Lineside Legacy - August, 2003

The John A. Chambliss

Tennessee, Alabama & Georgia GP38 No. 80, the John A. Chambliss, was in the consist of TAG's daily Chattanooga, Tennessee-Gadsden, Alabama freight at Menlo, Georgia, in June, 1969 (above). The only GP38 on the roster, the unit became Southern Railway No. 2879 in 1971, then Norfolk Southern 2879. The Southern added extended range dynamic brakes. Photo: Jim Boyd
THANKS TO THE EFFORTS of the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, former Tennessee, Alabama & Georgia Railway GP38 No.80, the John A. Charnbliss (most recently Norfolk Southern No.2879) has been saved. This unit, which was the last former TAG unit to work for NS, will eventually be restored to its as-built appearance for display at the museum.

The Tennessee, Alabama & Georgia was originally the Chattanooga Southern, which in 1890 built a line between Chattanooga and Gadsden, Alabama. It was reorganized as the TAG in 1911, and survived well into the 20th century, primarily serving the steel mills in northeast Alabama but also hauling bulk commodities such as timber and coal. Second-hand steam locomotives gave way to diesels in 1951, and by early 1968 there were four modern road units on the roster, including three GP7s and a GP18.

The last new diesel purchased by the TAG was n 2000 h.p. GP38 which was delivered by EMD in March 1968. This unit, which cost the company $196,000.00, was numbered 80 and named John A. Charnbliss to honor of a businessman who had been instrumental in purchasing and reorganizing the TAG in the 1920s, and who was (at the time) the railroad's vice president. Like many Geeps that worked in the South, No.80 came from the builder with a high short hood and, unlike those on the neighboring Southern Railway, "Big John" was configured to operate short hood forward. It was not equipped with dynamic brakes.

No.80 served the TAG less than three years. On January 1, 1971, the railroad was purchased by the Southern Railway, and three days later No.80 was painted into the Southern's black scheme with imitation aluminum striping and renumbered 2879; it was also reconfigured to operate long hood forward, as per Southern practice. The only thing that differentiated No.2879 from other Southern GP38s was a set of spark arrestors and the Chambliss name, which was left on the cab. Later, dynamics were added.

No.2879 continued in service long after the merger that created Norfolk Southern. In the 1990s it was repainted into the NB Thoroughbred paint scheme, but kept its "TAG" sublettering and spark arrestors. Unfortunately, it lost its name at this time.

In 2001, NS No.2879 was retired and put into storage in the NS dead line at Altoona, Pennsylvania. When the unit came up for auction, the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum was the successful bidder; they purchased the unit using donated money from local residents and surviving members of the Chambliss family. Recently the former TAG No.80 was moved to the museum shop at East Chattanooga where it has undergone inspections and the first steps toward cosmetic restoration. Operation in the future is not out of the question, but at the present time the GP38 needs a good deal of work before it can be made serviceable again. THE TAG-A-LOGUE

Port of Tillamook Bay Steam

The new Oregon Beaches Scenic Railroad came one step closer to reality on May 3, 2003, when the Port of Tillamook Bay fired up and test ran its former Curtiss Lumber Company two-truck Heisler No.2 between Tillamook and Garibaldi, Oregon. Under stormy skies, the 60-ton locomotive pulled a train consisting of a tank car (along to provide extra water) and an RDC 1 along the Port's former Southern Pacific line to Garibaldi where it stopped alongside the passenger platform in the company of for mer Rayonier 2-8-2 No.90. Local businessmen and members of the Lions Club, who are participants in the tourist railroad project, were on hand to answer questions from the media and hand out information and schedules.

Heisler No.2 was built in March 1910 for the Curtiss Lumber Company of Mill City, Oregon. It later worked for the Hammond Lumber Company; Vancouver Plywood; and last, the Willie Brothers Shingle Company (all out of Mill City) before being retired in the late 1950s and stored.

In 1974 the Heisler was acquired by Jack Rogers and moved to his Golden Age of Logging Museum at Ashford, Washington. That year it received some mechanical work and was fired up to provide rides on the museum's "Tenas Creek & Eastern" loop track, which it continued to do on a sporadic basis into the early 1980s. Eventually the Heisler developed mechanical problems and became a display piece.

The museum closed in the 1990s and the entire Rogers collection was purchased in 1997 by Jack Anderson of the Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad. No.2 was resold to MRSRR employee Scott Wickert in 1999, who restored it over the following year inside the railroad's Mineral shops (the restoration was extensive, and included replacing the crown sheet). The Heisler's debut under steam was in June of 2001 on a MRSRR railfan special. It is now leased by owner Wickert to the Port of Tillamook Bay.

By the time you read this, No.2 will likely he in regular service pulling the Oregon Coast Explorer on its scenic run. The Port of Tillamook Bay operates freight trains over 88-miles of former SP trackage stretching from Portland to the bay; only a small portion will be used for the steam train ride. At the time of this writing an open-top excursion car was being prepared for passenger service; it is unknown what the rest of the consist will be. Incidentally, there has been some talk of restoring the Oregon Memorial Steam Train Association's ex-Rayouier No. 90 to operation now that there's a place to run it, but only time will tell if this will come to fruition. The 2-8-2 has been a static display at Garibaldi, along with a small depot, passenger coach and caboose, since 1963.

Pacific Lumber No. 37

In May it was announced that the Timber Heritage Museum of Eureka, California signed an agreement to purchase former Pacific Lumber Company 2-8-2T No.37, currently stored out-of-service at Marshallton, Delaware. The big Mikado will be restored for use on the museum's proposed Humboldt Bay Scenic Railroad, which has plans to operate between Samoa and South Fork in Humboldt County. The Timber Heritage Museum and excursion railroad are projects of the Northern Counties Logging Interpretive Association (see LINESIDE LEGACY September 2002). The group is already working to restore Pacific Lumber 2-6-2 No.29 for use on the new line.

No.37 was built at the American Locomotive Company's Brooks Works in January 1925 for the Sugar Pine Lumber Company of Pinedale, California, as their No.4. It was the last 2-8-2T type logging engine built by Alco, and joined three sisters of similar design at Sugar Pine. However, No.4 was more powerful and heavier than those locomotives, and so had a greater tractive effort. Note that No.4 and its sisters are sometimes incorrectly called "Minarets," a term reserved for the Sugar Pine's lone Alco 2-10-2T.

When the Sugar Pine Lumber Company went bankrupt in the early 1930s, No.4 was sold to the Pacific Lumber Company of Scotia, California, in 1935. There it was renumbered to 37, and spent the next 20 years hauling redwood logs through the North Coast woods. When Pacific Lumber purchased diesels in 1956, No.37 was semi-retired and used only if absolutely necessary. Reportedly, the company made $16,000 worth of repairs to the engine after the diesels arrived, but only steamed it twice after that.

No.37 was sold to railfan Frank Bayliss in 1962, Bayliss in turn sold it to Lawrence Myers in 1966 who had the 2-8-2T moved to Pennsylvania for his Wawa & Concordville tourist road, which operated for a short time over Penn Central's Octoraro Branch. The Mikado was overhauled at the Pennsylvania Railroad's Wilmington shops in early 1967 and inaugurated service on the W&C on July 1 of that year. It normally ran with the tender from a Reading camelback, and eventually the railroad planned to remove No.37's saddle tank and convert it to a tender engine. Unfortunately the tourist train was forced to cease running in November 1968 after only two short seasons, and No.37 was placed back into storage.

In 1976, No.37 was purchased by a volunteer at the Wilmington & Western tourist railroad of Wilmington, Delaware, who had it moved there in 1980. Inspections revealed that No.37 was in surprisingly good condition, and volunteers restored it to service between 1983 and 1987. The engine was granted additional time on its tubes, and despite the fact that it had a warped rear flue sheet, it was approved for operation. The Mikado pulled trains at Wilmington, trailing a former C&O tender, until 1990, when issues regarding its maintenance (and who was required to pay for them) arose, resulting in litigation. Eventually the engine - saddle tanks removed moved to Marshallton for storage and was later put up for sale.

At the present time the Timber Heritage Museum estimates it will cost in the neighborhood of $48,000.00 to purchase and inspect the 2-8-2T. Efforts are underway to determine what repairs will be necessary to bring it into safe operating condition. Of course, under CFR 49 part 230, No.37 will need to have ultrasound testing to determine the thickness of its boiler metal and also will need new tubes and flues. It is hoped that if everything looks good, the engine can be moved to California in the near future and readied for operation within the next few years.

Reading RS3 No. 523

The Lake Shore Railway Historical Society of North East, Pennsylvania is now the proud owner of a former Reading RS3 that was recently acquired from the Collis P. Huntington Chapter NRHS. This unit, which was formerly Reading No.523, was built by Alco in 1952. When it was retired by the Reading it was sold in 1973 to United Railroad Supply, which resold it to Oglehay Norton for use at Ceredo, West Virginia, where it was given number 612. In 1986 the unit was retired again and donated to the C.P. Huntington Chapter, which moved it to CSX's South Yard at Huntington, West Vir ginia, for display. Recently the chapter decided that the locomotive didn't fit into their collection, and decided to sell it. The Lake Shore Railway Historical Society stepped up and purchased the RS3, which is still in more-or-less operable condition. No.612 is now leased from the society by the West Virginia Central, the freight division of the tourist-hauling Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad of Durbin, West Virginia. Eventually the unit may be moved to the Lake Shore's museum for display and operation. - THE LAKE SHORE TIMETABLE

C&O No. 2732

Long displayed at Parker's Field in Richmond, Virginia, former Chesapeake & Ohio 2-8-4 No.2732 was moved to its new home at the Science Museum of Virginia on April 26. The big Kanawha had been donated to the city by the C&O in 1960 and was placed on exhibit just before Christmas of that year. However, the city decided last year that the 2-8-4, which was unfenced and had many of its parts stolen or smashed, had to be removed so that the park's parking lot could be expanded. No.2732 was subsequently sold to the science museum for $1.00.

Prior to the move, the locomotive and tender were separated (not an easy task) and prepared for the 1.5 mile journey through the streets of Richmond. An 80-wheel trailer was assembled by the two companies involved in the move, Edwards Moving and Rigging and Engineered Rigging Plus, both with numerous heavy-haul experience. As was done with Union Pacific 4-8-4 No.833 three years ago, the 210-ton No.2732 was suspended between the frames of the trailer for the move, which reportedly went off without a hitch. The 2-8-4's 80-ton tender was moved via a separate rig.

A $190,000.00 TEA-21 grant covered the cost of the move and will fund No.2732's cosmetic restoration. The locomotive is an important addition to the museum, which, along with science, also covers the transportation industry and its evolution. See July 2003 RAILNEw5 for a photo of the move.


The Pacific Northwest Chapter NRHS is undertaking the cosmetic restoration of Peggy, a standard gauge two-truck Shay currently displayed at the Forest Discovery Center near the Portland, Oregon. zoo. It was built in 1909 as Gig Harbor Timber Company No.1 for service in Washington State, and originally burned wood. In 1913 it was sold to the Stimpson Timber Company where it was converted to an oil-burner, and operated in the Gaston, Oregon, area. The Shay was retired in the mid-1950s.

In 1955 the engine, which was known as Peggy during its time at Stimpson, was presented to the City of Portland in accordance with the wishes of owner C. W. Stimpson. It was originally displayed alongside a building that caught fire in 1964, damaging the locomotive's cab and other parts. For a time it was stored in Oaks Park alongside the other display steamers there, including SP 4449 and SP&S 700.

Beginning in 1969 the Pacific Northwest Chapter began efforts to restore the Shay, with an eye toward operation. A new cab was built and damage items repaired. While the chapter's efforts to get Peggy running again ultimately failed, they did manage to create a nice static display with the engine at the then-named Western Forestry Center. Track was laid there, and the locomotive was moved to the site from Oaks Park in 1972. The engine has been displayed outdoors since that time, and has suffered considerably in the wet climate, as there is a good deal of rust damage and wood rot that will need to be addressed during the restoration. Already the chapter has replaced much of the rotted wood, and has recently painted the engine.

Ventura County No. 2

Steam operation has long been a part of the Orange Empire Railroad Museum of Perris, California. For the past two decades the museum's operable steam locomotive has been former Ventura County Railway 2-6-2 No.2, which was built by Baldwin in 1922 for the Cascade Timber Company. A few years ago No.2 was removed from service for a needed overhaul in order to conform with the new FRA Part 230 rules. Unfortunately, several serious mechanical ailments have recently been uncovered that will need to be addressed before it can again operate. This has pushed the cost of No.2's overhaul some $87,000.00 beyond what had been expected.

The main problem was found with the 2-6-2's crown sheet. Ultrasonic inspections of the boiler shell were favorable, but the crown sheet over the firebox was found to be thin too thin for continued operation. In order for the locomotive to continue in service, the crown sheet needs to be replaced. To that end the museum has been working with a certified boiler repair firm which will perform some of the work, while other less critical work will be done by volunteers. It has not yet been decided whether the boiler will be removed from the frame and sent out for repair, or if a contractor will be brought in. One benefit of removing the boiler is that some needed work to No.2's running gear could be completed while the boiler is away.

The museum is currently raising the money needed to pay for No.2's repairs with various fundraising activities, including swap meets and raffles. If you'd like to donate toward the rebuilding write to: Orange Empire Railway Museum, P.O. Box 548, Perris, CA 92572-0548. Be sure to earmark your donation for "Ventura County No.2."

Great Western 51

In mid-March former Great Western 2-8-0 No.51 was moved by owner John Birmingham from its longtime home at the Fillmore & Western Railroad in California to Mead, Colorado, where it will receive flues and other restoration work. Birmingham, who has owned the locomotive since 1963, initially ran excursions with the Consolidation out of Colorado, including a pair of memorable trips over the D&RGW in the mid 1960s. More recently, the 1906 Baldwin was overhauled to participate at SteamExpo during Expo '86 in Vancouver, and after that was shipped to Washington State were it operated for many years at the Yakima Valley Rail & Steam Museum (where it was converted to burn oil). No.51 then moved to the Fillmore & Western in the early 1990s, and operated there on special occasions and for movie work, but has been out of service for the past few years. Rumors abound, but there's no official word yet as to where No.51 will operate once its boiler work is completed.

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