Saturday, June 23, 2012

New Blog for the S&C and a New Engine

After a few years with a separate web page, I have decided that the Stockton & Copperopolis should join the blogging community. The old website ( still exists but there will not be any new posts to it. The blog format should make it a lot easier for people to follow and for me to have more frequent postings. We'll see what happens.

The latest project was to get an inspection loco running. These little engines provided an easy, but dignified, way for the division superintendent to get out and inspect his part of the railroad. It didn't need the full five-man crew that a regular train used and it made seeing the line a lot easier. Perched over the boiler, the superintendent could readily observe the line, dictate notes to his secretary and then return when he was done without needing a turntable (note the pilot on the rear). Not being expected to pull any cars, the engine itself could be very light weight.

The Ellen is brass imported by Fomras in the 1990s. I installed a Loksound Select Micro decoder in the cab and a 3/8-inch speaker in the tank. I wanted to use a Tsunami but it was just too long for the space. It turns out that the Loksound decoder has a real nifty feature. When the engine first starts to move, you hear the hissing of steam coming from the cylinder cocks for a short while before the familiar chuffing begins.

The Star as it appeared in the 1890s
The prototype of this engine was built for the Central of New Jersey Railroad in the 1870s and served them for several. Although the inspection loco popularity was pretty much limited to the eastern part of the country, S&C management thought it was a much better way to get the super out on the road.


  1. Gorgeous loco and great info on this interesting class of steam history.

  2. Don,
    I hope you have your copy of Railroad History from the R&LHS issue 206 with a wonderfully detailed story on the history of the Inspection Locomotives. The S&C becomes the second western road to use their own inspection locomotive and the Ellen looks a lot more comfortable that the Burlington's Inspection Loco. She looks great.
    Tom VanWormer