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Steam & Excursion > The Last Operation of The Famous LTR&TCo. Glenbrook!


Date: 11/26/12 04:27
The Last Operation of The Famous LTR&TCo. Glenbrook!
Author: LoggerHogger

One of the most famous locomotives ever to operate in the West last operated over 86 years ago! Fortunately for us, in less than 2 more years she may be running again.

I am referring to the famous Glenbrook locomotive of Lake Tahoe. This 3' gauge engine was built by Baldwin in 1875 for the Carson & Tahoe Lumber & Fluming Company based on the eastern shore of Lake Tahoe in the state of Nevada. This operation was founded by Duane Bliss, who had connections with the V&T. The engine was one of a pair of 2-6-0s built at the same time for the C&TF&LC to pull their trains of wood up from the mill located at Glenbrook Cove up to Spooner Summit where the wood was dropped into the flume that carried it the miles down to the lumber yard served by the Virginia & Truckee RR south of Carson City. The second 2-6-0 was "The Tahoe".

The Glenbrook served this line until 1899 when the lumber holdings for the C&TF&LC ran out and she was barged across the lake to Tahoe City where she went to work for the Lake Tahoe Railway & Transportation Co. that hauled passengers and freight between Tahoe City, CA and the connection with the Southern Pacific at Truckee, CA. The same Bliss family that had owned the C&TF&LCo also owned the LR&Taco. Even though the engine had been given the #1 years earlier to replace the original Star on her Spot Plate, she was still referred to by crews as "The Glenbrook". In the second photo we see the classic scene repeated daily at the pier at Tahoe City with the Glenbrook departing with her passengers who had just gotten off one of the Steamboats owned by the little railroad. Notice that she still has her Star in place on her spotplate in this photo.

So popular were the passenger trains of the LTR&TCo. the SP itself bought the line in 1926 from the Bliss family that owned it and converted the line to standard gauge. While SP bought all the rest of the LR&Taco. narrow gauge rolling stock, the Bliss family held back "The Glenbrook" from the sale. They left her for the next 11 years outside the former narrow gauge enginehouse at Tahoe City simply rusting away and occasionally used as a backdrop for visiting tourists in their snapshots.

The first photo is a very rare one. This was taken in 1926 by famed SP photographer David Joslyn. He had been sent to Truckee by the SP to record on film the transition of the LR&T to standard gauge. He caught this photo of The Glenbrook under steam for what may have been her last time for nearly 90 years! Her pilot had been removed to allow for the switching out of the last of the Narrow gauge equipment. The Glenbrook was used to load the 2 remaining narrow gauge steam locomotives (#3 and #5) on to flat cars for shipment to Sacramento where they would be scrapped. Notice that she is still a woodburner as she had come from Baldwin some 51 years earlier!

In 1937 the Nevada County Narrow Gauge RR of Colfax, CA was looking for a parts source for their 1875 built 2-6-0 #5 that was growing older by the day. Yes, the NCNG #5 was in deed "The Tahoe", the former twin locomotive to "The Glenbrook" on the C&TF&Taco. The Tahoe had been sold to the NCNG in 1899 the same year the Glenbrook went to the LR&Taco.

By 1942 the NCNG had pulled it's last train. Some of the narrow gauge equipment was sold to the U.S. Navy and went to Pearl Harbor. The rest was sold for scrap. Fortunately for all of us, Mrs Bliss still had a fond place in her heart for The Glenbrook and in 1943 she bought the little engine back from the scrapper. She promptly donated the engine to the State of Nevada where the engine had first worked. For years she was on display in Carson City next to the mint. In 1981 she was transferred to the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City.

The 3rd photo shows The Glenbrook in May 1937 at the enginhouse at Grass Valley, CA shortly after she had arrived on the NCNG. Notice the engine coupled behind her, yes, sure enough, that is The Tahoe, her sister engine from the C&TL&FCo. days!

In the 1980's their was an initial attempt to restore the Glenbrook to operation with the construction of a new boiler for her. Unfortunately, the new boiler proved to be too wide to fit in the frame of the engine and the restoration stopped in favor of restoring the V&T McKeen Motor Car #22. Now that the #22 restoration is completed the shop crews a the Nevada State RR Museum have returned to work on The Glenbrook.

Headed up by CMO Chris DeWitt, the museum is in the process of re-using the original firebox shell from The Glenbrook and they have built a new boiler themselves for the engine. The plan is to have the engine in service in 2014 for a large event to be held at the Museum in Carson City.

In case you were wondering, The Tahoe also survives to this day. When the NCNG shut down she was sold to a studio in Hollywood for use in Western pictures. In the 1980's she was returned to Nevada City where she has been cosmetically restored and is on display at the Nevada County Narrow Gauge RR Museum.

So, that wraps up ths story of the first 137 years of the famous Glenbrook. Hopefully in less than 2 years we all will be able to see this famous example of a Western Narrow Gauge engine once more in steam at the base of the Sierras in the shadow of Lake Tahoe where she became so famous.

Martin



Edited 10 time(s). Last edit at 11/26/12 05:36 by LoggerHogger.








Date: 11/26/12 04:37
Re: The Last Operation of The Famous LTR&TCo Glenbrook!
Author: fehorse1

Do you know who's restoring her, Martin?
Pete



Date: 11/26/12 06:03
Re: The Last Operation of The Famous LTR&TCo Glenbrook!
Author: LoggerHogger

Here is how the Glenbrook lokked at the start of her 40 years on display in Carson City. This is how I first came to know this beautiful engine.

In this view taken by Guy Dunscomb in June 1947, we see that the engine has been given back her bell, a set of reproduction builders plates and her crosshead pump injector just as she was first fitted with when she left Baldwin in 1875.

In 2014 this engine should be back in operation just a mile or two from this spot on the trackage of the Nevada State RR Museum.

Martin



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/26/12 07:30 by LoggerHogger.




Date: 11/26/12 06:03
Re: The Last Operation of The Famous LTR&TCo. Glenbrook
Author: YG

Great news that we could get this locomotive back in steam in a couple of years. I know you will keep us up to date on the progress.

Steve Mitchell
http://www.yardgoatimages.com



Date: 11/26/12 11:04
Re: The Last Operation of The Famous LTR&TCo. Glenbrook
Author: a737flyer

When these old steamers get back into operation, are they changed to oil burners, coal burners or do they remain wood burning? I'm sure wood would be easiest but also the most difficult to maintain and meet EPA requirements.



Date: 11/26/12 12:23
Re: The Last Operation of The Famous LTR&TCo. Glenbrook
Author: LarryDoyle

Does she still have a lap seam boiler?

-LD



Date: 11/26/12 12:31
Re: The Last Operation of The Famous LTR&TCo. Glenbrook
Author: LoggerHogger

She did still have a lap-seam boiler but no longer. The firebox shell is all that is to be used in the new construction. The barrel courses are made with modern techniques, not lap-seam.

Martin



Date: 11/27/12 19:13
Re: The Last Operation of The Famous LTR&TCo. Glenbrook
Author: mmisin2

The photo at the pier at Lake Tahoe is a classic. I've never seen a picture of a train at that location before. Thank you for sharing.



Date: 11/27/12 19:17
Re: The Last Operation of The Famous LTR&TCo. Glenbrook
Author: mmisin2

also meant to ask, are there any remains of the flume?



Date: 11/28/12 04:27
Re: The Last Operation of The Famous LTR&TCo. Glenbrook
Author: LoggerHogger

The Flume is pretty well gone after over 100 years. It was all made out of wood and was salvaged when it was abandoned.

Martin



Date: 11/08/13 07:20
Re: The Last Operation of The Famous LTR&TCo. Glenbrook
Author: RogersWorks4493

I have an old photo of my grandfather in the cab of the Glenbrook many years ago whilst she was on display in Carson City (unfortunately, he had no railroad background). It'll be great to have my photo taken with this locomotive when she returns to service next year!

- Mike N.



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