Lineside Legacy - July, 2001

Three Narrow Gauge Steam Restorations


Waynesburg & Washington No. 4

The "Waynie" -- the Waynesburg & Washington Railroad was a three-foot gauge subsidiary of the Pennsylvania Railroad which operated 28 miles of track between its namesake cities in southwestern Pennsylvania. Today, only a few structures, bridges, and one steam locomotive, 26-0 No.4, have survived. The steamer, displayed at the Greeoe County Museum in Waynesburg, has recently been cosmetically restorated by the Waynesburg & Washington Railroad Special Interest Group, whose members have invested over 200 volunteer hours to refurbish the Mogul. Their ultimate goal is to return the 2-6-0 to operating condition.

Alco manufactured No.4 at its Cooke Works in May 1916 to replace a similar W&W locomotive also numbered 4. It was one of six identical 2-6-Os used in both freight and passenger service. The W&W locomotives were numbered into the Pennsy's roster during March 1920 and No.4 became PRR No.9684 ("968x" was the Pennsy roster designation for narrow gauge locomotives) and received full PRR lettering. When No.9684 was retired in 1934, it was retained and stored at the Northumberland roundhouse along with the rest of the Pennsy historical collection.

Subsequently, the railroad returned the engine to Waynesburg for exhibit. Bestowed with its original number and W&W lettering, the 2-6-0 was displayed outdoors at the Greene County Fairgrounds in 1959. By 1974, though, it was in rough shape and was moved to the Green County Historical Societies' museum for safe keeping. There, in the fall of 1977, a small group of volunteers undertook the restoration of the little 2-6-0 to operating condition. This feat was accomplished in 1978, when the Mogul steamed for the first time on a short stretch of track laid on museum property. Following its debut in 1978, No.4 ran annually during the museum's Fall Harvest Festival, delighting thousands of guests and attracting many railfan and narrow gauge buffs. However, by the mid-1980s No.4's benefactors had moved on, and it was once again retired and stored in the museum's one-stall enginehouse.

By the mid 1990s it seemed no one was interested in No.4 any more. Sitting inside the makeshift enginehouse, paint faded and peeled, metal rusted, and the 2-6-0 started to look shabby. Worse yet, the headlight, hell, and number plate had been removed, giving the engine a somewhat naked appearance. Only during the Fall Harvest was the 2-6-0 pulled out of the shed for public viewing. Concerned fans began to rally around the locomotive. Something needed to be done.

Enter Jim Weinschenker, who in 2000 started a project to cosmetically restore the little Mogul. Last summer Weinschenker and his volunteers scraped, sanded, and cleaned No.4 of rust, soot and debris before applying a fresh coat of gloss black paint. The cab windows were replaced with glass supplied by Waynesburg Glass & Mirror, and the bell, headlight, and smokebox number plate were refurbished and reinstalled. During work sessions, the engine was moved outside the cramped enginehouse with the help of Wade's Towing. Finally, the loco-motive was lettered as it appeared when delivered in 1916. It is interesting to note that No.4 even though it was owned by the "Standard Railroad of the World" - was never equipped with air brakes, just the Eames vacuum brake, which can be identified by the vacuum ejector muffler on the cab roof.

The group's ultimate goal is to return No.4 to steam, and they are working to get a State of Pennsylvania boiler certificate. The restoration is a tremendous undertaking, and requires large amounts of funding and labor. Donations are being accepted by the Greene County Historical Society, the 501(c)3 organization sponsoring the project. You may send donations to: Locomotive No.4 Restoration, Jim Weinschenker, 775 Race Street, Waynesburg PA 15370 (checks should be made out to the Greene County Historical Society). You can also contact Mr. Weinschenker at WandWRR@alltel.net.

D&RGW No. 315

The Durango Railroad Historical Society announced in March that they are restoring Durango's long-neglected narrow gauge 2-8-0, former Denver & Rio Grande Western No.315. This class C-18 Consolidation, built by Baldwin in July 1895, has been displayed at Durnngo since 1950 and is the only steam locomotive in town not owned by the Durango & Silverton. No.315 was originally Florence & Cripple Creek No.3. the Elkton, and in 1917 was acquired by the Denver & Rio Grande and became D&RG 425. After the D&RG merged with the Rio Grande Western in the early 1920s, No.425 was given its present number, 315, and worked out the remainder its life around Gunnison, Montrose, Ouray and Salida, Colorado.

In the late 1940s No.315 was assigned to the Durango yard as a switcher, along with No.319. When larger power became available, both C-18s were retired on October 13, 1949, and No.315 was donated to Durango for display. No.319 was destroyed in a staged head-on collision on the Silverton Branch during the filming of the movie Denver & Rio Grande. Another C-18, No.318, survived the collision and is being restored at the Colorado Railroad Museum.

No.315 was first placed on display in September 1950, and just five years later the 2-8-0 was borrowed to appear in the movie Around the World in 80 Days. Due to mechanical problems (reportedly a cracked or broken cylinder) No.315 was not under steam during the filming, but was pushed around with a motorized box car with smoke blowing out the stack to make it appear "live." Shortly after the movie wrapped, the Consolidation was returned to the park wearing the gaudy paint job, large diamond stack, box headlight, and phony cowcatcher from the filming. When Durango officials complained to the movie producers, the engine was repainted into a more authentic D&RGW scheme, but the fake stack and headlight remain to this day.

Over the past five decades No.315 has deteriorated badly, and was in such rough shape by 1997 that members of the San Juan Large Scalers club asked the city about painting and caring for the engine to honor a member who had recently passed away. Since then, the organization has refurbished the 2-8-0 to its circa-1930 appearance and repaired its rotted pilot beam and cowcatcher. They wish to take the restoration a step further, and have reorganized as the Durango Railroad Historical Society, hoping to return the engine to steam for use on the Durango & Silverton during special events, such as the railroads annual Railfest held every August. The City of Durango, which owns the locomotive, has given their blessing for the project and pledged to help with funding for cosmetic repairs.

The first task is to perform a thorough boiler inspection costing between $6000 and $8000 which will be done at the Durango & Silverton roundhouse. After the inspection, the decision will be made to restore the engine for operation, or just cosmetically. Odds are if the 106-year old boiler is in good shape, a full restoration will be done. Funding is a major concern, and DRHS Director Lynn Daogherty recently wrote in a letter to the Slimrails email group that, "If it looks reasonable that she (315) can be put into operating condition but the funds aren't available, we'll do the cosmetic restoration with that goal in mind, such as adding a working air pump, etc." Costs to put the C-18 back in running order are estimated to be between $150,000 and $500,000.

Memberships in the Durango Railroad Historical Society are available, and currently membership dues are the group's chief fund-raiser. Regular memberships start at $25 and go up from there. For more information contact the Durango Railroad Historical Society, Attn: Fred Folk, Vice President; P.O. Box 543, Bayfield, CO 81122.

Southern Pacific No. 18

In the tiny town of Independence, California, a non-profit group known as the Carson & Colorado Railway, Inc., is working to get former Southern Pacific narrow-gauge 4-6-0 No.18 up and running again. The 1911 Baldwin Ten-Wheeler first worked for the Nevada-California-Oregon Railway before coming to Southern Pacific's former Carson & Colorado three-foot gauge lines in 1928. It last saw service between Keeler and Laws in 1954, and was donated to the City of Independence for display in 1955. No.18 burns oil and has a whaleback tender, and is the only narrow gauge SP steamer with Walsehaerts valve gear.

Currently, No.18 is being worked on outdoors at its display site in Dehy Park. The group has repaired the firebox, installed new fire brick, replaced several boiler tubes and repaired the smokebox door. Inside the cab, the gauges have been overhauled, the water glass has been replaced, and the safety valves have been reset. Also. No.18's tender has been cleaned inside and out, and both the locomotive and tender have been repainted and relettered.

The initial hydrostatic test looked promising. On January 25. 2001, the 4-6-0 was test fired at 45 psi. and No.18's whistle was blown for the first time in 47 years to honor the late Myron Alexander, founder and first president of the group. The engine performed well during the test, but there is still quite a bit of work to he done before the 4-6-0 can return to service.

The Carson & Colorado Railway, Inc., hopes to obtain enough equipment to build an operating tourist railroad between Independence and Owenyo along the original C&C right-of-way. They have acquired a former D&RGW stock car from Knott's Berry Farm (long ago converted by Knott's into an open air tourist car), 150 lengths of rail, 12,000 used ties and four switches and stands. Several members have acquired a Plymouth gasoline switcher which is located temporarily at the Laws Railroad Museum in Bishop, California, where another SP narrowgauge TenWheeler, No. 9, is on display.

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