The Trains of 1870

by Lou Jerkich

Simple curiosity spurred me on to attempt to identify the locomotive types and the owning railroads for the engines depicted on the train cards of the 1870 game designed by Bill Dixon and published by Mayfair Games, Inc., in 1995.  After commencing this project, I then discovered that the 1870 train cards from type 2 through type 6 were identical to those in the 1856 game, also designed by Bill Dixon and published by Mayfair Games, Inc. in 1995.  The 1870 train cards, however, were printed with a darker inking and consequently are less clear than their 1856 counterparts.  Nevertheless, the evidence provided by the cards of both games, but especially with reference to the clearer depictions of train types 2 through 6 in the 1856 game, has made it possible to determine with reasonable certainty the identifications of the trains shown on the game cards.  The results of my research are shown below, with citations to the illustrations I have found that are either identical to the train card depictions or are obviously a close match.  As is the case in some other 18xx games, the specific locomotives depicted on the cards in both the 1870 and the 1856 games mostly belonged to companies that are not represented in these games.  The only one that was clearly owned by a company represented in the 1870 game, the type 12 train depicting a Diesel-Hydraulic freight locomotive belonging to the Southern  Pacific RR, was ironically only used in California.  Another incongruous element is that the type 10 train dated to 1940 comes after the type 8 train dated to 1948.  Should anyone find better illustrations than I have located or discover additional useful information on these locomotives, please let me know.

Type 2 Train ($80)  - 7 available

Baldwin, American (4-4-0), Baldwin Locomotive Works, Philadelphia, 1871.

The locomotive on the card is depicted in Early American Locomotives by John H. White, Jr. (New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1972), plate 40, with the accompanying text: "A good representative locomotive for the period 1865-1885 is Baldwin's standard eight wheeler shown here.  A typical design dated 1871, it cannot be assigned to any one locomotive."  The illustration originally derives from Fig. 1 of Matthias N. Forney's Recent Locomotives: Illustrations, with Descriptions and Specifications and Details, of Recent American and European Locomotives, reprinted from the Railroad Gazette....New York: The Railroad Gazette, 1886.  The tender has the word 'Philadelphia' across its side.  The 1870 game card for the type 2 train also has the 'Philadelphia' label on the tender, and otherwise the picture is a perfect match for the one depicted in this book, even if it does appear to be a re-sketched version of the original illustration.  Given that the name of the game is 1870, a locomotive dated 1871 is quite appropriate as the first train engine available in this game. 

Type 3 Train ($180) - 6 available

Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, American (4-4-0), No. 550, Rogers Locomotive Works, Paterson, New Jersey, 1893.

The locomotive on the card is depicted in Early American Locomotives by John H. White, Jr. (New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1972), plate 86, with the accompanying text: "In the early 1890's the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad decided to stay with the dependable eight wheeler for its passenger trains.  Typical of these machines was the 550 built by Rogers to the road's standard class M design. Rogers exhibited this engine at the Columbian Exposition."  The illustration originally derives from Fig. 73 on page 272 of James Dredge's A Record of the Transportation Exhibits at the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893.  The1870 train card illustration appears to be a slightly rough-sketched version of  the original drawing, and the details are too indistinct to be able to read the engine number (550).  Nevertheless, the details and angle of view leave no doubt that the 1870 game card for the type 3 train is intended to represent this CB&Q engine #550.  Given that the 1870 game's Fort Worth and Denver City Railway became part of the "Burlington Route,"  this locomotive illustration does have some ties to the setting of the 1870 game.

Type 4 Train ($300) - 5 available

Chicago and North Western Railway, Ten Wheeler (4-6-0), No. 400, Schenectady Locomotive Works, Schenectady, New York, 1893.

The locomotive on the card is depicted in Early American Locomotives by John H. White, Jr. (New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1972), plate 88, with the accompanying text: "The Chicago and North Western's 400, like the Plant System's 100 just shown, was a ten-wheel passenger locomotive.  The engine lost its name Columbus when entering regular service at the end of the fair.  The 400 was built by the Schenectady Locomotive Works.  It was retired in 1926.  The illustration originally derives from Plate LXIX, Fig. 1, of James Dredge's A Record of the Transportation Exhibits at the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893.  As with the illustration for the type 3 train, this one appears also to be re-sketched a bit more roughly than the book's illustration, with the result that once again the train's name and number cannot be distinguished on the 1870 game's train card.  Nevertheless, in angle of view and details shown, there is no doubt that the type 4 train is the one depicted in this book.  It would have been nice in the game to have a type 4 train with a date midway between its type 3 train predecessor and type 5 train successor, perhaps built in the early 1900s, but that is not the case with the trains from these illustrations.

Type 5 Train ($450) - 4 available

Nickel Plate Road "Hudson" type (4-6-4), built by Alco Brooks Locomotive Works in Dunkirk, New York, in 1927.

A photograph of the type of locomotive on this card is shown in American Locomotives in Historic Photographs, 1858-1949,  by Ron Ziel (New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1993), photograph 92, labeled Nickel Plate Road No. 177.  The photo has the accompanying text: "After the 4-6-4 passenger locomotive was developed for the New York Central in 1927, other railroads began ordering the Hudson type.  Among the earlier purchasers was the New York, Chicago & St. Louis (Nickel Plate Road), which placed in service a design of such modest proportions that it was more like a Pacific with a four-wheel trailing truck.  Its 73-inch driving wheels were among the smallest on any 4-6-4 and the trailing truck appears almost to have squeezed beneath the firebox; but the NKP ran modest passenger trains on moderate schedules, so even a small Hudson was an improvement over the predecessors it replaced."

There are some slight, subtle differences between this photograph's engine and the one depicted on the 1870 train card.  For example, the light showing through the cab windows seems to be at a slightly different angle, and the train card only shows the support bar for the bell, but not the bell itself, at the top front of the engine.  The 1870 game card illustration also is very darkly printed, so that no identification appears visible on the tender, and the engine number on the cab is missing as well.  Nevertheless, the profile of the engine itself is an extremely close match to the photo in Ron Ziel's book.  Fortunately, the same photograph on the 1856 game's card for this type 5 train is much lighter and clearer.  The "Nickel Plate Road" stenciling on the side of the tender is clearly readable in the 1856 train card photo (using a magnifying glass).  Moreover, the engine number on the cab depicted on the 1856 game's card appears to be 173 or 170.  It is very difficult to determine the last digit even with a magnifier, although 173 is my best guess.  It is definitely not #177, the engine number in the book by Ron Ziel, and 171, 172, 174, 175, and 176 seem also to be ruled out.  Presumably, another illustration exists somewhere of a locomotive that is a close match for #177 but has the number 173, or perhaps 170.

According to the Guide to North American Steam Locomotives by George H. Drury (Waukesha, WI: Kalmbach Publishing Co., 1993), page 273, "The New York, Chicago & St. Louis (Nickel Plate) ordered four light 4-6-4s in November 1926.  Alco's Brooks Works delivered them less than a month after NYC 5200 emerged from Schenectady."  On page 272 is stated: "Number 5200 emerged from Alco on February 14, 1927."  Page 286 lists the Nickel Plate Road as having four Alco Brooks-made 4-6-4 locomotives dating to 1927 (nos. 170-173) and another four Lima-built 4-6-4s dating to 1929 (Nos. 174-177).  So if the type 5 train of the game is the Nickel Plate 4-6-4 Hudson type of locomotive with a number that is either 173 or 170, then it should probably date to 1927.  These Lima type 4-6-4s were retired by the Nickel Plate between 1956 and 1962.  Drury observes  (page  273) that Nickel Plate's #173 was the longest-lived of all the 4-6-4s.  Note also that the Canadian Pacific Railroad owned North America's second largest fleet of 4-6-4s, having a total of 65 of them, starting in 1929 (Drury, p. 272).

Type 6 Train ($630) - 3 available

Canadian Pacific Railroad "Selkirk" type (2-10-4), built in Montreal in 1938.

The photograph of the engine on the type 6 train card is small and dark so that just barely with a magnifying glass can the name on the tender (Canadian Pacific) and the number on the engine (presumably 5922) be read.  It's even a bit difficult to clearly identify this engine as a 2-10-4 engine, usually designated a 'Texas' type  because the first 2-10-4 engines were bought buy the Texas & Pacific Railway--a railroad represented in the 1870 game.   However, an examination of the clearly identical photo used for the 1856 game's type 6 train reveals a lighter and clearer image in which the words 'Canadian Pacific' are clearly visible on the tender and the number on the engine appears to be 5922.  The Guide to North American Steam Locomotives by George H. Drury (Waukesha, WI: Kalmbach Publishing Co., 1993), page 70, indicates that the 2-10-4 Class T1b engines of the Canadian Pacific Railroad that were numbered 5920-5929 were built in 1938 in Montreal and retired in 1957.  On page 66, Drury notes that twenty 2-10-4s were built in 1929 and designated for use "in the Rockies west of Calgary.  In 1938 ten more 2-10-4s appeared, semi-streamlined for passenger service between Calgary and Revelstoke.  The name Selkirk was applied to the type at that time."

According to the Trains.com web page titled "Texas Types: Musclemen of Steam",  "the 2-10-4 was a tonnage hauler extraordinaire."  "With one exception, the 2-10-4 was a freight locomotive - Canadian Pacific used semistreamlined 2-10-4s in passenger service through the Rockies."  The article shows a picture of a Selkirk type engine with the following caption: "Canadian Pacific 5928 and CP's other "Selkirks" were the largest engines in the British Empire and the biggest steamers ever streamlined, but nevertheless were rather modest by 2-10-4 standards."  The photo in the Train.com web page has a boiler profile, wheel arrangment, and tender that is a clear match for that of the photo on the 1870 type 6 train card.  In the web photo, the engine is slightly more on an angle than the full profile view shown on the train card.  But it is clear that they are the same type of engine.

Another excellent photo of a Canadian Pacific 2-10-4 'Selkirk' Type locomotive (without its tender) appears on page 151 in The Encyclopedia of Trains and Locomotives from 1804 to the Present Day by David Ross (San Diego, CA: Thunder Bay Press, 2007).  The engine faces the opposite direction from that depicted on the 1870 Type 6 train card, but it is numbered 5921, making it a sister engine to the one appearing on the card.  According to the article accompanying the photo, "Semi-streamlining of Selkirks began in 1938 when Nos. 5920-5929 were built...."  In the 2003 edition of The Encyclopedia of Trains and Locomotives by David Ross (also by the same publisher), one can see photos of the 1929 version of the Selkirks and the 1949 version.

In 1870, this is the last steam engine available, giving way to diesel locomotives thereafter.  Since the first 2-10-4 engines were bought by the Texas & Pacific Railway--a railroad pertinent to the 1870 game--it is unfortunate that none of the T&P's 2-10-4 'Texas' locomotives became the model for the type 6 train card.

Type 8 Train ($800) - 3 available

Rock Island No. 147, Alco FA1 (B-B) Freight Diesel, built in September 1948 at Schenectady, New York, by the American Locomotive Company.

With a magnifying glass, it is easy to see that the engine number located in a rectangular panel near the nose of this locomotive is 147.  A picture of this very engine from the same side, but at an angle that permits more of the front end of the locomotive to be seen, can be found on page 76 of Mike Schafer's book titled Classic American Railroads (Osceola, WI: MBI Publishing Co., 1996).  In the color photograph in this book, engine 147 is shown in red and black livery with the words "Rock Island" depicted on the side of the locomotive in white lettering on the black band running across the side below the windows and the number panel.  The word "Rock" lies left of the rearmost ladder and the word "island" lies to the reight of the the rearmost ladder.  On the train card, this prominent white lettering is not seen at all.  Rather, the band appears solid black.  The caption for the book's photograph reads: "Wearing the Rock Island's eye-catching "barber shop pole" scheme, an Alco freight diesel and an EMD "Geep" (GP7 model) head up an eastbound freight at Topeka, Kansas, on November 6, 1955.  By this time, the Rock Island had also applied the "Rocket" moniker to its freight service (note the partially peeled "Rocket Freight" emblem on the lead locomotive)."  This latter emblem is shown in the photo in the black band below and to the left of the number 147.  However, as with the words "Rock Island" in the same black band, this emblem is not at all visible in the 1870 game's type 8 train card.  While the same paint scheme is shown on the engine of the train card as is seen on the book's No. 147 locomotive, the absence of the identifying letters and emblem, along with the missing horn above the front of the cab, seem to indicate that the train card photo has been slightly retouched compared to the actual appearance of this particular diesel locomotive.  In all other respects, the two diesels do appear to be of one and the same profile and paint scheme.  Alco built 16 of these FA1 models for the Rock Island (numbered 145-160).  The Alco FA1 model was used by many other railroads as well, including the GM&O, the MKT, MP, and Frisco--all of which are railroads portrayed in the 1870 game.  For an online representation, click to Rock Island #149 .

Type 10 Train ($950) - 2 available

Rock Island No. 622, Alco Passenger Diesel DL107, with A-1-A truck, built November 1940.

The above link takes one to an exact photo representation of the 1870 game's Type 10 Train.  In the online photo, at the same level as the words "Rock Island"  the words "The Rocket" appear, located in the dark area over the rearmost of the front set of wheels.  On the train card, "The Rocket" is not distinctly visible, but this time it may be due to the small scale of the image on the train card.  The details on which Alco units of this general style (DL103b, DL105, DL107, and DL109) were part of the Rock Island's fleet vary from source to source.  According to a Wikipedia article on the Alco DL 109 model, the Rock Island had one model DL103b (#624), one model DL105 (#622) and two model DL107 (#621, #623).  The same article shows that two of the railroads that are used in the 1870 game also had some of these engines. GM&O had two DL105s and one DL109.  The AT&SF had one DL107.  (The New York, New Haven & Hartofrd RR had 60 DL109s.)  The Wikipedia article notes that the differences between the cab units of models DL105, DL107 and DL109 were minor.  (DL103b was longer and had both radiators at the back of the engine.)  The Alco DL109/110 Roster has the same correspondence between model and number in its list as does the Wikipedia article.  It also has engine #622 as a DL105, built in November of 1940.  However, both of these rosters differ from the caption of the photo that is a match for the 1870 type 10 train card.  The photo that purportedly shows the Rock Island's engine #622 is captioned RI DL109 #622, although the thumbnail sketch of the photo is stamped DL107.   Yet the image for engine #622 is a close match for the GM&O's engine 270, which is a DL105 according to both the roster and its photo.  A third site, Rock Island CRI&P Diesel Roster, lists engine #621 as a DL109 (not DL107 as in both previous rosters).  Moreover, RI engines #622 and #623 are both listed as model DL107 in this third roster.  (Engine #624 is still the DL103b.)  The Rock Island All-time Diesel Roster matches the above-mentioned third site in the models assigned to these same engines, with #622 again being paired with #623 as DL107s.  Another site, Don's Rail Photos-Chicago Rock Island & Pacific--Alco Passenger Diesels, has a photo of engine #622, with the accompanying remarks: "622, DL107, was built in November 1940, #69336, as a demonstrator.  It was wrecked in the late 1940s and scrapped."  However, another online photo titled "Rare Alco DL107" that definitely shows engine #622, but in a different livery, gives a photo date of 1/1/1960, Fort Worth Texas.  So it certainly wasn't scrapped immediately.   Some of the Alco DL engines later were remodeled to look like EMD engines with more of a bulldog nose than their Alco version.  That probably accounts for the apparent differences between the later "Rare Alco DL107" photo and the earlier one listed as Rock Island No .622.  Finally, a site labeled Alco Passenger Units--All Roads, indicates that the GM&O had 2 DL105s, and no other line had them.  Rock Island's #624 is the only DL103b that was built.  Rock Island's #622 and #623 are listed as the only DL107 models built.  Some 69 DL109 engines were built, including Rock Island's #621.  After studying these various lists, it seems best to me to list the Rock Island's #622 engine as a DL107, which is its predominate place in the various lists, with the Wikipedia version being the chief one that doesn't match.  One of the ironies of this investigation is that the type 10 train of the 1870 game is shown to be a locomotive built in 1940, while the type 8 train reflects a 1948 model.  For proper chronological sequencing, these engine images should have been reversed on these two cards.

Type 12 Train ($1100) - 6 (unlimited) available

Southern Pacific 9019, Alco DH-643 (C-C) Diesel-Hydraulic high speed freight locomotive, built in September 1964.

In September 1964, Alco built three diesel-hydraulic locomotives for the Southern Pacific Railroad.  These were numbered 9018, 9019, and 9020.  In 1966 they were re-numbered 9150, 9151, and 9152 and then in 1970 the numbers were changed to 9800, 9801, and 9802.  The model designation is variously given as DH-643, C-643-H, Century 643DH, or Century 643.  Alco had a number of models in its Six-Axle Centuries line of locomotives.  The six-axle type of engine is normally designated C-C.  These three centuries built for the Southern Pacific were the first diesel-hydraulic locomotives built in the United States.  The SP already had a small fleet of 21 German Krauss-Maffei diesel hydraulic locomotives at the time.  All three of these engines were scrapped in 1973 when the Southern Pacific abandoned the use of hydraulic locomotives.  Photos of all three of these engines are available at a site titled Southern Pacific DH-643.  Although that site does not have a photo of engine 9019 with that number, the same locomotive with its later numbers (9151, 9801) are shown.  The Alco DH643 page in the Wikipedia has a photograph of the 9019's sister engine, 9052, formerly 9020, that is seen from an identical angle to that of engine 9019 on the 1870 game's type 12 train card.  That article states that the "hydraulic-drive diesels spent most of their service lives in the flat San Joaquin Valley in California."  Dissastisfaction over their poor performance and their reliance on foreign-made parts caused the SP to discontinue scrap the DH643s in 1973.  A photo of the 9019 engine, numbered as such and in the exact pose as seen on the 1870 train card, used to be available online at a site produced by the Mohawk & Hudson Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society.  Unfortunately this is now a dead link, although a Google image search using the terms dh-643 9019 will still bring up the thumbnail version of the photograph that is the exact match for the one on the 1870 type 12 train card.  Aside from the type 3 engine listed above that is peripherally related, this is the only other engine depicted on the 1870 game cards that actually belonged to one of the railroads that plays a role in the game.  The irony is that this engine type was used in California and not in the region covered by the game map.


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This page originally posted on 15 May 2007.   Revised Dec. 3, 2007, with further modifications on Dec. 15, 2007.  If you have comments or questions, you can leave a message by writing to "gamecorner".  I use earthlink.net.