Union Pacific Locomotive 6072

The Significance of Being Average

On display at Ft. Riley, Kansas

Union Pacific Locomotive 6072 is a 2-8-0 "Consolidation" class locomotive built in December 1907 by the American Locomotive Company. Built as hand-fired coal burner, she was converted to burn oil in 1941. Originally used to pull mainline freight trains, over the years with trains getting longer and heavier, the 6072 was superceded by larger, more powerful locomotives. But 6072 managed to hang on by finding uses on branch lines and as a yard switcher. In fact, 6072 survived right up until the very end of steam power on the Union Pacific. It was being used in yard service in Denver in fall 1957. In February 1958, locomotive 6072 was donated to Ft. Riley for display. It was moved to its present location on June 6, 1958.

6072 is one of an incredible 21,000 2-8-0 type locomotives built in the U.S. for domestic service, the most of any one wheel arrangement. The "8" indicates 8 driving wheels for strong traction. The "2" indicates the single guiding axle up front which helps lead the 4 rigidly aligned drive axles into curves. The "0" indicates the lack of a trailing truck. (Later locomotives had larger fireboxes which extended down behind the last drive wheels and required one or more additional axles to carry the overhanging weight.) 6072 features the piston valves which were a new development when it was built but drives them with the traditional Stephenson valve gear located inside the frame rather than outside valve gear which became popular just a few years later.

Here are some vital stats:

A few years ago it was spruced up, its boiler jacket and lagging were removed, and the entire engine given a new paint job. It looks pretty good although the purists will object to the non-authentic font used for the lettering and number. Jacket removal is an important step to preserve the engine for future generations. A steam locomotive's boiler is covered with insulation which is in turn covered with a sheet metal jacket. This jacket is not water tight. When the engine is hot it is not a problem but with a locomotive on open display, rain gets in and soaks the insulation and quickly rusts through the outer jacket. Eventually even the thick boiler plates are eroded. There may also be a problem of asbestos leakage. Removing the jacket and insulation, cleaning, and repainting the boiler prevents this and preserves the locomotive. On close inspection one can see the rivets and seams that are normally hidden. A small price to pay!

More Photos:

Larger Version of Above Composite Photo

Closeup of Running Gear

Front View

Sister #6083 As a kid I wrote the UP asking for info on 6072. They were kind enough to send me a gorgeous 8x10 glossy of sister 2-8-0 #6083

Back to the Vacant Lot