Black River and Western #60, Highlighting New Jersey’s Scenic Views

Black River and Western #60 must feel right at home in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, which is widely known for its scenic countryside. While some may explore nature’s beauty on foot, the area can be treacherous and easy to get lost. Luckily for railfans, Black River and Western #60 has found new life leading excursions.

Black River and Western #60 on a test run prior to one of the railroad's special events.
BR&W #60 warms up before one of the railroad’s special events. (Photo: o484 via CC by 4.0)

A Brief History of Black River and Western #60

Originally known as the Great Western #60, Black River and Western #60 is a consolidated type steam locomotive with a wheel arrangement of 2-8-0. It was built by ALCO in 1937 for the Great Western Railroad in Colorado. Its main use was to pull freight trains transporting goods such as sugar beets and molasses within the region.

Black River and Western #60 would be one of the few steam locomotives that continued operations during WWII, but only after it was retrofitted with a smokebox extension. This was necessary for the locomotive to operate with lower quality coal since higher quality coal was allocated for other uses deemed more important during the war. After serving on the Great Western Railroad for nearly 25 years, #60 was sold to the Black River & Western Railroad in 1963 to be used as an excursion train.

It underwent several updates before pulling its first train in Flemington, New Jersey, in 1965. Since then, #60 has been a permanent fixture on the railroad.

BR&W #60 has continued to run on the line for more than 50 years and more than 80 years total.
More than 50 years after its first run on BR&W, #60 keeps on moving. (Photo: o484 via CC by 4.0)

Current Status

After completing a 5-year federally-mandated inspection in July 2021, #60 returned to operation for excursions on the Black River and Western Railroad. #60 continues to make special appearances in various train events throughout the year including Pumpkin Junction, North Pole Express, Easter Bunny Express, and many more. You can visit the Black River and Western website to learn more about #60 and view upcoming events with the locomotive.

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