30 December 1999
Le Monde
(Millennial Steam) This century has seen the rise of the steam locomotive from saturated 2-8-0s and 4-6-0s to the superheated articulateds, Garratts, and 4-8-4s that represented the peak of steam locomotive design. It also saw the rapid demise of steam once a reliable diesel locomotive was available, and now steam, long on the retreat, is a curiosity or an entertainment everywhere but China.

Yet one can still ring in the new year, or century, or millennium (2000? 2001? Who cares - sounds like two parties to me) behind steam.

A steam enthusiast who finds himself at Jingpeng can board the westbound Tonglou - Benhong service and celebrate behind a QJ-class 2-10-2.

In Europe, you can board a train of vintage stock at Passau, Germany, and take a first-class tour behind DB 4-6-2 01.119 to Linz, Austria, possibly marking Midnight with a burst of 90-mph running. You can also take a luxury ride on the VSOE Pullmans behind BR 4-6-2 35028 "Clan Line," though Midnight will find the train in the Tonbridge platforms. Here in North America, the Swanton Pacific in California will be operating their miniature Pacifics at midnight, possibly the last steam to operate in 1999.

Stretch the timeframe a bit and you can celebrate in Poland (last arrival into Wolsztyn at 2215, first departure at 0437) or Germany (2113 and 0445 at Radeburg, 2233 and 0452 at Freital-Hainsburg), or Durango (an evening trip to Cascade, with dance afterwards in the Roundhouse, followed by a morning trip to Cascade on the 1st).

There may not be steam over Cuesta, or Blue Ridge, or Shap, or Arthur's Pass to welcome the year 2000. But it's still with us, thank goodness, and hopefully will be around to welcome the year 2100 as well. (Thanks to Trevor Heath, Doug Debs, and David Mummery.)  
29 December 1999

WW&F Railway Museum

No. 10 news page 
(ex-Revere Sugar 0-4-4T "High Pockets") The Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Musuem added a new locomotive to its operable stable shortly before Christmas when it test-fired its ex-Revere Sugar Forney on 18 December.

Built by Vulcan in 1904 for Revere Sugar, the 0-4-4T was acquired by Ellis Atwood and moved to his Edaville Railroad in the 1950s, where it was regauged from 30" to 24" and given the number 5. After working in the Boston area, it was stored until 1998, and acquired by the WW&F Museum this past July. It is now known as WW&F 10.   
WW&F 10 at Sheepscot Station near Wiscasset, ME.  Photo courtesy the WW&F Railway Museum.

WW&F 10 at Sheepscot Station near Wiscasset, ME. Photo courtesy the WW&F Railway Museum.   A boiler inspection was performed in November, and the pre-Christmas fireup resulted in the granting of a boiler certificate from the state boiler inspector. The WW&F shop forces will do a bit of running gear and cab work, and tackle a few more minor jobs before declaring no. 10 fully serviceable. Steam-powered operations have been limited to the Museum's annual mid-August picnic, with power provided by ex-Monson RR no. 3, loaned by the Maine Narrow Gauge RR Museum. But with no. 10 on the property, additional steam operating days are foreseen.

You can learn a lot more about no. 10 and the Museum at their web site. (Thanks to James Patten.)  
23 December 1999

L&TPF / 2719 Web Site 
(ex-SOO 4-6-2 2719) 2719 is back on its drivers, ready for final tramming and reassembly over the winter in preparation for operation on the Wisconsin Central in May. Congratulations to the Locomotive & Tower Preservation Fund for a rapid return to service of 2719. A generation ago, a comparable setback (see the archive) caused a locomotive to be out of service for over a decade. This year two damaged locomotives are quickly being returned to service - a definite improvement.   
2719 having her drivers removed in June 1999.  Photo by Mark Fay.  Copyright 1999 Mark Fay, all rights reserved.

In June, this was the scene as 2719 was separated from her drivers. The process was repeated in reverse last week as 2719's drivers were re-mated with the frame and spring rigging.  
20 December 1999
(ex-GTW 4-8-4 6325) Also getting a look at the inside of TVRM's shop last week were the drivers from ex-GTW 4-8-4 6325, which arrived Wednesday for reconditioning work which will begin in the new year. Ohio Central Railroad 
Grand Trunk Western 4-8-4 6325 in the Ohio Central shop near Coshocton, OH.  Photo by Jason Johnson.  Copyright 1999 Jason Johnson, all rights reserved.

Grand Trunk Western 4-8-4 6325 in the Ohio Central shop near Coshocton, OH. Photo by Jason Johnson. Copyright 1999 Jason Johnson, all rights reserved.   
6325 is being overhauled by the Ohio Central Railroad for excursion service. No firm date for completing the locomotive has been set, but excursions in the fall of 2000 are a possibility.   
Grand Trunk Western 4-8-4 6325 in the Ohio Central shop near Coshocton, OH.  Photo by Jason Johnson.  Copyright 1999 Jason Johnson, all rights reserved.

Don't you just love that "new boiler" smell? Photo by Jason Johnson. Copyright 1999 Jason Johnson, all rights reserved.   
The work list is exhaustive - a full running gear overhaul, all new flues, all new superheater elements, etc. Once out on the road 6325 will be in far better shape than she was when she was put on display in Battle Creek, MI, in the early 1960s. (Thanks to Jason Johnson and Steve Freer.)  
17 December 1999

Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum 
(TVRM steam locomotives) Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum's shop building is filling up quickly. On 15 December ex-Southern Railway 2-8-0 630 (sister to SOU 722 reported on below) was moved into the shop for evaluation, along with ex-Kentucky & Tennessee 2-8-2 10. Current thinking in Chattanooga is that unless the crew finds an unpleasant surprise this winter, 630 should be operational in 2001.    
630 poses at TVRM during a Louisville & Nashville Historical Society night photo session 16 October 1989.  Photo by John Craft.  Copyright 1999 John A. Craft, all rights reserved.

630 poses at TVRM during a Louisville & Nashville Historical Society night photo session 16 October 1989. Photo by John Craft. Copyright 1999 John A. Craft, all rights reserved.   
TVRM's ex-Southern 2-8-2 4501 was placed under covered storage for the winter, taking the space occupied by 10 and 630. No. 10 will have its boiler tubes (installed in the 1970s but never used) removed to facilitate an inspection, and if they are found to be sound may be used in 630's boiler.

And of course No. 610 will soon get a winter break as well after completing her year's service on "Polar Express" trains, and get some attention before going it alone again in 2000. (Thanks to Steve Freer.)  
11 December 1999
(Updated 13 December)

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad (Interim Site)

Friends of the C&TS

Albuquerque Journal article 
(C&TS RR) The C&TS Railroad Commission reported its decision to file a countersuit against George Bartholomew's C&TS RR Corp. during its meeting on Sunday, 12 December, in Albuquerque, NM. Mr. Bartholomew sued the Commission in October for terminating his contract to operate the C&TS Railroad (see the archive). Details of the countersuit's terms were not discussed outside of executive session.

Friday, 10 December, was the deadline for interested parties to submit bids for the operating franchise. The Albuquerque Journal reports that four companies submitted bids: Chippewa Northwestern, based in Lincoln, NE; Old Santa Fe Land and Cattle, Ltd., an Albuquerque company; Rail Ventures of Louisville, CO; and White Pass & Yukon Railroad of Skagway, Alaska. All were judged "significantly non-compliant" by the C&TS Railroad Commission during its meeting on Sunday. An addendum to the RFP will be issued by 20 December, and the response deadline extended until 12 January to encourage additional operators to bid.

On 9 December the New Mexico Legislature's Committee on Economic and Rural Development and Telecommunications held hearings on funding for the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad, and endorsed proposed legislation for a $400,000 appropriation. During the hearing the Committee heard from former NM Governor David Cargo (instrumental in saving the railroad in 1970), Friends of the C&TS Treasurer Richard Cowles, C&TS Engineer Jeff Stebbins, and Chama businesswoman (and Friends member) Kim Smith Flowers. If the full Legislature approves the appropriation, and if the state of Colorado matches the funding, then the C&TS Commission will have funding to begin to make the repairs to track and equipment deferred during the three-year tenure of George Bartholomew's C&TS RR Corp. (Some of the briefing documents used during the session will be available on the Friends web site soon. I encourage you to look it over.)  
9 December 1999

Durango Herald article

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad 
(D&SNG) A long-outstanding lawsuit brought by the US government against the Durango & Silverton NGRR has been settled for $400,000.

The lawsuit, filed in 1996, stems from a fire sparked by a D&SNG steam locomotive on 5 July 1994, which burned 270 acres in the San Juan National Forest near Mitchell Lakes, about 10 miles north of Durango. The amount, to be paid by the railroad's insurance company, represents about half of what the government had been seeking for reimbursement of the costs associated with four days of fighting the fire. (Thanks to Sam March.)  
7 December 1999

Knoxville (TN) "News-Sentinel"

Gulf & Ohio RR Corp. 
(ex-R&R 2-8-0 203) Based strictly on the "no news is good news" bromide, it appears that Pete Claussen's 2-8-0 no. 203 dodged a bullet last night.

For the second time since mid-October, arsonists set fire to a building in the former Southern Railway Coster Shops in Knoxville, TN. The city of Knoxville has been negotiating with Norfolk Southern to purchase part of the complex and adapt the building burned last night for reuse as part of a neighborhood revitalization plan. (Another building was destroyed in a 20 October fire.) The Knoxville & Holston River RR, which Claussen operates over former NS trackage in the Knoxville - Oak Ridge area, occupies part of the shop complex, and no. 203 is under slow overhaul there.    
No. 203 on the Port Bienville Railway, June 1986.  Photo by John Craft.  Copyright 1999 John A. Craft, all rights reserved.

No. 203 at the Port Bienville Railway in Jun 1986. Photo by John Craft. Copyright 1999 John A. Craft, all rights reserved.   
No. 203 is a "catalog Baldwin," one of many which roamed the country early in this century (survivors include Mississippian Railway 76 and 77). Built in 1925 and sold to the Washington and Lincolnton, 203 was sold to the Rockton and Rion when the W&L closed. Too small to effectively haul the R&R's gravel trains, it spent decades in storage until it was purchased for use on the Orange Belt tourist railroad in Florida in the 1970s. From there it went to the Mississippi Railway and Transportation Museum, where it operated on the Port Bienville Railway near Bay St. Louis, MS in the mid-1980s (making several moves over the CSX main line between Mobile, AL and New Orleans, LA in the process), then moved to Meridian, MS and was stored there. From Meridian the locomotive moved to the Conway Scenic Railway in South Carolina, where it never operated.

Claussen purchased the locomotive and moved it to his Lexington & Ohio property in Kentucky before relocating it to Knoxville last year. In recent months Claussen has hired at least one new employee familiar with steam (from the Fort Worth and Western in Texas). The K&HR has no plans to use 203 in regular passenger service. Instead, it will operate occasional specials and operate from time to time in freight service.

We'll keep you posted in case the news turns bad. (Thanks to Johnny Winkler.)  
6 December 1999
(GSMR, ex-SOU 2-8-0 722) Shop forces from the Great Smoky Mountains Railway and TVRM were working for NS last week to prepare Southern Railway 2-8-0 No. 722, on display in Asheville, NC, for a short move which will occur on Thursday, 9 December.    
Southern 722 at Tennessee Valley RR Museum, 9 November 1985.  Photo by John Craft.  Copyright 1999 John A. Craft, all rights reserved.

Southern 722 at Tennessee Valley RR Museum, 9 November 1985. Photo by John Craft. Copyright 1999 John A. Craft, all rights reserved. Great Smoky Mountains Railway 
Built by Baldwin in 1904, no. 722 was one of hundreds of G and K class Consolidations owned by the Southern Railway, and finished her career on the Southern at Asheville in 1952, where she was a regular on the 3.5% grades of the Murphy branch (a portion of which is now the GSMR), along with sister K class 630 and G class 385, preserved in Chattanooga, TN, and Bergen County, NJ, respectively. After 15 years service on the East Tennessee & Western North Carolina Railroad (see the home page) as no. 208, 722 was re-acquired by the Southern Railway for use in excursion service. She debuted in a coat of green paint at the NRHS Convention in Charleston, SC, in 1970, and operated until 1980. She was loaned to the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum in 1984, and operated there until November 1985, when boiler problems put an end to her career.

In 1992 Norfolk Southern's Manager - Steam Operations Carl Jensen arranged to display 722 near the Southern Railway freight office in Biltmore, an eastern suburb of Asheville, NC. Biltmore is now a trendy neighborhood in a trendy city, and NS has sold the property for redevelopment. No 722 will be stored for now in the old roundhouse she once called home.

But there may be more in store for No. 722. A GSMR press release and a report in the Asheville "Citizen-Times" gives credence to persistent rumors GSMR wants to acquire no. 722 and return her to service. (722, like 630 and ex-N&W "A" class 2-6-6-4 1218, were still owned by NS Corp. at the end of its steam program in 1994. 630 has been donated to TVRM, and 1218 remains in storage in Roanoke, VA.) GSMR will soon be acquired by American Heritage Railways, owners of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad in Colorado (see the archive), who have detailed a number of planned improvements for the GSMR: turntables in Andrews and Bryson City, a new paint scheme for the equipment (Tuscan Red to replace the red, yellow and blue used today), and Sylvan Green paint for the locomotives. AHR has also expressed an interest in acquiring the trackage between Dillsboro and Waynesville from NS, and extending passenger service (and possibly another turntable in Waynesville). While the areas around the Great Smoky Mountains National Park have long been a magnet for tasteless development (visit nearby Cherokee, or Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge on the Tennessee side), the introduction of gambling on the Indian reservation nearby, and the boomtown spirit in the Asheville area, obviously give AHR reason to expect many new riders on the railroad.

An operational 722 on the Murphy Branch would refute Asheville native Thomas Wolfe's oft-repeated statement that "you can't go home again." Now, can we discuss Pullman Green for the coaches and black for the locomotives? (Thanks to Jim King.)  
1 December

Georgetown Loop RR

White Pass & Yukon RR 
(GLRR 40, 44) The Georgetown Loop Railroad has released additional information on their plans for their two Central American 2-8-0s. No. 40 is in the shop getting a boiler and running gear overhaul in preparation for its April trip to Skagway, Alaska. The locomotive will be trucked through British Columbia and the Yukon to Skagway, where it will spend five years operating for the White Pass and Yukon RR.

Once no. 40 is safely on its way, sister no. 44 will enter the shops for overhaul. No. 44 has spent well over a decade out of service, on display at the former C&S Georgetown depot. GLRR officials expect it to be serviceable by 2001. (Thanks to Phil Johnson.)  
1 December 1999

Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec

Friends 1 December Press Release 
(C&TS RR) It appears Santa (feel free to substitute the winter solstice celebration mythical figure of your choice - we're ecumenical here at SteamCentral) is bringing grants to all the good railroads this year instead of coal.

The Board of the Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation has awarded the Friends of the Cumbres and Toltec a $10,000 community outreach grant to help fund winter shop work in Chama. Friends' President Terri Shaw explained, "Part of our mission is to preserve the railroad and to support the Commission. The Commission has exhausted its funds available to keep shop work going and we have some resources that can help. This critical time requires us to go beyond our usual realm of activity. We want to minimize the damage that could be done to the railroad by this interruption and make it possible for the new operator to work effectively from the beginning of its tenure."

"This interruption," of course, is the ouster of George Bartholomew's Cumbres and Toltec Scenic RR Corp. as designated operator in October (see the archive; the entire situation is also summed up nicely in the Friends' press release). This grant brings to $25,000 the total available for keeping a small shop force in place to make progress on needed locomotive repairs.

The process of selecting a new operator continues, and an announcement of finalists will be made in Albuquerque 18 December, with a view to having a new operator in place in early January.  
30 November 1999

MidContinent Railway Museum 
(ex-C&NW 4-6-0 1385) MidContinent Railway Museum has announced the awarding of a contract to overhaul the boiler and firebox of C&NW R1 1385 to Becker Boiler, of Sun Prairie, WI. The contract, subject to confirmation, is the result of a $160,000 ISTEA grant awarded to MCRM by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

According to Don Meyer, Executive Director of the musuem, Becker's work should be complete by April, at which time the MCRM shop forces will complete the reassembly in time for an 1 August return to service.    
C&NW 4-6-0 1385.  Image courtesy MidContinent Railway Museum.

C&NW R1 4-6-0 1385. Photo courtesy MidContinent Railway Museum.    
No. 1385 was built in 1907, and used in both freight and passenger service during fifty years of service to the Chicago & North Western Railway. MidContinent acquired no. 1385 shortly after its retirement, and over the past 40 years no. 1385 has been a regular performer on MCRM's trackage. In addition, no. 1385 was the focus of C&NW's steam excursion program in the 1980s, and has run on several Wisconsin regional railroads as well. 1385 was removed from MCRM service in July of 1998 in preparation for overhaul. (Thanks to Ken Hojnacki and Don Meyer.)  
29 November 1999
United Kingdom
(BR 0-4-4T 30053, 2-6-4T 80078) The shop crews at the Swanage Railway, a very scenic ex-Southern Railway branch on the south coast of England, have turned out two overhauled locomotives recently.
Swanage Railway 
British Rail M7 class 0-4-4T 30053 hauls a train in the shadow Corfe Castle, near Swanage.  Photo by Andrew P. M. Wright.  Copyright 1999 Andrew P. M. Wright, all rights reserved.

British Rail M7 class 0-4-4T 30053 hauls a train in the shadow Corfe Castle, near Swanage. Photo by Andrew P. M. Wright. Copyright 1999 Andrew P. M. Wright, all rights reserved.    
First out was British Rail 30053, an 0-4-4T built in 1905 by the London & South Western Railway. This locomotive spent a few years at Steamtown before being repatriated in 1986, along with ex-Southern 4-4-0 926 "Repton." 30053 was a popular engine among preserved railways in the early 1990s, and even saw main line duties on a couple of occasions. After a 14 month overhaul, she debuted on a series of freight trains on 12 September 1999.    
British Rail 2-6-4T 80078.  Photo by Andrew P. M. Wright.  Copyright 1999 Andrew P. M. Wright, all rights reserved.

British Rail 2-6-4T 80078. Photo by Andrew P. M. Wright. Copyright 1999 Andrew P. M. Wright, all rights reserved.    
Next out of the shop was BR 80078, built in Brighton in 1954, and retired from service in Essex and north Wales in 1965. This is the second 2-6-4T to be returned to service by the Swanage Railway - sister 80104 debuted on the line in May 1997. 80104 had the honor of picking up no. 80078 from the line's "interchange" at Norden into Swanage on 1 October. (The Swanage Railway's Herston shops, on the outskirts of the town of Swanage, are not physically connected to the railway, so the locomotive was hauled to the station of Norden by truck.) No. 80078 made a few running-in trips on the line, and entered traffic on 7 November doubleheaded with 30053.

The railway's next project is "rebuilt West Country" 4-6-2 34028 "Eddystone," a fitting companion for the already-operational "unrebuilt Battle of Britain" 34072 "257 Squadron." This will give the Swanage five operational locomotives, all commonly used on the line in the steam era. (Thanks to Andrew Wright.)    
BR 4-6-2 34028

BR 4-6-2 34028 "Eddystone" being threaded through the village of Corfe Castle. Photo by Andrew P. M. Wright. Copyright 1999 Andrew P. M. Wright, all rights reserved.  
26 November 1999
(ex-RDG 4-8-4 2100) Tom Payne's Reading 2100 made its debut runs under steam in Canada on Tuesday.

No. 2100 was one of the four Reading T1s saved at the end of steam, and one of the three used on "Reading Rambles" excursions between 1959 and 1964. After the end of the program, No. 2102 was sold to Steam Tours, Inc.; 2124 went to Steamtown in Vermont; and 2100 and 2101 were sold for scrap to Striegel Supply & Equipment in Baltimore, MD, where they sat for years.

2102 saw use during the 1970s on excursions, including a semi-regular tour of duty from Ronceverte, WV on the C&O's "Greenbrier" line, and eventually wound up in the care of Andy Muller.

On February 27, 1975, 2101 (never used in "Ramble" service) was purchased by Ross Rowland, removed from the scrap yard, received a quickie overhaul, and was used on the "American Freedom Train" from Washington, D. C. to Chicago, IL, before running light to Birmingham, AL, for more thorough attention. It took over the train from ex-SP 4-8-4 4449 in Birmingham in May, 1976, and hauled it thorough the northeast through the summer, when 4449 took the train on its final leg to Florida. 2101 later saw use on the "Chessie Steam Special" in 1978 and 1979, and was in winter storage at Silver Grove, KY (Cincinnati) when a fire broke out there, damaging the locomotive.    
RDG 2100 at Hagerstown, MD, April 1984. Photo by Alan M. Miller.  Copyright 1999 John Craft, all rights reserved.

RDG 2100 at Hagerstown, MD, April 1984. Photo by Alan M. Miller.    
No. 2100 was acquired as a parts engine for no. 2101, and was eventually moved to the Western Maryland roundhouse in Hagerstown, MD, where Rowland kept some equipment (including, from 1979 to 1995, ex-C&O 4-8-4 614). In addition to the parts scavenged in 1975, her tender went to 2101 during its post-fire restoration, and she gave up her water pump to ex-N&W 4-8-4 611 during its 1981-1982 restoration. 2100 was eventually acquired by Bill Benson and Richard Kuhn (owner of the Lionel toy train company), and restored for service. After completion the locomotive remained stored in Hagerstown until it was moved to the Winchester & Western, where it ran a single, non-revenue test movement on 25 March 1989.    
RDG 2100 on the Winchester & Western. Photo by Michael A. Eagleson.  Copyright 1999 John Craft, all rights reserved.

RDG 2100 on the Winchester & Western, March 1989. Photo by Michael A. Eagleson.    
It was later moved to Brewster, OH, where Benson tried unsuccessfully to organize a series of doubleheaders with ex-NKP 2-8-4 765 on the Wheeling & Lake Erie in the early 1990s. It eventually migrated to the Ohio Central's shop in Coshocton, OH, where it was stored until sold to Payne.

Word is No. 2100 ran around the former New York Central yard in St. Thomas, ON, for two hours; the only problem of any magnitude was the water pump. No further test runs are planned for now, and Mr. Payne's plans for the locomotive in 2000 have not been made public. (Thanks to Rob Sterne.)  
22 November 1999

Friends of the C&TS 
(C&TS RR) Continuing its efforts to ensure a healthy future for the railroad and its host communities, the Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad will put two grants from anonymous members to good use, paying shop forces until a new operator is able to take over some time in January. This initiative follows on an earlier announcement to order and guarantee payment for a set of flues be used in one of the C&TS' ex-D&RGW K36 2-8-2s (see the archive).

The C&TS Commission has been paying a small force to prepare several of the locomotives for FRA inspections, but does not have the funds to finance a full winter's shop activity. This money will allow the reduced force to continue making progress on repairing the locomotives, and increase the chances of starting the 2000 tourist season on time with reliable locomotives. The work to be done includes replacing broken staybolts, hydro-testing boilers, re-lagging and re-jacketing boilers, piping replacement, air tank testing, rod bushing replacement, and other necessary urgent maintenance.

Sources indicate the selection of a new operator is well under way, with at least one bidder having turned in its bids well in advance of the 10 December deadline. The Commission has retained the services of Stone Consulting and Design to help in the selection process, taking advantage of the company's existing knowledge of the bidders. An announcement of finalists is expected in a Commission meeting to be held in Albuquerque, NM, on 18 December.

As a fundraising effort, a couple of individuals have gotten together to acution donated items, and give the proceeds to the Friends' "Ralph Flowers Memorial Fund" benefitting the C&TS locomotives. You can find the items on eBay.  
24 November 1999

Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer 
(ex-WP&Y 2-8-0 69) The Stuhr Museum's ex-White Pass & Yukon 2-8-0 69 finally got its boiler inspection yesterday (see the news story below for more). The boiler was given a good report, not unexpected for a boiler less than fifteen years old. There are reports the museum plans to make some major improvements to its shop facilities prior to beginning any work on the locomotive, though, so a firm date for 69's return to service can't be predicted. And of course the cause for No. 69's retirement was worn running gear, not boiler problems. But it's beginning to look like "Railroad Town" may have an operating railroad again in the not-so-distant future. (Thanks to Jim Hollis.)  
23 November 1999

New Hope Valley Railway  
(ex-New York Ship Builders 0-4-0T 17) A quick look at Wes Barris' web site, or James Hefner's database, will confirm that the most common steam locomotive still left in this country is not the 4-8-4, or the 2-8-2, but the 0-4-0. Over a third of what was "preserved" consists of this wheel arrangement, and most of them are of industrial heritage. So while the New Hope Valley's no. 17, which spent most of its life in a shipyard complex, won't draw the crowds that Union Pacific's Challenger or Ohio Central's Pacific will, it is perhaps far more typical. To quote David P. Morgan on another "common" locomotive (you can see her photo at the top of the page): "her very commonness would in time become the locomotive's highest recommendation . . . "

So I highly recommend to you no. 17, which the New Hope Valley plans to operate in 2000 on their ex-Carolina & North Western trackage at Bonsal, NC, west of Raliegh. It isn't svelte, it isn't fast, but it is typical. (Thanks to Jim Wrinn.)    
No. 17 at its former home, the West Virginia Northern.  Photo courtesy the New Hope Valley web site.

No. 17 at its former home, the West Virginia Northern. Photo courtesy the New Hope Valley web site.  
18 November 1999

DOT Press Release

September 1998 draft of new regulations

Federal Register Table of Contents (look under "FRA") 
(FRA Part 230) Rodney Slater, US Transportation Secretary, issued a press release Tuesday announcing the "Final Rule" on the regulations known as 49 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) Part 230, "Inspection and Maintenance Standards for Steam Locomotives." According to Slater, "the re-creation of events from our transportation history place new demands on equipment involved. This rule will help ensure the safety of steam locomotives in use throughout the country, whether they are moving people or freight." The press release goes on to say "The past few years have seen a resurgence in steam locomotive operations, primarily in the areas of tourist and historic railroads." (Who writes this stuff?)

Earlier this month, Steve Lee of the Union Pacific Railroad, a member of the working group that drafted the revisions, gave a summary of the most recent part of the ten-year process to SteamCentral: "After the extended public comment periods last winter and the public hearing that was held in January 1999, we met and went over all comments. We did make a number of changes suggested in the comments. FRA then tackled a jurisdictional issue, and presented the proposal to RSAC for a final vote, in which the proposed new rule passed unanimously. That was in August or September. At last report, FRA was going through the proposed rule section-by-section to establish the financial penalties for violation of each section. Once that is complete, the proposal goes to the FRA adminstrator for her signature, then the agency will publish it as a Final Rule, with an effective date."

The effective date was designated as 18 January 2000. On that date an interim period will begin, wherein some regulations take effect immediately, and some take effect after one year. Requests for flue extensions will be considered for two years after the effective date, after which time extensions will generally be eliminated, and boiler life calculated based on "service days." In other words, get your money together for flues now - you're going to need it by the end of 2002, maybe earlier.

A new page has been added to the Tutorial section dealing with the new regulations, where you can find the most recent public draft, and the final version. We'll also be interested in publishing your comments and perspectives on the changes - send them to mail@steamcentral.com.  
17 November 1999

The Locomotive Report (German)

Subscribing to Steam Railway 
(Wolstyn Shed) Here's one for the lighter side, coincidentally another magazine connection: the "Lok Report" notes that Poland's TV Channel 1 broadcast its morning show, "Coffee or Tea?" from INSIDE the roundhouse at Wolstyn yesterday, with a 2-10-0 posed on the turntable in the background! The area and steam operations got quite a bit of positive exposure, focusing on tourism and showing lots of footage of steam-powered trains. Among those interviewed during the broadcast were the mayor of Wolstyn, the shedmaster, and Mel Holley, editor of "Steam Railway" magazine in the UK. (Hey Mel, send us a photo to publish from the trip!)  
17 November 1999

"Steaming Up!" 
("Steaming Up!" Magazine) There will be a new steam magazine on the scene soon. The January 2000 issue of "Steaming Up!" will leave the Little River Locomotive Company erecting halls next month. Promising "Steam Locomotives and Nothing But," "Steaming Up!" will feature interviews with steam veterans, reports on active steam repair shops, and live steam information. I hope it's a great success.  
16 November 1999
United Kingdom

Flying Scotsman web site 
(ex-LNER 4-6-2 4472) In a bit of bad news, Flying Scotsman Railways has announced that the 31 December / 1 January "Millennium Scotsman" from London to Edinburgh and return, with an overnight and festivities in the Scottish capital, has been cancelled due to high cost. (See the archive.) There go my plans for the Millennium - anyone got a suggestion where one can be riding behind a steam locomotive as the calendar ticks over?  
16 November 1999

Canadian Pacific Railway

CPR's 2816 Page

OR&N 4-6-2 197 
(CPR 2816, RDG 2100) Two items of interest from our friends in Canada. First, the boiler from Canadian Pacific 4-6-4 2816 has arrived at Brooklyn Roundhouse in Portland, Oregon, where Doyle McCormack has contracted to overhaul it for the British Columbia Railway, who is rebuilding 2816 for CPR. Rob Sinclair, one of the owners of OR&N 4-6-2 197, will hopefully be providing some photos of the work in coming weeks.

Second, ex-Reading 4-8-4 2100 has been test-fired and given its Canadian boiler certificate as an oil-burner. Test runs are being planned before year's end, subject to delay. (Thanks to Rob Sinclair and Rob Sterne.)  
16 November 1999

Conway Scenic Railroad 
(ex-Reader 2-6-2 108) UPDATE 23 November: Railway Preservation News reports that the locomotive has been acquired by the Blacklands railroad, operating northeast of Dallas, TX.

Ex-Reader 2-6-2 108, long a fixture at the Conway Scenic Railroad in New Hampshire, was spotted being transferred by truck to Sulphur Springs, Texas, for overhaul. No. 108 has been out of service since approximately 1987. (Sister No. 11 is currently stored serviceable in Paris, Kentucky, where it ran on the Kentucky Central for serveral seasons before CSX reacquired the former-L&N line.)  
16 November 1999
(C&TS RR) The time between now and Thanksgiving will be very busy in Chama, NM. Over thirty interested bidders will have the chance to inspect the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad on Saturday, and an FRA inspector will be in the shop next week to inspect the ex-D&RGW 2-8-2s for flue extensions and annual inspections as applicable. A reliable source reports that of the 33 bidders identified so far, roughly one-third are considered viable. So I wouldn't put much stock in those rumors that the railroad is dead - a lot of folks apparently think it can be operated profitably . . .  
16 November 1999

2719 / L&TPF web site 
(ex-SOO 4-6-2 2719) Locomotive & Tower Preservation Fund, owners of SOO 2719, got some good news from Wisconsin Central Ltd. last week - approval to operate excursions next season. Trips in May and June are already scheduled - see the Schedules page for details.

Several sources have all confirmed that Ed Burkhardt's ouster from WCL has not led to a cooler attitude toward steam operations. This is good news indeed - WCL is one of the brightest spots on the steam map these days.

On a side note, it appears SOO 2-8-2 1003, another resident of the ex-C&NW Altoona (WI) roundhouse that 2719 calls home, will spend the winter at the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay, WI. 1003 has been on display there since Labor Day weekend, after a series of August excursions in Michigan. Plans for operation of 1003 in 2000 have not been announced.  
12 November 1999
(C&TS RR) Want to run the Cumbres & Toltec? Here's your chance.

The C&TS Railroad Commission is advertising for prospective Operators in today's Wall Street Journal. Companies interested in bidding for the concession must meet certain financial criteria, and furnish their bids by 10 December 1999. The Commission reportedly hopes to select an operator by year's end, so that the successful bidder can occupy the premises as early as possible in January to begin repairs to six locomotives, over two dozen passenger cars, and certain sections of track.

There have been no further reports on George Bartholomew's lawsuit against the Commission in response to his termination (see the story below. (Thanks to John Pritchard.)  
9 November 1999

White Pass & Yukon RR

Georgetown Loop Railroad 
(ex-FICA 2-8-0 40, 44) During the Tourist Railway Association Convention's annual meeting in Cass, West Virginia, 5-7 November, John Bush, Chief Mechanical Officer of the White Pass & Yukon Railroad, confirmed that the White Pass was indeed leasing Georgetown Loop 40 for five years. Shipping details haven't been disclosed, but the railroad's goal is to have the locomotive operational in time for its centenary events on 29 July 2000 (see earlier story below.

No. 40, built in 1921 for the Guatemala Railway (International Railways of Central America), has been a part-time performer at Georgetown for many years. Identical twin No. 44 operated there at one time as well, but has been on display at the former C&S depot in Georgetown for over a decade. There was some indication that No. 44 might be headed for the Silver Plume shops for reactivation, to supplement the line's Shay.  
8 November 1999

Middletown & Hummelstown Railroad 
(ex-CN 2-6-0 91) Work on disassembling this locomotive, mentioned in a news item in July (see the archive), is moving right along. Appliances, all front end components including the superheater unit and flues have been removed. Cleanup on the boiler interior and valve motion parts is underway, and flexible staybolt caps have been removed.

The Strasburg Railroad was contracted to perform a boiler inspection and has given the restoration crew a short list of work. (Strasburg is also preparing the new superheater flues for the boiler.) An FRA inspector has also looked at the boiler shell, and is being kept abreast of progress.

As I said in July, the most interesting aspect of this project to me is that the work sessions, generally the first and third weekends of the month, include training for new volunteers. This is a great way to build up the volunteer base, and more groups should consider this approach. (Thanks to Steven Zarick.)  
5 November 1999

MSTRP / Project 1225 
(Project 1225) The Michigan State Trust for Historic Preservation has announced the receipt of a US$ 60,000 grant; the donor wishes to remain anonymous. The funds will be applied to the construction of a new building, and to further fund-raising efforts.

MSTRP's current facility, a former Ann Arbor shop facility in Owosso, MI, is severely deteriorated and is to be demolished by the Tuscola & Saginaw Bay RR in a cleanup project. A new facility to house the Trust's rolling stock and shop equipment is to be built elsewhere on the property.  
2 November 1999

Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad 
(C&TS) At its Board of Directors meeting this past weekend, the Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad voted to order the materials necessary to reflue one of the four ex-D&RGW K36 2-8-2s owned by the railroad. As reported earlier, The C&TS RR Commission is beginning the process of selecting an operator to replace George Bartholomew's C&TS RR Corp., declared in breach of contract by the Commission at its 13 September meeting. According to Terri Shaw, President of the Friends, the decision was made to make sure they are available quickly when a new operator is chosen; lead time for tubes, superheater flues, and superheater units can be months. (The Commission hopes to complete negotiations by year's end.) Shaw said the Friends will expect the new operator (whoever is chosen) to reimburse the Friends for the purchase. The Friends will also consider pre-purchasing other materials with long lead times.

The C&TS owns four K36s that have operated in preservation: 484 (derailed in April 1999 and out of service since, last flued in 1993); 487 (new flues in 1999); 488 (out of service since 1997 awaiting flues); and 489 (new flues in 1990). It's most likely that the materials will be used in 488, whose running gear is in better shape than that of 489, the next most likely candidate.

Friends members and former C&TS employees are praising the Friends Board for a bold move. SteamCentral concurs.  
1 November 1999

Elgin County Railway Museum 
(ex-RDG 4-8-4 2100) The work by Tom Payne's crew to convert no. 2100 to burn oil is quickly coming to a close; the burner was tested on Saturday, although pressure was not raised in the boiler. (See the archive for more information.) Test runs are rumored for November, after which plans are a bit vague. We'll do our best to keep you posted. (Thanks to Rob Sterne.)  
1 November 1999

Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer 
(Stuhr Museum) Following up on an earlier story (see below), "The Diamond," the newsletter of the Great Plains Chapter NRHS, reports that officials at the Stuhr Museum are looking at a locomotive to replace No. 69 currently located in California. Indications are that the unspecified candidate is somewhat smaller than no. 69. SteamCentral has not heard the results of a boiler examination reportedly carried out on no. 69 in October; if any viewer has any information please send it our way. (Thanks to Jim Hollis.)  
27 October 1999

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RR

Albuquerque Journal article

Denver Post article

Pueblo Chieftain article

Narrow Gauge Discussion Board 
(C&TS RR) George Bartholomew's Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RR Corp., ousted last week as operator of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad (see the 20 October news item below), has filed suit in New Mexico District Court in Santa Fe against the C&TS Commission, the four-member panel which oversees the property for the states of Colorado and New Mexico (joint owners of the property). Bartholomew's suit seeks unspecified damages from the Commission for terminating his operating contract. Bartholomew alleges that the Commission has failed to provide the funds needed for capital improvement of the railroad's assets, including the locomotives. According to Bartholomew between US$600,000 and $1,000,000 is needed from the Commission to rehabilitate each locomotive; other estimates put the total cost at less than $1,000,000.

Bartholomew's lawyer, Michael Schwarz (reportedly also Mr. Bartholomew's brother-in-law), told a reporter for the Denver "Post" that the suit is intended to alert applicants interested in operating the railroad "to be very careful in dealing with the commission." Mr. Schwarz and Mr. Bartholomew have also reportedly hired William L. Petitjean, a registered Professional Engineer from the Pacific Northwest, to represent the Corporation in its suit. Mr. Petitjean made his first-ever visit to the railroad during its final weekend of operation, including a cab ride up Cumbres Pass.

Sources close to the controversy have indicated the states may file suit against Mr. Bartholomew and his corporation seeking reparations for depleted inventories and deferred maintenance.

If I understand the Pueblo "Chieftain" article correctly, the Commission will be asking the CO and NM legislatures for operating funds as distinguished from the annual capital support the Commission receives (US$80,000 from each state in recent years). These funds could make it significantly easier to start the 2000 operating season on time. (Thanks to Les Jarrett, John Pritchard and Sam March.)  
26 October 1999

Heber Valley Railroad 
(ex-Great Western 2-8-0 75 and ex-UP 2-8-0 618) A Federal Railway Administration inspector recently completed an inspection of the Great Western train set purchased by the HVRR in June of 1999 (see the archive), including 2-8-0 No. 75, last seen in "Legends of the Fall" and still painted as a "Northern Pacific" locomotive. John Rimmasch, Road Foreman of the Heber Valley, notes that "the engine is in good shape and should be easy to get on the road. The boiler and flues have less than three working days on them since their last inspection. The flues themselves are brand new."

Heber Valley is planning to finish work on the 75 during the winter while ex-UP 2-8-0 618 is stored serviceable. (For 618's schedule during November and December see the archive for details.) I've attended two events on the Heber Valley - they do a great job. Mark your calendar.    
UP 618 on the Heber Valley RR. Photo by John Craft.  Copyright 1999 John Craft, all rights reserved.

UP 618 powers a photo special along Deer Creek Reservoir on the Heber Valley Railroad in October 1997. Photo by John Craft. Copyright 1999 John Craft, all rights reserved.  
26 October 1999

SLSTA home page 
(ex-SLSF 4-8-2 1522) Progress is being made on running gear of the National Museum of Transport's Frisco 4-8-2, damaged during a June derailment and the subsequent rerailing efforts (see the archive for June 1999).

Among the items being repaired by the volunteer SLSTA crew, Steam Operations Corporation and Diversified Rail Services are replacement of all eight crown brasses (cracked during rerailing) and turning all driver journals. Three driving wheel tires and two trailing truck tires were cast in Pennsylvania last week, and will be shipped to TVRM's shop in Chattanooga, TN for installation on the wheel centers. (Additional work is being done at Lunar Tool & Machine in St. Louis.) In addition to work on the locomotive running gear, the tender trucks are being converted to accept roller bearings.

SteamCentral will be posting photos of the repairs to 1522 soon - keep an eye on the Tutorials page. (Thanks to Scott Lindsay of Steam Operations Corporation and Steve Freer of TVRM.)    
Scott Lindsay and Mike Brown prepare to move 1522's drivers to the wheel work area of TVRM's East Chattanooga shop on Monday, 26 October 1999. Photo by Steve Freer.  Copyright 1999 Steve Freer, all rights reserved.

Scott "Don't you DARE take my picture, I had to get up at 4am!" Lindsay mans the hoist controls as Mike Brown prepares one of 1522's driver sets for movement to the wheel work area of TVRM's East Chattanooga shop. Photo by Steve Freer. Copyright 1999 Steve Freer, all rights reserved.

1522's drivers share space with 2719's at Chattanooga, TN. Photo by Steve Freer.  Copyright 1999 Steve Freer, all rights reserved.

Drivers from ex-SOO 4-6-2 2719 and ex-SLSF 4-8-2 1522 sharing space in TVRM's East Chattanooga shop on Monday, 26 October 1999. Photo by Steve Freer. Copyright 1999 Steve Freer, all rights reserved.  
26 October 1999

Union Pacific Historical Society

Union Pacific Railroad 
(UP steam) Now would be an excellent time to join the Union Pacific Historical Society.

The UPHS will be holding its annual convention in Cheyenne, WY, 12-15 July 2000, and has requested that UP operate a Cheyenne - Laramie roundtrip excursion. 4-6-6-4 3985 will be back on the road next summer, and is booked to travel to California for the Democratic National Convention in August. Trips may be operated with 3985 prior to its departure for Cheyenne's "Frontier Days" as well as the UPHS convention. It's possible that the UPHS will be the first group since 1995 to operate what was once a semi-annual staple of the excursion calendar. Trips over Sherman Hill with 8 excellent steam-powered runbys are fondly recalled by those who travelled on them.

Here's hoping that the UPHS is successful in their bid. See you at Emkay?  
21 October 1999

2719 status report 
(ex-SOO 4-6-2 2719) There has been much progress in returning 2719 to service since the last SteamCentral report on 3 September (follow the story in the archive. A new driver center has been cast, tires fitted, and final machine work will be completed soon at the TVRM shop in Chattanooga. Work on the locomotive itself continues at the ex-C&NW roundhouse in Altoona, WI. L&TPF hope to reinstall the drivers in November. Check out the details of the progress report, and the terrific photos of the work being performed.  
20 October 1999

Cumbres and Toltec Scenic RR

Albuquerque Journal Article

Albuquerque Journal Editorial Cartoon

Denver Post Article 
(C&TS RR) During its four-hour meeting on Tuesday, 19 October, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RR Commission voted unanimously to revoke its contract with C&TS Operator Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad Corporation, owned by George Bartholomew. Bartholomew won the operating contract in bidding after Kyle Railways chose to give up its operating contract in 1996. Commissioner Wayne Quinlan said Bartholomew "is not able financially to have a season next year," and that "every month we delay this decision, we delay the opening next year."  
George Bartholomew's first passenger operation on the C&TS was this May 1997 special. Photo by John Craft.  Copyright 1999 John Craft, all rights reserved.

George Bartholomew's first passenger operation on the C&TS was this May 1997 special with ex-D&RGW K36 2-8-2 484. (Photo by John Craft. Copyright 1999 John Craft, all rights reserved.)   
In a meeting on 14 September, the Commission declared the C&TSRR Corp. in breach of its contract, citing numerous instances in support of its decision (see the archive). Bartholomew and his lawyer claim the problems cited by the Commission stem from problems inherited by Bartholomew and weather, and say the Commission is aiming to make the Corporation a "scapegoat." During Tuesday's meeting the Commission judged that the breaches had not been corrected, and noted that Bartholomew had refused to submit to an audit required by the contract and "welcomed" by his lawyer in a September press release. According to one employee, Bartholomew immediately laid off the management staff of the railroad effective 19 October; presumably the hourly staff were laid off as well.

There was a last-minute bid to purchase Bartholomew's contract by Don Shank in partnership with Bill Greenhalgh and H. L. Scott, the owners of the Osier Station company, which contracted with Bartholomew to operate concessions on the railroad. (Shank is also negotiating with UP to buy the ex-D&RGW line from South Fork, CO to Creede.) Bartholomew's contract with the Commission does not allow him to sell his franchise, and the Commission declined to support the sale.

Unconfirmed reports also indicate the states plan to seek damages from the Corporation with regard to deferred maintenance and depleted inventories; it is unclear if punitive damages will be sought. Bartholomew also indicated at the meeting that the Corporation may sue the Commission for terminating the contract.

Bartholomew's record while operating the C&TS is mixed. During his tenure some very innovative ideas were implemented. The operating season was extended. Dan Markoff brought his ex-Eureka & Palisades No. 4 "Eureka" to the railroad for a series of specials, as did the Dolores (CO) Lions Club with their ex-Rio Grande Southern "Galloping Goose" No. 5. Many efforts were made to promote the railroad, including huge expenditures on television advertising in the Denver, Albuquerque, and Phoenix markets. As a result ridership rose from 60,000 in 1996 to 70,000 in 1998 (approximate figures).

But employee turnover has been high. Many of the most experienced employees resigned; several cited Mr. Bartholomew as their main reason for departing. It appears Bartholomew has had difficulty attracting qualified replacements; an ad placed by the Corporation in the June 1999 "Trains Magazine" (p. 79, "Help Wanted") solicits employees with the provision that " . . . steam locomotive or railroad experience is desireable but not required." Morale among the remaining employees is reported to be very low. Finally, ridership this year was down almost 10,000 riders, wiping out the gains made in the past three years.

And the Commission alleges that the locomotives have not been maintained properly. This last claim is especially hard to refute; of the six operable locomotives that Bartholomew inherited from Kyle, No. 488 was withdrawn in October 1997, No. 484 was damaged in a derailment in April (26 April archive), No. 497 and No. 463 were removed from service during an FRA inspection of the railroad in August (11 August archive), and even Mr. Bartholomew and his lawyer admit that the locomotives "have been maintained so that they are safe, but at the present time they have low reliability." (See Mr. Bartholomew's press release here.)
   C&TS 2-8-2 484 being rerailed in May 1999. Photo by Roger Briggs.  Copyright 1999 by Roger Briggs, all rights reserved.  Used by permission.

Less than two years later, 484 was derailed during a railfan special in April 1999. It is shown here during rerailing in May; Bartholomew estimates the effort cost $115,000. 484 has not returned to service since the incident. (Photo by Roger Briggs. Copyright 1999 by Roger Briggs, all rights reserved. Used by permission.)   
Bartholomew is also the defendant in an ongoing suit filed by the state of Massachusetts for violating environmental laws while operating the Cape Cod Railroad, another state-owned railroad operation. (Mr. Bartholomew's contract to operate passenger services was revoked, but a corporation partially owned by him continues to operate freight service on the line.) Among other claims, the Cape Cod Times alleges that raw sewage and "grey water" was dumped along the right-of-way during the railroad's "Ecology Tours." Click here to read more about this suit.

Theresa Shaw, President of the Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec (the official support group for the C&TS), noted that "While the Friends' working relationship with the designated operator was cooperative and productive, we came to have a number of concerns for the condition of the locomotives and the track. The decision to terminate the existing operating lease having been made, the Friends will assist the Commission in this interim period in any way it can." The Friends have established a locomotive-repair fund in memory of Ralph Flowers, a former board member killed in September.

Shaw also reports the Commission will hire some of the railroad staff directly to prepare the locomotives for their annual FRA inspections.

The Commission will seek bids from qualified operators with a view toward having the railroad ready for operation in May 2000. Commission Executive Director Leo Schmitz said in September that the Commission will do what is necessary to ensure that the railroad continues to operate. As one of the main economic engines of the Chama - Antonito area, operation of the railroad provides a significant source of income for many residents.

Christmas trains scheduled for operation in Chama and Antonito will likely be cancelled due to these developments, and the snow-clearing operations announced by Steam & Safaris for mid-April (see 8 October news item below) will obviously be affected.

SteamCentral will continue to cover this story as a new operator takes over the operating contract and begins to improve the condition of the locomotives. (Thanks to Terri Shaw, Erik Ledbetter, Walter Rosenberger, John Pritchard, the Albuquerque Journal and the Denver Post.)  
15 October 1999

Tennessee Valley RR & Museum 
(ex-CofG 4-4-0 349) TVRM has announced plans to begin a long-term restoration of this very attractive Eight-Wheeler. 349 was built by Baldwin in 1891 as Savannah & Western 557; it moved to the CofG as No. 1587 in 1895. It ended its revenue service in the 1950s, leased to the Bowden Railroad, which connected to the CofG's Chattanooga - Fort Valley - Savannah main line near Bremen, GA.

In 1963 349 was purchased by William Fickling, and kept under cover at his farm south of Macon, GA, painted in Southern Railway passenger green. 349 was donated to TVRM in 1987, and returned to accurate Central of Georgia livery a night photo session held in conjunction with Norfolk Southern's "25th Anniversary" excursions in November 1991.

According to TVRM personnel, no. 349 will receive attention as time permits, and no date for the engine's completion has been set. When restoration is complete No. 349 will be used only occasionally - it will not be regular power for the museum's trains.

No. 349 would qualify as one of the oldest locomotives in service in the US - it's as old as Sierra 4-6-0 No. 3, and only engines like D&RG 2-8-0s 340, 41, and 346 and Dan Markoff's E&P No. 4 "Eureka" are older. 349 would also be a natural operating on the Chattooga & Chickamauga's ex-CofG trackage in northern Georgia. An "accomodation" with an RPO, baggage and coach would be just the ticket - photo special, anyone? (Thanks to Mark Ray, Steve Freer, and James Hefner.)   
Central of Georgia 4-4-0 349 at East Chattanooga, TN, November 1991.  Photo by John Craft.  Copyright 1999 John Craft, all rights reserved.

ex-Central of Georgia 4-4-0 349 at TVRM's East Chattanooga yard, 5 November 1991. Photo by John Craft. Copyright 1999 John Craft, all rights reserved.  
14 October 1999

Durango & Silverton NGRR

Great Smoky Mountains Railway

Durango Herald Article

American Heritage Railways, owner of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, is negotiating a purchase the Great Smoky Mountains Railway, which operates 2-8-0 No. 1702 on the former Southern Railway Murphy Branch in western North Carolina. Jeff Jackson, senior vice president and chief executive officer of the D&SNG, and Malcolm McNeill, chairman of the GSMR, confirmed the negotiations in an interview with Durango "Herald" writer Elizabeth Pierson.

American Heritage Railways also confirmed an interest in acquiring additional railroad properties. AHR is also rumored to be interested in bidding on the Cumbres & Toltec operating agreement should the C&TS Commission end its relationship with George Bartholomew, the current operator. (Jeff Jackson reportedly made a "detailed inspection" of the C&TS in late September.) (Thanks to Scott Bell.)  
8 October 1999

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RR 
(C&TS Rotary Operation) "Steam & Safaris," a British tour organizing company led by Derek Phillips, today began advertising a 10 April 2000 tour departure to the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RR to photograph snow-clearing operations with Rotary OY. Among the perks offered is the chance to ride the work train, and a visit to the D&S for winter operations. Details about the tour can be found on the Schedules page.

If this operation does take place as announced, this would place the estimated start of snow-clearing around 12-13 April, by far the earliest ever attempted in preservation. SteamCentral will keep an eye on this tour and post developments as they occur.  
5 October 1999

Cass Scenic Railroad

Thumbnail history of No. 11 
(Cass Scenic RR No. 11) Cass Scenic Railroad has completed the work required to return ex-Feather River Railroad 3-Truck Shay No. 3 to service. It will operate as Cass Scenic No. 11. Cass purchased the locomotive from the San Diego Railroad Museum in 1997, and moved it from California in October 1998/.

No. 11 made a shakedown run to Bald Knob on the 25th, helping Shay No. 2. After pitching in during the fall color tourist rush, No. 11 will return to the shop for conversion from oil to coal firing, and become a regular part of the Cass Scenic motive power pool.

Fall colors are coming up soon, there's a new steamer in town - what are you waiting for? Get out the map! (Thanks to Jim Wrinn.)  
1 October 1999

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RR

Albuquerque Journal Article 
(C&TS RR) The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad Commission met in closed-door session last night in Albuquerque, NM, to discuss "potential litigation regarding [the] lease agreement." (It is unclear if a suit is threatened by operator George Bartholomew, or whether the Commission is considering suing Bartholomew.)

Mr. Bartholomew was declared in breach of contract by the Commission at its 13 September meeting (15 September archive), and given 30 days to clear a number of maintenance items related to locomotives and track.

The next Commission meeting is scheduled for 15 October in Chama, NM, two days before the end of the C&TS' 1999 season. Commission Executive Director Leo Schmitz indicated a decision concerning the fate of Bartholomew's operating contract will be made at that time. (Thanks to Curt Bianchi.)  
1 October 1999

Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer

Grand Island Independent Editorial

White Pass & Yukon RR 
(ex-WP&Y 2-8-0 69) This locomotive, one of five White Pass & Yukon engines brought to the Lower 48 for tourist service (the other four are 2-8-2s 70, 71, and 192 at Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, TN; and 2-8-2 190 at the Tweetsie Railroad in Boone, NC), is the subject of more attention these days than she's received in years.

Long in service on the "Nebraska Midland Railroad," a four-mile loop of track on the grounds of the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer in Grand Island, NE, No. 69 has been out of commission since the mid '90s. And although the bulk of the Museum is " . . . the 40-acre Railroad Town, a re-created 1880's prairie town modeled after the communities that developed along the Union Pacific Railroad's rights-of-way . . ." the Executive Director of the Stuhr Museum Foundation apparently sees no need for an operating railroad. In fact, various reports over the years have mentioned No. 69 as being up for sale.

The Museum Board of Directors, local government officials and members of the community seem to have a different opinion: they see an operating railroad exhibit as essential if the Museum is to compete with other attractions in the area. This philosophical dispute over the need for an operating railroad came to a head last month when Grand Island City Council President Larry Seifert proposed to withhold the Museum's Hall County tax funding until the railroad exhibit is operational.

In an editorial about the dispute, the Grand Island "Independent" remarks that while withholding funds isn't the answer, " . . . attracting people to Railroad Town [is] more difficult when the place has only a static railcar display. It just hasn't been the same without the sound of the whistle and the sight of that enormous locomotive chugging down the track . . . The Stuhr Museum needs to be unique, and we believe Old 69 holds the key."

No. 69 is apparently in need of a complete running gear and boiler overhaul: $2.1 Million is the figure cited to return the entire railroad operation to service. One unconfirmed report claims that the Museum Board of Directors has contracted to have No. 69's boiler inspected over the objection of the Executive Director. (If a quick return to service is desired by the local community, perhaps the Stuhr Museum would consider leasing one of the locomotives from the Midwest Central at Mount Pleasant, IA, until No. 69 or its replacement is ready for service.)

Adding spice to the story are rumors that the White Pass & Yukon will be operating a second steam locomotive in time for its Centennial celebration on 29 July 2000. Trains Unlimited, Tours has issued their 2000 brochure which features a photo of Georgetown Loop, ex-FICA 2-8-0 40 in the White Pass ad. Of course the possibility that No. 69 might go home eventually is one to hope for as well. One White Pass official promises an announcement about the Centennial festivities soon.

So the Stuhr Museum may have an operating steam locomotive again - but what locomotive? No. 69 may run again - but will it be in wheat fields or on home rails? Stay tuned. (Thanks to Jim Wrinn and Greg Mathis.)