Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Jupiter

Location:   Schenectady
Year:   1868

The Jupiter (Central Pacific Railroad Locomotive #60) was a steam locomotive which made history as one of the two locomotives (the other being the Union Pacific's No. 119) to meet at Promontory Summit, Utah on May 10, 1869 during the Golden Spike ceremony commemorating the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad.

The Golden Spike ceremony. Jupiter is to the left.

The Jupiter was built in September 1868 by the Schenectady Locomotive Works of New York, along with three other engines, #61 (Storm), #62 (Whirlwind), and # 63 (Leviathan). All four engines were dismantled and sailed 'round the Horn to San Francisco, where they were loaded onto a river barge and sent to the Central Pacific headquarters in Sacramento, then reassembled and commissioned into service on March 20, 1869.

The Jupiter was a wood burning locomotive. The distinctive conical chimney, known as a 'balloon stack', contained a spark arrestor.

The ceremony, as seen from Jupiter's cab. The spark arrestor is clearly visible inside the balloon stack

The Jupiter was not the locomotive originally scheduled to appear at Promontory Point. This honor was to go to the Antelope, which was damaged in transit. Jupiter, the following train, was pressed into service.  

It took many years for the Central Pacific Railroad to appreciate the Jupiter. The original Jupiter was scrapped in 1909, much to the later chagrin of the company, who found the brightly colored locomotive in demand for appearances on holidays and commemorative events. 

The replica locomotives at Last Spike National Historic Site

Other Nineteenth Century 4-4-0 locomotives (the number refers to the front, center and rear wheel arrangement of a locomotive) were repainted in the Jupiter's distinctive livery and exhibited in its stead until an identical replica was built in 1979, 70 years after the original was scrapped.

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