I was in town to send some packages this morning and was lucky to have my camera with me. As I drove by Wilson Park I noticed that #2552 was being uncovered. It's been hidden under a cover for a few months while the old lead based paint was removed and the locomotive was spruced up with repairs and a new paint job.
Here's what's on the plaque:
Engine 2542 was built in 1910 by the American Locomotive Company in Pittsburgh, PA., for the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway. In 1929, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway purchased the KCM & O Line and assigned this engine to the Newton, KS terminal. This engine is a "2-8-0" which means there are two front wheels, eight driving wheels, and no rear wheels. In 1955, the engine was moved from Newton, KS to Arkansas City and placed on the siding track at the Standard Oil Bulk Station. The A.C. Andrews Construction Company moved the engine six blocks down Birch Street [Avenue] to Wilson Park. The move was accomplished by placing temporary track down and using compressed air to move the engine weighing almost 100 tons. The relocated engine was placed on a concrete pad and dedicated during the 24th Annual Arkalalah Celebration* that same year.
The following people helped in the moving of the locomotive: Engineers: J.O. Guffry, Tom Bender, H.S. Gibson, R.C. Gibson, H.B Bartlett, and George Wylle, Section Foreman Jim Dill.
The following is the dedication speech by John Landreth, General Manager AT&SF
To a railroad man a locomotive has always been a thing of life and power, and it always seems to me a ceremony of this kind is a fitting last rite for a thing we have labored with so long. I've often thought of the countless number of people who have heard its whistle at all hours, enjoyed the fruits of its labor, hauling goods from far away places as it crossed the states so many times, and of the men who have run her - not the least of whom were boys from six to 60 who vicariously ran her as they watched her go by. "It is for those little men to come we join you in setting aside this engine that they too, may have a part of her, the like of which has helped to build our great nation."
*Arkalalah began in 1928, but this was the 24th because it was not held in the last three years of the war.
You have to love the look of those old engines. While I was attending Michigan State University in the late 70's, the locomotive Pere Marquette #1225 was just outside my dorm and I walked past it everyday. It was outside on a cement slab on static display while the funds were being raise to restore it. It now is seen occasionally on local runs in our area and I love to hear the steam whistle from our house when it goes past.
Thanks for posting the picture Steve
Ah Yes. They were still using Steam Locomotives up until I was 2 or so. Another impression left on my small brain.
Thanks for reminding me.
Alan,I worked on it once and have ridden it once,and have chased it several times.The last time my grandson and i chased it,it was double heading with the NP 765!!
Great Loco to see while eating an ice-cream cone.
It seems to me just about all the larger towns have one in a park. When traveling from Steve's place to Lake Ozark I saw 3/4 A.T.& S.F.
steam locos that day.
A long time ago I maintained 2 Steam Locomotives full time for Six Flags over Texas. I cannot describe the feelings of getting up in the early morning hours and servicing, firing up, fueling, adding to the main line and then test driving the Engines around the park. On the test drives I was the only occupant on the train being both Engineer and Fireman. Those were some of the best years of my life! The engines were oil fired and got 3 gallons to the mile. The only draw back to working on Steam Engines is that nothing on them is lite and nothing on them is clean. One year the Eccentric Babbitt bearings needed to be replaced on one of the engines. It took 98 pounds of Babbitt to pour those bearings!
(Message edited by paulmikeska on October 23, 2017)
Absolutely beautiful Steve.
We stopped in Proctor, MN once and I climbed all over a Yellowstone engine, I had a wonderful time! A grinning little boy in a mid 40's body then.
We drove across the street to look at the USAF jet on a post and as we were getting back into the car, the police showed up at the engine. Even in my pictures, the little No Climbing sign doesn't show up. Oops. :-)
Thank you for posting!
Great timing, great photo
Pikes Peek cog railroad has/had two old steam engines that have the boiler at a angle to keep it about level going up the steep grade to the peek, they now use diesel electrics with a large heater grid on the top of the engine cab to dissipate the power generated by dynamic braking coming down the grade, they used to run the old steam engines once a year, don't know if they still do, been a while since I was there.
Kenneth, I often wondered how you would go about restoring it. Everything is so heavy. I'll get a ride on it one these days. It comes to the Howell depot for special occasions. My dad talked about as a kid standing on our old wooden bridge and waiting for the smoke to hit you in the face from the old steam trains.
A couple of weeks ago we toured in our Model T in the Mountains of northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado. My wife and I like to do this trip just about every year. The fall colors are amazing and we like to take a day to ride the Cumbres and Toltec train. Here is a shot of my sedan parked in front of a 1925 Baldwin 2-8-2 K-36 narrow gauge locomotive. In 1925 the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad ordered 10 of these locomotives. Nine of the them are still in existence and 8 of them are operational, 4 in Durango and 5 (4 operational)in Chama. The 10th one fell off of the turntable in Salida, CO in 1953 and was scrapped.
Some of the fall color.
(Message edited by Mike Vaughn on October 23, 2017)
I just noticed the typo, and the editing deadline has passed, so I'll put the correction here. That should be #2542, of course.
Paul M, Some of your comments reminded me of one of my favorite Jimmie Rodgers songs.
Give it a listen.
The Silverton/Durango line gets the publicity, but my favorite is the Cumbres & Toltec. The scenery is spectacular. Here's a ride I took with my cousins six years ago.
Harrah's automobile Collection had a narrow gauge locomotive on display in a glassed in building on the left as you walked through to the outer show rooms.
Once a year they fired it up and ran it back and forth on track laid from the display building back behind showroom #2.
I always hung around during the steam up. It took several hours to get it up and running. Cal Tinkim was the on site steam expert and he oversaw the operation.
I was lucky enough to actually sit in the engineers seat and pull the throttle lever back and operate the the locomotive a few hundred feet, and also got to pull the chain and toot the whistle. That was one of the perks being an employee.
I will say that if I lived closer to one, I would definitely volunteer to help at one of the few places that still run steam locomotives. All of my immediate family have been trained in steam operation. Unfortunately, my oldest son hasn't the time to do it. The other three of us stay in practice, operating boilers and engines belonging to friends. This weekend, with the help of some of those friends, we are retubing my very own boiler. Other than live steam models, this will be the first of my very own. I have operated stationary steam engines and traction engines, but never a locomotive. I really would like to do that one day. There's one in Savannah, GA that only operates for a couple of hundred yards worth of track, but they do have a turntable. the next closest that I am aware of is in Chattanooga (Tennessee Valley RR). They operate over a short bit of track (6 miles maybe?), but it is an very interesting bit of track. Along that short route there are 2-3 trestles and a pretty long tunnel through Missionary Ridge, and a turntable at the end of the line. It is very affordable and well worth the time and money to do the little short trip if you are ever in Chattanooga and have a couple of hours to spare.
The Cumbres and Toltec (former Denver & Rio Grande) is owned by the states of New Mexico and Colorado. The states lease the railroad to an operator. The railroad was built in 1881, it is a 64 mile trip from Chama, NM to Antionito, CO. If leaving from Chama the train climbs a 4% grade to the Cumbres summit at 10,015 feet. If leaving from Antionito it is a gentler 1% climb to the summit. If leaving from Chama and they need to pull 9 cars or more they use 2 locomotives to make the steep climb. The Durango Silverton also formerly D&RGW is a nice ride too through beautiful country but as Steve said I like the Cumbres train a little better.
The last time I was out that way I discovered the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad, which runs excursion trains on the San Luis & Rio Grande line from Alamosa to La Veta Pass during the summer. I haven't had a ride on it yet.
Steve that is something that is fairly new. When the UP took over the D&RGW the UP abandoned that line. That was a regular D&RGW freight route up until the mid to late 1990’s. My dad was a D&RGW trainman and that was his regular route from Pueblo to Alamosa and return. Dad was a Brakeman/Conductor. He would also run west out of Pueblo to Minturn over Tennessee Pass. The UP abandoned that route too. Dad retired in the mid 1990’s. My grandad was an engineer over the same routes as Dad. Grandad retired in 1985 after 41 years. There is now an excursion train that goes through the Royal Gorge west of Canon City. I was fortunate to ride the last D&RGW passenger train through the Royal Gorge in 1967, My Grandad was the Engineer.
To Jim Davis, The Mt. Washington Cog Railway was the first operating cog railway in the world. They have now 90% Dieselized for air pollution - not reliability - reasons, but still run one round trip per day behind steam. As far as I know, all cog railways using steam tilt the boilers; if they didn't, the water gauge would not read accurately, and the front boiler tubes might not be surrounded by water, when that happens, things can get ugly really fast.
Love that photo of the Consolidation.
This summer the wife and I went to Abion ME,
to ride on the Steam Train of the Wiscasset, Waterville and Farmington RR, WW&F. They also have a "T" train car that they run. It's only a short run,2 miles, narrow gauge that they hope to