Railway Preservation News

Oldest Internal Combustion Loco?
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Author:  dmann [ Wed Mar 16, 2005 1:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Oldest Internal Combustion Loco?

Niles Canyon Railway operates a Plymouth locomotive as the shop switcher. It is a 10-ton model JLA, builders number 3368, built in November 1929. The locomotive is equipped with the original Climax R4 gasoline engine, friction clutch, and mechanical transmission with 4-speeds forward and reverse.

Unlike others in this message sting, it has not been re-motored.

More information can be viewed at: http://www.ncry.org/roster/d_103/jla103.shtml

Author:  robertjohndavis [ Wed Mar 16, 2005 1:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Looks like it is CNJ #1000

Reading the responses today, not one has listed an internal compubstion "locomotive" that is still with us which has a build date earlier than CNJ #100o's calim to 1925.

The Dan Patch engine doesn't count IMHO since it was internal combustion until much later in life.

The topic is "locos" so unless we're missing one, CNJ #1000 is it.

Now, how about a list of those Doodlebugs?


Author:  Alexander D. Mitchell IV [ Wed Mar 16, 2005 2:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Have we looked overseas?

Your ethnocentrism is showing.............

Has anyone checked out the collections of Britain, Germany, Switzerland, etc.? I seem to recall some surviving experimental somewhere dating back to 1921 or thereabouts. Again, we'd probably come into debate as to what qualifies, as we are with Dan Patch versus CNJ 1000. There was a diesel loco built in Germany in 1912-13 (direct-drive, didn't last long), and a diesel-electric railcar in Sweden built in 1913 that lasted until 1939, and production diesel railcars in Switzerland as early as 1914. And I'm not looking up gasoline locos/cars yet.

Author:  atsfm177 [ Wed Mar 16, 2005 2:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Looks like it is CNJ #1000

The ATSF M.177 at Travel Town is right in there. It is a Doodlebug, but was actually used as a switch engine near the end of it's life. It was built in 1929, and still has its original Winton gasoline(distiallate) engine. The Motorcar is still undergoing restoration, but the Winton runs, the main generator has been installed, and the exciter is ready to go in. Though all the copper in the generators is new, and the double dual distributors are from a Nash now, it is about as close to original as you can come.


Author:  Gavin Hamilton [ Wed Mar 16, 2005 3:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Have we looked overseas?

There are at least two c1918 "Simplex" internal combustion locos in the UK but I can't recall details.


Author:  Kelly Anderson [ Wed Mar 16, 2005 5:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Oldest Internal Combustion Loco?

Interesting discussion! While it doesn’t appear to be the oldest, our Plymouth #1 (built new for the Strasburg Rail Road in 1926) is starting to sound like the oldest that is still in service on its original line. Our Plymouth #2 was built in 1930 for Safe Harbor Water & Power. Both still use their original Climax gasoline engines.

On the subject of doodlebugs, our LO&S #10 was rebuilt from a coach into a self propelled (gasoline-mechanical) car in 1915. Its original Buffalo marine engine and 4-speed has been replaced by a modern V-8 and automatic, but its one of a kind, drive shaft through the center plate, final drive is still in service.

Author:  Boyd Owens [ Wed Mar 16, 2005 8:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Oldest Internal Combustion Loco?

A couple more for the list:
Mid-Continent's ex-Montana Western #31, EMC gas-electric, serial #130, built 1925.
and Mid-Continent's ex-Wisconsin Sand & Gravel #2, Plymouth HL-18, serial #2911, built 1928. Still has it's original Climax engine.

Author:  J.B.Bane [ Wed Mar 16, 2005 11:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Oldest Internal Combustion Loco?

Ted, minor correction to your post mentioning SVRy 101: SVRy 100 is a Gas Mechanical 20 ton Whitcomb built Dec. 1929 with it's original Climax engine. It is in the process of restoration. It operated on the SVRy from April 1930 till 5-8-37. It switched NG cars and Std. Ga. cars on the dual gauge trackage at S.Baker, Ore. It was replaced by SVRy 101 a 30 ton Davenport with at Caterpillar V8 diesel. It went into service 5-8-37 and was retired 1-1-62, making it's last official run on SVRy 11-28-61. It was sold to DRGW and was used as a switcher at Durango and now resides at the Colorado RR Museum. It is also under restoration I believe.

Author:  J.David [ Wed Mar 16, 2005 11:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Oldest Internal Combustion Loco?

Dear Mike:
Valley Railroad Co. No. 0901 was built in July 1940, so it is old, but not the oldest in service. Perhaps the oldest in Connecticut, oldest east of the Hudson River, oldest south of the Connecticut River and north of the Housatonic or some such.
In any event it is WEIRD. Imagine a GE 80 tonner with a European style cab which is mounted way over the top of the hoods (superior visibility), with two engines with a common coolant system, which (by the way) cools the air compressors as well (but no sound proofing in the walls between the cab and the engine compartment so it is as noisy as a steam locomotive). Oh, and dual controls as well.
In any event, it is almost finished and ready for service (waivers for various FRA variances applied for).

Author:  Brian Norden [ Thu Mar 17, 2005 3:33 am ]
Post subject:  Ted is right -- but he has the wrong year -- the real winner

The Nevada Copper Belt Hall-Scott railcar actually dates from 1911. That being the case, it would be the oldest existing internal combustion rail car or locomotive in existance.

Found a picture on the web showing #21 pulling (or switching) a wooden business car -- probably Beebe's Gold Coast. This is found through the following link:


Author:  Randy Hees [ Thu Mar 17, 2005 8:43 am ]
Post subject:  Possible contender

The SPCRR ar Ardenwood has a Plymouth DL 2 built in 1922, delivered in 1923. It was built for Old Mission Cement in San Jaun Bautista California.

It has its original buda engine, runs, but the clutch slips. The loco is about as close to origninal as possible with the factory installed magneto and govenor.

As recently as 10 years ago there was a very early (teens?) plymouth (A or B model?) in a brick plant in Lincoln California, but I haven't been able to find it recently.

Author:  Ted Miles [ Thu Mar 17, 2005 1:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Oldest Internal Combustion Loco?


Well, I knew I was going to do that! I should have gotten the reference materiel out, but I was not at home at the time.

Same thing happened with the dates on theNevada Copper Belt I mentioned above. The old memory is not what it once was

Sorry if i confused anybody.

I hop that some day both the Sumpter engines can run together again; either at the Colorado Museum or in Oregon.

Ted Miles

Author:  Ed Kelley [ Thu Mar 17, 2005 7:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Oldest Internal Combustion Loco?

If the Hall-Scott car is still operating out in Sacramento (it was about 10 years ago I recall), it would probably make it the oldest operating.

The V&T's McKeen car beats it by 1 year; eventually planned to run. However, all that's really original V&T #22 I believe is the body. The rest was cannibalized from another old car the NSRM acquired as a parts source. There's another NCB carbody there as well which served as a business (I believe the same as the McKeen's body). Not sure if it's a Hall-Scott or what.

Author:  LVRR2095 [ Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Oldest Internal Combustion Loco?

Blacolvesley is the oldest I.C. locomotive still in operation.
Designed by Henry Greenly for C.W. Bartholomew's Blakesley Hall estate railway it entered service in 1909. Currently it is in operation on the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway.


Author:  John T [ Fri Sep 15, 2017 3:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Oldest Internal Combustion Loco?

Plymouth C/N 77 1/5/1916 24” AL-1 Continental N3.5 23hp B 3T G/Friction
Pacific Coast Borax Co, Ryan, California
Furnace Creek Ranch, Death Valley, Calif

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