Copper River & Northwestern Rolling Stock

Roster information on the CR&NW is very hard to come by. Much of what I have on freight cars is thanks to Ron Simpson, who posted what he had for freight car information on back in 2006. I saved his notes, and have been working on augmenting them since. Locomotive data uses Howard Clifford’s “Alaska/Yukon Railroads: An Illustrated History” as a starting point.

Contributions Welcome! A little tidbit here and there may go a long way towards filling in the gaps in an all-time CRNW roster.


Road #Wheel Arr.Builder / SN
Build Date
Description & Notes
10-4-0TDickson 41749
Jan 1907
Delivered to Katalla
To CRNW in Cordova 1908
To Aloha Lumber Co #1
20-4-0TDickson 41750
Jan 1907
Delivered to Katalla
To CRNW in Cordova 1908
To Willapa Harbor Lumber Mills #5
To Port of Grays Harbor #5
30-4-0TDickson 41751
Jan 1907
Delivered to Katalla
To CRNW in Cordova 1908
Sold to Alaska Anthracite RR #3 1916 and abandoned at Bering River.
See Surviving Equipment
40-4-0TDickson 41753
Delivered to Katalla
To CRNW in Cordova 1908
Used by the Army post-1942 until a boiler explosion
50-4-0TDickson 42765
Apr 1907
Delivered to Katalla
To CRNW in Cordova 1908
60-4-0TDickson 42767
May 1907
Delivered to Katalla
To CRNW in Cordova 1908
202-8-0Alco Rhode Island 44597
Nov 1907
Scrapped Cordova ~1947
212-8-0Alco Rhode Island 44598
Nov 1907
Scrapped Cordova ~1947
222-8-0Alco Rhode Island 44599
Nov 1907
Scrapped Cordova ~1947
232-8-0Alco Rhode Island 44600
Nov 1907
To US Army #23 1941
Disputed disposition – possibly in the ARR lot in 1946 and scrapped at Cordova, or alternately shipped to Ft. Richardson.
504-6-0Baldwin 11265
Oct 1890
Built Port Townsend Southern #4
To Columbia & Puget Sound #4 in 1897
To Copper River Railway #50 1906
To CR&NW #50 1907
Presumed scrapped at Cordova <1942
514-6-0Existance uncertain
To Alaska Central #3
To CRNW #51 in 1907
Presumed scrapped at Cordova <1942
702-8-2Alco Brooks 55490
Nov 1915
To Midland Terminal #62 1940
To Noroeste de México #200 Dec 1948
To Chihuahua al Pacifico #200
712-8-2Alco Brooks 55491
Nov 1915
Retired 1936 after fatal boiler explosion near Miles Glacier
Sold to Alaska RR in 1946 lot
Presumed scrapped at Cordova ~1947
722-8-2Alco Brooks 55492
Nov 1915
To McCloud River #26 1938
Tender to Shevlin Hixon May 1947
Scrapped Nov 1955
732-8-2Alco Brooks 57291
Apr 1917
To McCloud River #27 1938
Tender to Shevlin Hixon May 1947
Tender survives at Moses Lake, WA
742-8-2Alco Brooks 58164
Aug 1917
To Midland Terminal #63 1940
To Noroeste de México #201 Dec 1948
To Chihuahua al Pacifico #201
1002-6-0Baldwin 9030
Jan 1898
Built as Buffalo Rochester & Pittsburg 82
To CRNW 100
To US Army 6990 at Fort Richardson
Supposedly to Elmendorf AFB
1012-6-0Alco Brooks 46183
May 1909
To US Army 102
Supposedly to Elmendorf AFB
1022-6-0Alco Brooks 46184
May 1909
To US Army 102
Supposedly to Elmendorf AFB


  • The existance of #51 is disputed. It shows up in Clifford’s roster, but little substantiating evidence exists. As far as I can tell, nobody has a picture of it.
  • Simpon notes 101-102 were used in pusher service at McCarthy and Chitina later in the road’s existance.

Freight Cars

Road #TypeDescription & Notes
1-100Side Dump GonWestern Air Dump cars, 12 cu yd, 20t capacity
Used mainly for hauling gravel and rock for MoW use
151-159Flat25t flat cars
251-256Wood Boxcar25t capacity
261-265Wood Boxcar30t capacity
281-288Wood Boxcar40t capacity. 288 noted as being combination box and stock car
381-389Convert. GondolaHart Convertible Gondolas
40t capacity, 8 truss rods, wooden deck
Later renumbered 3810-3840
Possibly originally Copper River Railway
4xxWood BoxcarA photo of an outside wooden braced boxcar at Cordova docks
shows a number of 483
1101-11107Steel flat car50t capacity, primarily used for hauling sacked copper ore
There were 107 of these – exact numbering unclear
but 1101-1103 are known to exist, as are 11039, 11057
210xxWood BoxcarA photo of an outside-braced box at Kennecott
shows a number of 21019
Tank Car10,000 gallon GATX tank cars used for hauling
fuel oil to the Kennecott mill

Freight car mysteries:

  • What’s up with the outside braced wooden boxcars, both the wood-brace varieties in the 400 numbers and the steel outside braced in the 21000 series?
  • How do the numbers for the 1101-11107 steel flat cars work?
  • Simpson lists 31 wooden flags and 20 steel boxcars in his October 1996 article in Wrangell-St. Elias News. Numbers for these remain unknown.

Passenger Cars

Road #TypeDescription & Notes
50-52CombineCoach and mail/baggage. Clerestory roof wood cars
100Diner/ObservationNamed Stephen Birch
101-104Day coachClerestory roof wooden 70′ open end Pullman cars
UnknownCabooseWooden cabooses of various designs
Caboose 014 had a large freight door at one end

Passenger car mysteries:

  • The Cordova Daily Times reported on May 11, 1916, that a private car was being shipped north from Seattle later that month. The car was painted Copper River & Northwestern Railway and gold-lettered “Kennecott” as a name. The heavyweight business car that became CB&Q Aleutian was built in 1923. So this couldn’t have been it…
  • Several photos in the later days of CRNW operation show a round roof passenger coach. 101-104 and 50-52 are believed to be clerestory roof cars. What is this round roof car?
  • How many cabooses were there, what was the design of each, and what were their numbers?

Maintenance of Way and Other On-Track Equipment

Road #TypeDescription & Notes
X-1Rotary PlowBuilt Nov 1908 by Cooke, serial 43669
To US Army / ARR after abandonment
Never left Cordova, scrapped late 1940s
X-2Rotary PlowBuilt Apr 1909 by Cooke as Katalla Co #12, serial 45969
Sold to Sundfelt Equipment Co, Seattle, WA
To Northern Pacific #44 Oct 1941
To BN 1970
Scrapped by Paper-Calmenson Co. Aug 1974
X-3Rotary PlowBuilt Jan 1912 by Rogers, serial 50661
To Northern Pacific #55 1941
Retired May 10, 1955, scrapped
X-4Rotary PlowBuilt Sep 1915 by Cooke, serial 54787
Arrived Cordova Nov 1, 1915 on freighter Cordova
Sold to Sundfelt Equipment Co, Seattle, WA
To Northern Pacific #46 in 1941
Converted to electric operations 1966
Renumbered Northern Pacific #47 Feb 1970
To BN #972559 in 1970, BNSF 972559 in 1996
Active on BNSF today – see Surviving Equipment
X-33Steam shovelThere were possibly up to 4 steam shovels on the CRNW
X-33 is former Katalla Company, shipped over from Katalla
Cordova Daily Times notes another arrived May 30, 1917
VariousFord Model T The CR&NW had a large number of Ford Model Ts and As
converted for on-rail use. See Ford Cars page.

MoW Equipment Mysteries:
(oh, there are so many…)

  • The road had cranes and pile drivers, but I haven’t found any pictures or information to reveal anything about them.
  • How many Model Ts were there? The highest number I’ve seen on one is 26.
  • Little/no information seems to exist on the work train, but photos show bunk cars, a diner, and others.
  • A “winged plow” invented by Charles Dustin (a cousin to the Jordan spreader) was built in the CRNW Cordova shops and put into service with the rotaries in the winter of 1921-1922 per the Cordova Daily Times.
  • Some sort of spreader – Jordan or otherwise – shows up on work trains and in WWII-era Cordova yard shots. Is this the “winged plow” from 1922, or another spreader?

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