No. 300

Please enjoy this 2003 article about the No. 300. This page will be updated shortly.

 

No. 300 Steam Locomotive

The Heber Valley Railroad acquired the rare 0-6-0 type steam locomotive, the former Columbia Steel Corporation No. 300 in 2003.

A true “Utah” engine, No. 300 worked all of its life in the Beehive State. It was retired in the 1950’s. It was used as switch engine at the Columbia Steel Corporation’s iron manufacturing plant at Ironton, Utah. The Ironton Works, as it was known, was one of the largest pig iron plants in the west, and was built beginning in 1922 by Columbia Steel on a 385-acre site near Springville, Utah. To move slag cars between the coking plant and blast furnaces, Columbia ordered a single 0-6-0 (six driving wheels but no lead or under-the-cab wheels) from the Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia, which was delivered in 1923 and numbered 200.

The next year the plant was in full production and the first pig iron was produced. Coal was mined locally and delivered to the plant by Columbia’s own short-line railroad, the Carbon County Railway. Apparently in need of another steam locomotive at Ironton, Columbia Steel ordered another 0-6-0 which then numbered 300. It was built and delivered to the plant in May 1925. Modern in design, No. 300 features piston valves, power reverse, and a Westinghouse cross compound air compressor. By comparison sister No. 200 was a bit older in design, having just one single stage compressor. The unique tender which slopes in the rear was to allow the engineer a better view while switching train cars.

During the early 1940’s the Ironton plant began a slow decline. This was primarily due to the opening of the Geneva Steel Works in Orem, Utah. Geneva Steel, which now owned the Ironton Works, was purchased by United State Steel in 1946. No. 300 became Geneva Steel 300 on paper, although in all likelihood it never worked at the mill in Orem.

The last days of steam at Ironton came in the late 1950s. It is unclear when No. 300 was retired, but by 1960 the plant had changed to diesel locomotives and both of the old steam locomotives were taken out of service. The No. 200 was eventually scrapped, but in the early 1960’s the Geneva Recreation Association, a steelworkers employee group, were given the No. 300 and placed it on display at their park in Provo.

In early 2003 the GRA offered the engine to the Heber Valley Railroad.

Remarkably, No. 300 has probably met our No. 618 locomotive. The No. 618’s last assignment on the Union Pacific was clearing snow and working as a switcher at the Ironton yard from 1952 until its retirement in 1958. It is conceivable that the two locomotives exchanged whistle salutes at some point in their careers. (from an article written in 2003 by Jeff Terry)