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Artist drawing of CPR #229, "Mastodon."
Power type Steam
Builder Central Pacific's Sacramento, California, shops
Serial number 20
Build date April 1882
Configuration 4-8-0
Gauge 4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) (standard gauge)
Driver size 55 in dia
Weight on drivers 81,000 lb
Weight 105,850 lb
Boiler pressure 135 psi
Cylinder size 19 in dia × 30 in stroke
Tractive effort 22,595 lbf
Career Central Pacific,
Southern Pacific
Number 229; renum. 1950 in 1891; renum. 2800 in 1901; renum. 2925 in 1906
Nicknames Mastodon
First run April 1882
Scrapped June 29, 1935, Brooklyn shops, Portland, Oregon

Mastodon was the unofficial name of the Central Pacific Railroad's number 229, the world's first successful 4-8-0 steam locomotive.

History and career

The engine was designed and built by the road's master mechanic, Andrew Jackson "A.J" Stevens at Sacramento Locomotive Works in 1882. After being readied for its initial shakedown run, the engine met with a minor mishap in which its large "balloon" stack was knocked away from the boiler. During all the careful preparations, apparently nobody noticed that the stack was nearly a foot taller than the doors to the roundhouse.

The problem was fixed and an impressive series of trials on the steep grades of the Sierra Nevada Mountains soon followed, in which it easily outperformed the smaller 4-4-0 and 4-6-0 engines used by the railroad in those days. Later, Mastodon was sent east to the Cooke Locomotive Works, along with blueprints and men who had built the engine, where more than 20 copies were produced; these were identical except for having their cylinder bore increased to 20-inches (from Mastodon's 19). The success of this engine inspired railroad president Leland Stanford to instruct Stevens to build an even larger locomotive, which would be the largest the world had ever seen up until that time. This engine, a 4-10-0 named El Gobernador (CPRR #237), looked virtually identical to Mastodon, with the exception of being longer and having an additional pair of driving wheels. Unfortunately, this engine, unlike its predecessor, was doomed to failure.

Sometime in the early 20th century, No. 229 (now renumbered as Southern Pacific 2925) was converted from wood to oil-firing and was later assigned to the Oregon lines. Despite its historical significance, the engine was broken up for scrap at the Brooklyn Shops in Portland, Oregon, in the mid-1930s.


  • Diebert, Timothy S. and Strapac, Joseph A. (1987). Southern Pacific Company Steam Locomotive Conpendium. Shade Tree Books. p. 48. ISBN 0-930742-12-5.  
  • Dunscomb, Guy L. (1963). A Century of Southern Pacific Steam Locomotives 1862 - 1962. Guy L. Dunscomb & Son.  
  • Carling, D. Rock (1972). 4-8-0 Tender Locomotives. Drake Publishers Inc.. ISBN 87749-150-X.  


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