Posts Tagged ‘2-8-0 steam locomotives’

Rebuilding WMSR 734 Seen as Years Away

April 24, 2021

The Western Maryland Scenic Railroad said it plans to stabilize and evaluate its 2-8-0 steam locomotive No. 734, but has no plans to resume operations with it.

 “Our new mechanical team has found accounts and inspection forms that indicate the locomotive was performing well below peak efficiency during her final years in service,” officials said.

“The locomotive was often pushed far beyond its normal operating capabilities, which has resulted in extreme wear and tear of many key components, particularly the running gear.”

WMSR forces have in the past couple years been focused largely on restoring former Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309, which was steamed up earlier this year and is expected to begin revenue service this summer.

No. 734 is a “Consolidation” type built by Baldwin in 1916 for the Lake Superior & Ishpeming as No. 18 and later had roster number 34.

It was retired by the LS&I in the early 1960s and ran on another tourist railroad and sat on static display at Illinois Railway Museum.

WMSR restored the 734 in the early 1990s and it was featured in many photo charters over the years. The locomotive last operated in 2016.

WMSR officials said the 734 is in extremely worn mechanical condition and will need a lengthy and expensive overhaul.

“If undertaken, it would also mean a significant investment in a locomotive that no longer meets the daily needs of the railroad, though this does not remove the possibility of 734 operating on the lighter, off-season trains and as stand-by power for 1309,” officials said.

The officials said the WMSR cannot commit to rebuilding the 734 until it determine the cost and scope of the needed work.

They indicated that review would not be completed until after the 2021 operating season and is likely to require a fundraising campaign.

Nonetheless WMSR officials expect that it will be a few years before overhaul work on the 734 begins in earnest.

The railroad plans to resume operations on May 29 after being shut down since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s the Little Details That Can Make a Picture

August 2, 2020

At first glance, these two photographs appear to have little in common.

The top photograph depicts former Lake Superior & Ishpeming 2-8-0 No. 33 at Sugarcreek on April 19, 2008, during one of its few outings under Ohio Central ownership.

In the bottom photograph is Oil Creek & Titusville Alco S2 No. 85 in Titusville, Pennsylvania, on April 20, 2006.

Both images feature good composition that invites you to linger over them for a moment or two.

But what these have in common are little things that maybe you noticed but might not have stopped to think about the role they play in creating a story.

In the photograph of No. 33 there is a figure standing next to the locomotive looking it over.

He appears to be a crew member and is wearing a broad brim hat. No. 33 is a smallish steam locomotive, but even if dwarfs a person standing next to it.

In the OC&T image, there is a portion of a pole line visible along the tracks. That combined with the large and old red brick industrial building in the background suggest another era.

The boarded up windows of the industrial building indicate that era is well past.

It used to be common to see pole lines along railroad right of ways, but in the past decade or so railroads have pretty much removed them as they rely on other technology to communicate.

Of course nothing says “another era” like a steam locomotive. And Alco has been out of the business of building diesel locomotives since 1969.

There is another link between these two images as well. Both locomotives were used in tourist train service and part of the rational for having tourist trains is to provide a glimpse of the past.

Railroading hasn’t gone away and figures to be around for a long time to come. But in many ways subtle and obvious it is always changing. Hence it’s nice to have reminders of the past, including those things we may have forgotten from it.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

Steam Sunday: Ohio Central 13 in Sugarcreek

July 19, 2020

Ohio Central 2-8-0 No. 13 leads the northbound excursion train into Sugarcreek on July 4, 1996. The former Buffalo Creek & Gauley locomotive is passing the base of a steam-era water tower.

The late Jerry Jacobson purchased No. 13 in 1993 with the intent of using it as a backup to No. 1551 on the Sugarcreek excursions.

No. 13 has not been in steam since the late 1990s. The Age of Steam Roundhouse website says No. 13 needs significant running gear work and a boiler inspection before it can operate again.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Ex-Upper Michigan Steamer Gets Home in Wisconsin

September 17, 2019

A steam locomotive that once pulled iron ore cars in upper Michigan has now been given a permanent home at a railroad museum in Wisconsin.

Lake Superior & Ishpeming Railroad No. 22, a 1910 Alco (Pittsburgh) 2-8-0, is now being housed in the new Laurence Dorcy Building at the Mid-Continent Railway Museum in North Freedom.

The locomotive was cosmetically restored before it was placed in the building, which is named for a great grandson of rail baron James J. Hill.

Dorcy donated the funding to construct the building. The cosmetic restoration of No. 22 was performed by Diversified Rail Services.

The restoration included the creation and installation of new jacketing, replacing the wooden cab interior and making new piping where needed.

DRS conducted research to determine what had been the original shade of green paint on the boiler jacket.

Soo Line Steam Locomotive Moved to Michigan

August 27, 2019

A former Soo Line steam locomotive has been relocated to an upper peninsula Michigan short-line railroad.

No. 2425, a 2-8-0 built by Alco’s Schenectady Works in 1909 and retired in January 1955, is now at the Mineral Range Railroad in Ishpeming, Michigan.

It was most recently at the Ironhorse Railroad Park in Minnesota and before that had sat in a city park in Enderlin, North Dakota.

Mineral Range owner Clint Jones acquired the 2425 in 2018 but it took a year to arrange its move to Michigan.

The boiler and cab were transported on one truck while another carried the wheels and frame. The tender did did not make the move because of its poor condition.

Jones has said he plans to restore No. 2425 for occasional use on his railroad.

A&A Seeking Money to Repair Steam Locomotive

July 24, 2019

Arcade & Attica No. 18 rolls into Arcade, New York, with an excursion train in July 2017.

The Arcade & Attica is seeking funds to pay for repair to its 2-8-0 steam locomotive, which was removed from service after an inspection found mechanical defects.

No. 18 was found to have broken staybolts near its boiler and cracks near the rivet line.

The locomotive’s boiler has been removed and sent to a shop in Syracuse, New York, for inspection.

Other repair work is being done at the A&A shops in Arcade, New York.

Repair and restoration work is estimated to cost $250,000 and the Arcade Historical Society is leading a fund-raising drive.

The Society and the railroad hope to be able to raise the money in time for No. 18 to operate by November 2020 when the steamer will marks its 100th birthday.

Built for a Cuba sugar mill by Cooke Locomotive Works in Patterson, New Jersey, No. 18 never went to Cuba. Instead, it was sold to the Boyne City, Gaylord & Alpena Railroad in Michigan.

The A&A began steam excursions in 1962. In the meantime, the A&A will use GE center cab switchers for freight and excursion service.

Michigan RR Buys Soo Line 2-8-0

September 1, 2018

A Michigan railroad has acquired a former Soo Line steam locomotive and expects to restore it to operating condition.

The Mineral Range Railroad in Ishpeming, Michigan, picked up No. 2425 from the Ironhorse Railroad Park in Minnesota, which had had the 2-8-0 on outside static display.

Officials said the Consolidation-type locomotive is in good mechanical condition. It was built in October 1909 by the American Locomotive Company’s Schenectady Works for the Minneapolis, St. Paul & Sault Ste. Marie as No. 475.

It was renumbered when the Soo Line leased the Wisconsin Central, where it operated as No. 2425.

The Soo Line and Wisconsin Central both made extensive use of Consolidations for main line, yard and branch line service.

No. 2425 was retired in January 1955 and donated to the city of Enderlin, Wisconsin. Ironhorse Central bought the locomotive in 2008 to keep it from being scrapped.

The locomotive is expected to move to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan early this month.

Volunteers Restore Michigan Narrow Gauge Steamer

August 31, 2018

Volunteers in Michigan have cosmetically restored a 2-8-0 Baldwin narrow gauge steam locomotive.

No. 6 of the Quincy & Torch Lake Railroad ran on a six-mile line hauling copper from the underground mine to a processing mill.

The railroad closed in 1945 and its locomotives were locked inside a roundhouse where they sat for several years until the formation of the Quincy Mine Hoist Association to preserve and interpret the history of copper mining in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

No. 6, which was built in 1912, was only new locomotive purchased by the railroad and was the largest and heaviest in the fleet.

The restoration began after No. 6 returned to Michigan in 2009 following a stint in New Jersey where an expected restoration failed to occur.

Chuck Pomazal, a model builder from Illinois, led a group of volunteers who restored No. 6, largely with hand tools.

The locomotive was placed on public display on Aug. 25. The volunteers are now turning their efforts to restoring  Q&TL No. 5, a smaller 2-6-0.

Catching Up With Arcade & Attica No. 18

July 6, 2017

Arcade & Attica No. 18 approaches Genesee Road near Arcade, New York, during its last run of the day.

For years the Arcade & Attica has operated its 2-8-0 Alco steam locomotive with its nose facing northward on its excursion from Arcade to Curriers.

The engine runs around the train at Curriers and returns to Arcade with its tender leading.

But on two weekends this year the New York-based tourist railroad has reversed that.

It turned No. 18 on a wye behind its shop in Arcade and ran tender first to Curriers and had the nose pointed southward for the 7.16-mile return trip.

From a photography standpoint, it is better to have the locomotive nose pointed southward because the lighting is better.

One of those weekends when the nose was pointed southward preceded Independence Day. Ed Ribinskas and I piled into Marty Surdyk’s Jeep Patriot to make the trek to Arcade for a day of steam locomotive chasing.

It had been 25 years since Marty had been to the A&A. My last visit had been in September 2012. Ed saw No. 18 pointed southward just over a month ago during Memorial Day weekend.

By the time we caught up with No. 18 it was in Curriers where the A&A excursion train has a layover.

Chasing the A&A is easy because it travels at about 10 miles per hour.

But there aren’t that many places to photograph a train en route because most of the grade crossings are in Arcade.

There is Genesee Road, but not much else. Marty thought he remembered there being two crossings, but other than Genesee Road all other crossings are on private roads outside of Arcade.

Our primary concern in chasing the first return trip of the day to Arcade was cloudy skies. Large, puffy clouds filled the sky and sun breaks were infrequent and short-lived.

Trips leave Arcade at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. After chasing the first of those, we headed for a Subway in a shopping center located next to a Topps grocery store.

Subway is Marty’s official railfanning restaurant so of course that was where we would go. He also got to eat his entire foot-long meatball sandwich.

During the Akron Railroad Club longest day outing in Bellevue Marty had ordered a foot-long meatball sub. He placed half of it on his vehicle as he was eating the other half back at the mini plant.

But the wind blew it onto the ground. In Arcade, we ate inside the restaurant and there was no danger of half of Marty’s sandwich being blown by the wind onto the floor.

Photographing at Genesee Road had reminded me of Genesee beer, a brand I’ve heard about but never tasted.

As Ed and Marty were finishing their sandwiches, I walked over to the Tops grocery store to see if I could buy a couple of “Gennies.” But Genesee beer wasn’t being sold by the bottle there or, or that matter, by the six pack.

I ended up instead buying two bottles of IPA beer from two different Buffalo craft breweries and some large chocolate chip cookies for the guys.

The A&A had already left Arcade by the time we got rolling after lunch.

By now the weather had much improved with the clouds breaking up and ushering in mostly sunny skies.

There had been a pack of railfans chasing and photographing No. 18 earlier in the day, but they were mostly nowhere to be found during the afternoon trip when the locomotive was bathed in sunlight.

We got to Curriers just ahead of the train and got photographs of it coming and going.

Then it was off to do some across the field shots from along Curriers Road.

That was followed by stops at Genesee Road, the Arcade fire station and the street south of the depot where we caught No. 18 going back to the shop.

It was an easy chase that yielded some quite pleasing images.

The train was in the station at Curriers when we first encountered it.

The first photo op at Genesee Road occurred as the sun hid behind a cloud.

Crossing Cattaraugus Creek in Arcade during the return trip.

Doing the runaround move in Arcade. After getting this image it was Subway time.

Patrons are lined up to make a visit to the cab of No. 18 during the layover in Curriers.

A baggage cart load of flowers, a depot and a steam locomotive make for a pleasing sight.

Getting underway at Curriers to return to Arcade while blowing the whistle for Chaffee Road.

Leaving behind a trail of smoke.

Yonder comes a steam train in a view that could have been made several decades earlier.

Skirting the driveway of the fire station.

The train at Curriers as seen in the sunglasses of a trainman wearing a Penn Central conductor hat.

Watching the tracks ahead from the engineer’s seat.

Back in Arcade the locomotive has cut away from its trains as passengers disembark at the station platform.

Heading back to the shop at the end of the last trip.

Yes, it’s an Alco.

At the end of the day at the shop in Arcade.

 

SRI Will Restore 2-8-0 to Operating Condition

June 14, 2017

The Michigan-based Steam Railroading Institute said this week that it will restore a 2-8-0 locomotive built by Baldwin in 1920.

The locomotive served the Mississippian Railway and the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway. It was built, though, for short-line Jonesboro, Lake City & Eastern.

It last served the Mississippian, where it carried roster number 76 and remained on the motive power roster until the late 1960s.

Since then, the locomotive has had a series of owners until its acquisition by SRI in spring 2005.

Once restored, No. 76 is expected to pull excursion trains.

In its announcement, SRI said the restoration, which is expected to cost $500,000 and take five years, will be conducted largely by the group’s younger members.

“As young volunteers working on restoring a steam locomotive, we are at a crucial point,” said Logan Schupp, project manager of Project 76. “Most of the first generation of steam preservationists are passing on and with them their knowledge.”

Based in Owosso, the SRI owns and operates Pere Marquette 2-8-4 No. 1225.