Story about the Grant 53

by Robert G. Hilton WP&YR 3/53 was built by Grant for the D&RG RR, but was sold instead to the Toledo, Cincinnati & St. Louis RR as its 63. Dates of other Grant locomotives and trade journals put the date of build as sometime between February and June 1882, inclusive, probably closer to June than to February. Its builder’s number is somewhere between 1443 and 1498, inclusive, probably closer to the end of this series. No Grant builder’s list exists to pinpoint the exact date and builder’s number any further. The contract between Grant and the TC&StL appears to be a lease on its face, but the courts eventually held that in fact it was a contract of purchase.


WP&YR 53 at Skagway Shops

Image by Barley

The TC&StL went bankrupt in 1883. The creditors had a receiver appointed. Grant demanded the return of 63, along with 19 other locomotives. However, the receiver made two counter offers, which Grant accepted. The counter offer affecting 63 was that the receiver would purchase 63 and 73 (a Grant 4-4-0) for the benefit of the Cincinnati-Dayton line of the TC&StL at the unpaid portion of the purchase price. Since the receiver took these two locomotives to preserve the value of the Cincinnati-Dayton line, a lien was placed against the property of this line for the unpaid portion of the purchase price of the two locomotives.
Then, the receiver of the TC&StL sold the Cincinnati-Dayton line to a company which eventually became known as the Cincinnati, Lebanon & Northern Ry. The CL&N had little, if any, use for 63. In fact, it appears that 63 never was on the Cincinnati-Dayton line and never physically left the Dayton & Ironton line. In 1887, Grant repossessed 63 and sold it to the Oregon Improvement Co. for operation as Columbia & Puget Sound RR 9. The proceeds from the sale fell short of what the CL&N still owed Grant. In order to discharge the lien on its property, the CL&N had to pay Grant the shortfall.

Contrary to what has been written elsewhere, at no time was the Dayton & Ironton RR an owner of 63. From 1882 until 1887, Grant was the legal owner. From 1882 until 1883, the TC&StL was the equitable owner. From 1883 until 1887, the CL&N was the equitable owner. (An equitable owner of property is one who can force the legal owner of that property to transfer it, usually as soon as certain conditions are met. For example, when one buys a house, one is the equitable owner during the time between when the executory contract is signed and when the deed is finally executed.)

In 1898, the C&PS sold this locomotive to the WP&YR.

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