Obviously, They Missed That Deadline

Operating as the Cuyahoga Valley Line, steam locomotive 4070 is southbound at Boston Mills, on Oct. 17, 1981.

There was an interesting juxtaposition in the January 2020 newsletter of the Akron Railroad Club.

A short report indicated that during a visit to the Midwest Railway Preservation Society facility in Cleveland on Jan. 6, newsletter editor Ron McElrath learned that MRPS has raised just $5,000 of the $1.3 million it estimates it needs to restore steam locomotive 4070 to operating condition.

A thermometer graphic on the MRPS website shows the specific amount raised to date is $5,535 of the $1,290,000 goal.

On the back page of the ARRC newsletter was reproduced an appeal letter written and sent to would-be donors in 2015.

That letter laid out an ambitious plan to restore the former Grand Trunk Western 2-8-2 light Pacific locomotive in time for its 100th anniversary in December 2018.

If the “thousands” of friends, supporters and MRPS members would pony up $40.70 per month for a year or $20.35 a month for two years, that would net more than a million dollars, which the letter said would be more than enough “to complete the project and send the 4070 on her way to run under steam!”

That effort fell way short and the 4070 remains stored cold in a former Baltimore & Ohio roundhouse in Cleveland although restoration has continued in drips and drabs.

But not all is lost for the MRPS. The ARRC report noted that restoration of other passenger cars is underway with former New York Central business car No. 4 having been repainted into a two-tone gray NYC livery.

A former Pennsylvania Railroad passenger car, Chippewa Creek, has been delivered to the MRPS although in need of restoration.

The MRPS website detailed how its two former Nickel Plate Road open window coaches are being renovated with the help of grant money.

Those cars were leased for use on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad last September and for excursions in western Ohio in October, thus bringing in needed revenue for restoration efforts.

Last October MRPS sold for $1 the former Wheeling & Lake Erie passenger station to the village of Glenwillow, which plans to move it across the tracks to a city park.

The station reportedly is the oldest structure still standing in Glenwillow.

With periodic open houses, a engineer for an hour program and other activities the MRPS roundhouse has become something of a railroad museum.

It remains to be seen, though, if the group has enough friends and financial support to realize its dream of seeing the 4070 in steam again.

Railroad restoration is an endeavor in which there is far more desire than there is money and volunteer labor to make dreams come true. A lot of locomotives and passenger cars continue to rust away for lack of resources to restore them.

At some point MRPS might have to decide between operational restoration or cosmetic restoration of 4070. It won’t be an easy decision for them to make even if circumstances might point clearly in one direction.

In case you missed it, as I did, or would like to be reminded of what once was, the photograph above made by Robert Farkas shows the 4070 in happier times pulling a train southward through Boston Mills.

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