DM & IR Yellowstone Mallet #229 Locomotive

#229 on Display in Two Harbors

With a Federal Transportation Enhancement Grant administered through the MN DOT the Lake County Historical Society was awarded a grant to refinish its Yellowstone Mallet Locomotive #229. Supervised by the Lake County Highway Department, the project included the abatement of hazardous materials including lead and asbestos, repair of rust damage, and a complete paint job that returns the locomotive to the original paint scheme of Duluth Missabe & Iron Range Railroad.

This project was funded in part through grants from the Minnesota Historical Society's State Grants In-Aid Program and the Marvin P. Verhulst Foundation.
The Yellowstone M
allet Locomotive was completed Friday November 18, 2011. Recent photos on our Facebook page, click link at the bottom of the page.

On October 22,1969, the Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway Company donated to the Lake County Historical Society the Baldwin Locomotive and Tender, Class M4 Mallet #229.

Mallet locomotive #229, also known as a Yellowstone, was one of the largest locomotives made. Built in 1943, it went directly to helping transport materials during the war. When peace came, the Mallet was diverted to cross-country ore hauling between the Iron Range, Two Harbors and Duluth/Proctor. The Mallet is considered an example of a slow-drag freight articulated locomotive because, although slow, the Mallet was powerful and able to haul mile-long trains of iron ore. The Mallet located in Two Harbors is one of only three Yellowstones to be preserved.

DM&IR Yellowstone Mallet # 229, which is displayed opposite the venerable Duluth & Iron Range Railroad 3 Spot, was one of eighteen locomotives of this type. They came in two separate contracts of eight locomotives in 1941 and an additional ten locomotives in 1943. All were built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works at their Eddystone plant in Pennsylvania.

World War II was raging and America’s iron ore resource was absolutely vital to the war effort for building ships, tanks, and other military equipment.  As one might expect, steel for military hardware took precedence over all nonmilitary use of steel. These Mallets however were so important when it came to moving the iron ore that they were assigned the A-1-A preference rating for the materials needed for construction. In other words the Yellowstones were a higher priority than military steel for tanks and ships. It is little wonder that they are often referred to as “the locomotives that defeated Hitler.”  

Yellowstone # 229 was the second locomotive in the second group of Mallets (228-237) that were built in 1943. The 229 was completed and test run on January 5, 1943 and afterward scheduled to depart the Baldwin plant on January 9th.  This was mid-winter and the ore season was closed in Minnesota. Rather than going to Duluth or Two Harbors, # 229 was sent to Denver, Colorado to be leased to the Denver Rio Grande & Western Railroad until the opening of the next ore shipping season. During that winter 229 pulled long freight trains over the Rocky Mountains and Continental Divide. Other Yellowstone sisters assisted on the Great Northern and Northern Pacific as well as the Denver & Rio Grande Western each year. When the 229 returned from Colorado in 1943, it was sent directly to Two Harbors to begin working on the Iron Range Division.

Only 72 Yellowstone locomotives were ever built in the U.S. They were operated by the Baltimore & Ohio, Northern Pacific, Southern Pacific, and Duluth Missabe & Iron Range. The DM&IR M-4 Yellowstones were 128 feet-long and weighed in at over 400 tons with no coal or water. Filling the tender took 26 tons of coal and 25,000 gallons of water. Altogether the working weight was almost a million pounds. Steam pressure was 240 pounds per square inch creating a tractive effort of 140,000 pounds.   

The last Yellowstone to make a regular ore run was # 222 on July 5, 1960 on the Missabe Division. It was sent to Two Harbors and put on display for a very short time before being swapped for # 221. This engine deteriorated in the weather and was replaced in 1967 by #229, which had been stored in the Proctor roundhouse up until then. The 3 Spot and Mallet 229 represent the first and the last in the evolution of the steam locomotive on the Minnesota Iron Range.