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Locomotives on track for rescue from scrap yard

Locomotives On Track For Rescue From Scrap Yard - 17/07/2009

ROANOKE — Three historic steam locomotives have been saved from the blowtorch in a deal that sends one of them to the Virginia Museum of Transportation.
In a complex arrangement involving the transportation museum, the Railroad Museum of Virginia in Portsmouth and Goshen businessman William Harris, the locomotives will be removed from the former Virginia Scrap Iron & Metal Co. in the coming weeks. The VMT will receive the M2c No. 1151 — a smallish, steam-powered workhorse that was made in Roanoke in 1911.

The old locomotives are referred to by some rail buffs as "The Lost Engines of Roanoke." In fact, they have been visible along the railroad tracks behind the scrap yard for decades, and many people have worked to save them. Until recently, however, the cost of moving the badly deteriorated engines from their overgrown siding had been a major stumbling block.

Most of the locomotives were given to the transportation museum by the scrap yard in 2008, with the provision that the museum arrange for moving them, said Bev Fitzpatrick, the transportation museum's executive director. The Roanoke Redevelopment and Housing Authority, which acquired the scrap yard last year, has worked with the museum as well, twice extending the deadline to move the engines, Fitzpatrick said.

A fourth steam locomotive in the scrap yard — a Norfolk and Western switch engine — was acquired by the builder of an Ohio restaurant attraction and moved there last July.

Only the 1151 was actually made in Roanoke, however. The transportation museum parlayed its ownership of the other remaining locomotives into a deal that will move the 1151 to the museum without costing it anything. The museum also will get a Baldwin diesel locomotive out of the scrap yard on Jefferson Street and will retain ownership of a second Baldwin diesel, which could be sold for scrap.

The two other steam locomotives, which are similar to the 1151 but were not made in Roanoke, will go to Harris in Goshen and to the Railroad Museum of Virginia. The railroad museum is a 10-year-old museum that badly wants a steam locomotive. Harris is a lumberyard owner who said he has had "a passion for trains my whole life."

Under terms of the deal, the Portsmouth museum will pay to move all three engines in return for title to one of them. Harris will do the moving and will receive the third steam locomotive.

"We're putting up all the money to make all the moves," confirmed Joe Donnelly, a railroad museum board member. "In return, we get a locomotive and tender."

Donnelly said the total cost will be "less than a quarter of a million."

"It's a little complicated. But everybody's getting something," Harris said of the arrangement. "It's a win-win for everybody."


Source: newsleader.com

Location: Rail jobs in USA Date: 17/07/2009

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