal, so a new beam was obtained from a sawmill in Tennessee.
An article about the 223 by Jerry Day is published in the January issue of The Prospector, a publication of the Rio Grande Modeling & Historical Society.
March 11, 2006
The candy factory burns down under suspicious circumstances. To protect surrounding buildings, the 223 and associated narrow gauge cars are ignored, and the caboose and boxcar burn to the ground. The parts from the cars are sold to Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad and the Roaring Camp & Big Trees. The 223 receives minimal damage as all wood parts had already been removed.
The Durango Railway Historical Society has problems with the tender trucks of their locomotive, D&RGW 315. Both the 223 and the 315 have the same kind of Thielsen Standard Truck, so arrangements are made to loan the 223’s trucks to the DRHS for the 9th annual Railfest in Durango, Colorado.
November 10th, 2007
The trucks are returned and placed back under the tender frame.
A local Boy Scout makes a DVD of the chapter’s restoration efforts and sells copies to raise money for the restoration.
The chapter celebrates 130 years of the 223’s existence. Commemorative baseball caps are made with the dates “1881” and “2011” on either side of a stylized Rio Grande herald.
Grant Locomotive Works. Gerald M. Best. PDF scan of typewritten manuscript dated 8/78.
Report to Interstate Commerce Commission, Bureau of Valuation by the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad Company. Equipment changes for the period 6-0, 1919 to Dec. 31, 1927. Sheet 17. Copy at the Utah State Railroad Museum archives.
Rio Grande’s Grant-Built C-16 Number 223. Jerry Day. The Prospector, January 2005. RGM&HS.
D&RGW Car Card No. 18903 (36), Jackson Thode Collection. Scan at the Utah State Railroad Museum Archives.
Authorities for Expenditure nos. 3950 and 1622