Finally Seeing the 4070 in Person

Former Grand Trunk Western No. 4070 is in a state of disassembly at the Midwest Railway Preservation Society roundhouse.

The tender for the 4070 has been separated from the engine and sits on an adjacent track.

The cab of the 4070 awaits some restoration.

Sometimes you hear and read so much about something that you think you’ve experienced it when you actually haven’t.

Such is the case with me and former Grand Trunk Western 2-8-2 No. 4070.

I’ve seen numerous photographs and videos of the light Mikado, which is best known in Northeast Ohio for having operated on the Cuyahoga Valley Line (now known as the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad) between 1975 and 1990.

It has figured prominently in many stories I’ve heard told by railfans. Some members of the Akron Railroad Club worked aboard the 4070 during its CVL days.

But I had never seen the 4070 in the flesh until last Friday.

Since breaking down in September 1990, the 4070 has been at the former Baltimore & Ohio roundhouse in Cleveland that is the home of the locomotive’s owner, the Midwest Railway Preservation Society.

MRPS has been working toward restoring the 4070 to operating condition, but it has been a long, slow slog that is far from complete. Lack of money has been a primary culprit.

Although the MRPS holds regular open houses at its roundhouse during the summer, I’d never been there, only driven past it once on a city street.

But the Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts held its May meeting there last Friday and that gave me the opportunity to see something I had heard much about.

The 4070 these days is in a state of disassembly. Its cab is in one location, one set of driver wheels in another place and the the bulk of engine is sitting just beyond the turntable.

I had pictured the 4070 being inside a dark roundhouse stall, but that wasn’t the case.

It doesn’t look much like a steam locomotive except for its boiler and wheels.

No one during the RRE meeting provided a status report on the 4070s’s restoration.

But a thermometer-like graphic on the MRPS website tells the story. The society’s goal is to raise $1.2 million for restoration of the 4070. The graphic shows that $5,545 has been raised.

And what if the society was to meet that goal and finish the restoration work?

Who knows what would be the next step. Perhaps the 4070 could do an encore appearance on the CVSR.

But nothing is certain. So the hulk of the 4070 sits outside, perhaps bits of pieces of restoration being done here and there.

To borrow a line from a song by the roots music group The Steel Wheels, “I’ve got a long ways to go. And a long road behind.”

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