STEAM MADE A TRIUMPHANT return to Pennsylvania's Middletown & Hummelstown tourist railroad in August. Former Canadian National 2-6-0 No.91, which has been fully restored over the past four years by an all-volunteer crew, was unveiled to the public on August 2, 2003, and pulled four scheduled round trips between Middletown and Indian Echo Caverns. Also celebrated was the 113th anniversary of the original Middletown & Hummelstown; the current company operates eleven miles over a former Reading branch which was built by the M&H in 1890 and acquired by the Philadelphia & Reading around the turn of the century. The M&H's glossy-black Mogul is scheduled to operate out of Middletown on select weekends the remainder of the year.
No.91 was built for the Grand Trunk Railway Company of Canada by the Canadian Locomotive Company in February 1910 as No.1013. Around 1920 it was renumbered 915 after the Grand Trunk Railway was brought into the Canadian National fold. It was one of 25 small Moguls of this same type (Nos.902-926) owned by CN of class ElOa.
In 1951 most of the remaining ElOa's were renumbered. No.915 became CN No. 9 1, which is the number it wore until retirement in the late 1950s. At that time it and its sisters were among the last 2-6-Os working on any Class I railroads.
No.91 was purchased by an individual in 1959 and preserved. Because of their small size, many of CN's E1Oa's were sold for tourist service upon retirement, including the better-known No.92, which went to the Wilmington & Western, and No.89, which ran for many years at Steamtown and is now on the Strasburg Rail Road.
No.91 was eventually sold to the Government of Ontario for a proposed museum. This project never materialized, and Fred Steck of Reece, Michigan, purchased the 2-6-0. For several years it sat on display at Steck's now-defunct Reece Central Railroad and Museum before being sold to the Middletown & Hummelstown in 1986.
After a brief restoration, No.91 steamed on the M&H during the 1988 season. However, it ran only 19 times that year before being sidelined with mechanical problems. After that, the Mogul languished outdoors and M&H tourist trains were pulled by diesels.
In 1999 a small group of M&H volunteers under the direction of Brian Bachman decided to undertake the restoration of No.91.
The locomotive was completely disassembled, inspected, and received a new set of new boiler tubes along with other work to bring it into compliance with FRA part 230. The restoration cost nearly twice as much as originally anticipated.
The 2-6-0 was back together and painted in time to be exhibited by the M&H during the "Spring Car Cruise-In" on May 8 of this year. It needed a bit more work before it could be fired up, so it was not under steam. By mid-July, however, the Mogul was nearly ready to go. Bachman and his crew worked to install new rod brass and the main rods, and put a new coal bunker floor in its tender. One of the last items to be completed was the installation of No.91's rebuilt brake system and M&H lettering.
On August 1, No.91 was back under steam and made a test run prior to its grand unveiling on August 2. Even though it's now lettered for the Middletown & Hummelstown, the 2-6-0 still has the CN "look" with its centered headlight on its smoke box. Its number plate is a brass copy of the original, and still says "Canadian National."
Besides No.91, several other CN E10a's have been preserved. This includes No.92 at Wilmington, (currently out-of-service), and No.89 at Strasburg, which is operational. No.96 is owned by the Ohio Central and stored at its steam shop. Three E1Oa's are still in Canada, including No.8 1 displayed at Palmerton, Ontario; No.86 displayed at the Western Fair Grounds in London, Ontario; and No.88, which is undergoing restoration at the Prince Edward County Railway at Morrisburg, Ontario. See RAILNEWS, page 26, for a photo of No.9 1. - RAILWAY PRESERVATION NEWS /ABC 27 E-NEWS TRAINORDERS
Union Pacific 1242
Significant cosmetic improvements have been made to Union Pacific No.1242, an 1890 Cooke 4-6-0 displayed in Cheyenne, Wyoming's Lions Park. A fence built by the late Floyd Young, a UP employee who was one of 1242's last engineers, was recently installed around the locomotive. The fence is unique in that it incorporates railroad artifacts and tools that Mr. Young collected during his years on the railroad. The 1242 has been repainted thanks to the efforts of the Sherman Hill Model Railroad Club, and noted UP historian Jim Ehrenberger expertly applied the correct Union Pacific lettering. - TRAINORDERS
Update on Frisco 4500
As I reported in the February 2003 LINESIDE LEGACY, in early 2003 the City of Tulsa, Oklahoma, decided to put its former Frisco 4-8-4 No. 4500 up for auction. It had been disassembled by a local railfan group during a restoration attempt, but they had run out of funding and the locomotive was sitting derelict on a leased siding. The city offered the engine to other groups that might be able to reassemble and restore it.
When this story was published, the possible sale of No.4500 was met with outcry in the community, as many residents wanted to see the locomotive restored and preserved in Tulsa. (Where were these people when the Sunbelt Railway Historical Trust was working to restore the engine several years ago?) Anyway, on June 3, 2003, the Tulsa Parks Board voted to let a local group in Tulsa attempt to reassemble and relocate No.4500 for display in the area, rather than selling the engine to one of the many railfan organizations that had expressed interest in it. One condition was that the ownership of the 4-8-4 had to be transferred from the city to the River Parks Authority, as the city will no longer shoulder the liability connected with the locomotive. River Parks will also provide a display site for the handsome Northern on the west bank of the Arkansas River near downtown Tulsa.
Apparently the group has already raised nearly all the $35,000.00 estimated to be needed to move and reassemble the engine. Plans called for No.4500 to be moved this summer to BNSF's Cherokee Yard, where the railroad has allowed the group free use of a side track and use of cranes for reassembly. A local body shop has offered to donate the labor to paint the locomotive if the group purchases the paint.
And No. 29 Makes Three
Three operable steam locomotives, that is, at Arizona's Grand Canyon Railway. This July saw the return to steam of Grand Canyon Railway 2-8-0 No.29, formerly of the Lake Superior & Ishpeming, which has been undergoing a top-to-bottom rebuilding inside the GCRY shop for the past three years. The locomotive was pulled out of the shop and its boiler fired up for a test steaming on July 8; still to be installed at that time were the rods, piston, boiler jacketing and other minor details.
Fans will notice a change in No.29's appearance, since the engine has a new pilot and twin sealed beam headlight. The railroad hoped to have the big Consolidation ready for regular duty by mid-August.