Home Open Account Help 190 users online

Steam & Excursion > Some Steam Locomotive Restorations Took Place In A Hurry!

Date: 08/11/19 05:24
Some Steam Locomotive Restorations Took Place In A Hurry!
Author: LoggerHogger

In this modern age, when a steam locomotive is lucky enough to be restored, the task of doing so often takes many years and is performed inside an enginehouse or other suitable facility to make the restoration more comfortable for the crew working on the engine.  Such was certainly not the case with the locomotive we see here.

When Baldwin first built this handsome narrow gauge 4-4-0 in 1876 for the North Pacific Coast Railroad in Northern California, they could never have predicted how long this locomotive would last.  Named "Sonoma" on the NPC, she would only last on that line for 4 short years before being sold to the Nevada-Central in 1880 as their "General j.h. Ledlie" and later as their #5.  She was still in service on that isolated narrow gauge line out of Battle mountain, Nevada until 1938 when that road closed down for good.

In 1938, Gil Kneiss of the R&LHS was able to lease #5 from Mr. J.M. Hiskey, the last general manager and owner of the N-C, for use at the Golden Gate Exposition.  Time was very tight to get #5 into shape for her to steam for the crowds at this huge event in San Francisco.  So short was the time available for Kneiss and his fellow volunteers, that they never unloaded 4-4-0 #5 from the flat car that she arrived on from Battle Mountain, and simple performed the restoration of her while she was perched on the flat car in Oakland, California we see here in December 1938, just a few month before the opening of the exposition.

The crews worked feverishly to restore #5 while on top of the flat car to replicate the "Jupiter" of the Central Pacific for the Golden Spike reenactment that was one of the highlights of the exposition.  Amazingly, they were able to pull off her restoration while she was still loaded on the standard gauge flat car just in time for the big event.

After her successful operation at the exposition was over, #5 went back into storage until the exposition's second season in 1940, when she was pulled back out (along with former N-C #6 that was restored as UP #119) and she reprised her role in the historic Golden Spike all over again.

Finally, when the last season of the exposition closed for good, #5 was stored along the docks in Oakland for several decades until finally, in 1969, the Hiskey family turned over ownership of #5 to the State Of California so #5 could be restored for display in the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento.  Today, #5 is lettered #12 and her original name "Sonoma" is back on her cab sides just as it was when she was first built by Baldwin.  The days of her "restoration atop a flatcar" are long behind her.


Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 08/11/19 05:47 by LoggerHogger.

Date: 08/11/19 06:57
Re: Some Steam Locomotive Restorations Took Place In A Hurry!
Author: elueck


That is a truly neat story!   Thanks for sharing that with us.


Date: 08/11/19 19:08
Re: Some Steam Locomotive Restorations Took Place In A Hurry!
Author: atsf121

Is that the engine on the bridge up on the second floor of the museum?

Great story, thanks for sharing.

Posted from iPhone

[ Share Thread on Facebook ] [ Search ] [ Start a New Thread ] [ Back to Thread List ] [ <Newer ] [ Older> ] 
Page created in 0.0405 seconds