Steamer Returning to its West Virginia Roots

The Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad will acquire Buffalo Creek & Gauley 2-8-0 No. 4, a 1926 Baldwin-built steam locomotive with deep West Virginia roots.

The locomotive is now owned by the North Carolina Transportation Museum. The locomotive will move this spring to the D&B shop in Cass, W.Va., at the Cass Scenic Railroad

The D&B will then perform boiler work and other repairs

The railroad hopes to complete the restoration in time for the locomotive’s 90th birthday in 2016.

No. 4 will be given an appearance to approximate what it looked like in the early 1960s when it was one of the last steam locomotives in regular service in the U.S.

A saturated steam locomotive, it often showed signs of leakage on its smokebox front, thus earning it the nickname “Old Slobberface.”

“We are looking forward to returning this historic West Virginia steam locomotive to service not far from where she once operated. We are truly thankful to the North Carolina Transportation Museum Foundation for entrusting us to carry on the legacy of the Buffalo Creek and Gauley No. 4 steam locomotive,” said Durbin & Greenbrier Valley President John Smith.

“We know it’s been the dream of many who have contributed to the preservation of this engine over the years to see it under a full head of steam and on the tracks again. The Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad is proud to be a part of making this happen.”

No. 4 was built in Philadelphia by Baldwin Locomotive Works for use in Mexico.

However, it was sold to the Buffalo Creek & Gauley in Clay County, W.Va., where it became one of the most photographed steam locomotives in the East. It last ran in West Virginia in 1965.

The locomotive was sold to the Pennsylvania-based Quakertown & Eastern excursion operation in 1967; the Southwest Virginia Scenic Railroad in Hiltons, Va., in 1972; and the nonprofit support organization for the North Carolina Transportation Museum in 1978.

It was restored in 1986 and lettered and numbered as a replica of Southern Railway 2-8-0 No. 604, which had been based at Spencer.

The locomotive pulled the museum’s own 3-mile train ride for years. It last operated in November 2001 and was partially restored in the 2000s before other priorities at the museum resulted in the restoration being stopped.

No. 4 was the first piece of rolling stock that a group of Southern Railway retirees restored at Spencer in 1986, a move that is regarded as the turning point for the North Carolina museum that is the home to the largest preserved roundhouse in the nation.

 

 

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