Active restorations–steam locomotives

By Aaron Isaacs, HRA editor

This is the first of several posts that will take a closer look at active restoration projects, starting with the big favorite, steam locomotives. We’ll follow with posts on diesels, passengers cars, electric cars, passenger cars, freight cars, non-revenue cars and infrastructure projects. You can find all 400+ of these in our Progress Reports section, which sorts the projects by state. That can be a bit overwhelming, so in these posts they’re sorted by vehicle type.

There are somewhere around 200 operating steam locomotives in North America. That number has been gradually rising, because more museums and other actors are taking on restorations. The table below lists 79 that are in process. I think this is all of them, but there may be others I haven’t found. It’s surprising how some restorations evade detection. Not included are locomotives that were already restored and are down for their 1472-day FRA-mandated inspections, even though they can be prolonged and expensive.

I’ve made comments where I know something about the projects. Often that’s based on whether a volunteer-based museum seems to be having an energy spurt. There are several places that employ paid shop staffs that may shorten the restoration process.

State Province Museum/Railroad Locomotive
AB Alberta Railway Museum Northern Alberta 2-8-0 73
AB Aspen Crossing Railway Canadian National 4-6-2 5080
Recently purchased from Northern Alberta Railway Museum. Aspen Crossing is a recently established tourist railroad that also has a garden center, event venue and two restaurants. There seems to be some energy here.
AB Rocky Mountain Rail Society Canadian National 4-8-2 6060
AK Engine 557 Restoration Company Alaska 2-8-0 557
Progress is well documented in posts on
AK White Pass & Yukon White Pass & Yukon 2-8-0 69
AL Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum Georgia Marble 0-4-0T 3
AR Fort Smith Trolley Museum Frisco 2-8-2 4003
Cosmetic only
CA California Trolley & Railroad Corporation Southern Pacific 4-6-2 2479
CA California Trolley & Railroad Corporation Southern Pacific 0-6-0 1215
Cosmetic only
CA Nevada County Narrow Gauge Nevada County Narrow Gauge  2-6-0 5
CA Roots of Motive Power Eureka Lumber Climax 4
CA Niles Canyon Railroad Sierra 2-6-2 30
CA Niles Canyon Railroad Southern Pacific 2-6-0 1744
Currently in pieces, this engine ran for awhile on San Luis & Rio Grande. Niles Canyon has 4 operating locomotives and a good track record for restorations.
CA RWH Foundation Narrow gauge 50-ton Climax
CA Timber Heritage Association Pacific Lumber 2-8-2T 37
The work is being done at Strasburg Rail Road. It’s been on-again, off-again, depending on money. Currently it has resumed.
CA Travel Town Southern Pacific 0-4-0T 219
CA Pacific Southwest Railway Museum Coos Bay Lumber 2-8-2T 11
CA Western Pacific Railroad Museum Western Pacific 0-6-0 165
Steady progress.
CO Sammy King Coronet Phosphate 0-4-0T 6
CO Stockton Locomotive Works White Pass & Yukon 2-8-0 61
When not working on equipment for the Cumbres & Toltec, this is Stathi Pappas’ personal locomotive restoration.
CO Pueblo Railroad Museum Santa Fe 4-8-4 2912
CO Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec Rio Grande 2-8-2 483
Cosmetic only
CO, NM Cumbres & Toltec Rio Grande 2-8-2 487
CT Danbury Railroad Museum Boston & Maine 2-6-0 1455
FL Florida Railroad Museum Cummer & Sons Cypress 2-6-2 104
GA Southeastern Railway Museum Atlanta & West Point 4-6-2 290
IL Illinois Railway Museum Texas & New Orleans 2-10-2 975
Cosmetic only
IL Illinois Railway Museum Union Pacific 2-8-0 428
Now that Shay #7 is running, this is the Steam Shop’s primary project.
KY Kentucky Steam Heritage Center Chesapeake & Ohio 2-8-4 2716
This new group is highly motivated, has a shop facility and seems to be successful with fund raising.
KY Kentucky Railway Museum Louisville & Nashville 4-6-2 152
This is an attempt to revive an engine that was restored, but has been inactive for many years.
MD Western Maryland Scenic Railroad Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 1309
High profile project nearing completion.
ME Wiscasset Waterville & Farmington Railway Museum 0-4-4T 10
This plantation engine is not original to Maine. It’s currently getting a new boiler.
ME Wiscasset Waterville & Farmington Railway Museum Replica 2-4-4T
This will be a replica of WW&F #7. Never underestimate this museum, which has assembled a lot of manpower and has a long list of recent accomplishments.
ME Maine Narrow Gauge Museum Monson 0-4-4T 4
MI Quincy Mine Hoist Association Quincy & Torch Lake 2-8-0 6
Likely cosmetic only.
MI Steam Railroading Institute Chicago & North Western 4-6-0 175
The folks who brought you Pere Marquette 2-8-4 1225
MT Fort Missoula Western Lumber Willamette Shay 7
MT Libby Heritage Museum J. Neils Lumber Shay 4
NC New Hope Valley Railroad 0-4-0T 17
NJ Whippany Railroad Museum Virginia Blue Ridge 0-6-0 4039
Revival of an engine that ran years ago.
NJ SMS Virginia Blue Ridge 9
SMS is a private company clearly run by railfans and known for its stable of Baldwin diesels. A good bet for a rapid restoration.
NM New Mexico Steam Locomotive & Railroad Historical Society Santa Fe 4-8-4 2926
Should be close to completion.
NV Nevada State Railroad Museum Virginia & Truckee 2-6-0 Lyon replica
They’re taking over what was a one-man scratch building project in Iowa. Given their professional crew, look for something in the not too distant future.
NV Nevada Northern Nevada Northern 2-8-0 81
It’s the third Nevada Northern engine and it hasn’t run in 60 years. Hydro is done and it looks like completion will be soon.
NY Railroad Museum of Long Island Defiance Coal 0-4-0T 1
NY Railroad Museum of Long Island Long Island 4-6-0 39
The museum has been trying to restore this engine for decades. Now they’ve made a deal to move it to Strasburg for restoration, but need to raise $900,000 first. Once restored it will run at Strasburg under lease.
NY Oyster Bay Railroad Museum Long Island 4-6-0 35
OH Age of Steam Roundhouse McCloud River 2-8-2 19
Blessed with a full-time employees, a new shop building and good funding, this should be one of the first completed.
OH Age of Steam Roundhouse Bessemer & Lake Erie 2-10-2 643
Recently acquired. Big restoration job.
OH American Steam Railroad Reading 4-8-4 2100
ON Sarnia Historical Society Canadian National 4-8-2 6069
Cosmetic only
OR Oregon Coast Historical Railway Coos Bay Lumber 2-8-2 104
OR Oregon Coast Scenic Pickering Lumber Heisler 1
OR Oregon Coast Scenic Ranier 2-8-2 90
OR Oregon Rail Heritage Center Oregon Railroad & Navigation 4-6-2 197
OR Astoria Railroad Preservation Association Santa Maria Valley 2-8-2 21
PA East Broad Top East Broad Top 2-8-2 14
EBT 14 and 16 are on a fast track to return to service.
PA East Broad Top East Broad Top 2-8-2 16
PA Everett Railroad Huntington & Broad Top Mountain 2-8-0 38
PA Lake Shore Railway Association Nickel Plate 0-6-0 384
PA Steamtown Boston & Maine 4-6-2 3713
PA Allentown & Auburn Sturm & Dillard 0-6-0T 106
PA Middletown & Hummelstown Canadian National 2-6-0 91
PA Reading & Northern Reading 4-8-4 2102
Paid employees and a management dedicated to getting the job done.
PA Wanamaker Kempton & Southern 0-6-0T 65
TN Nashville Steam Preservation Society Nashville Chattanooga & St. Louis 4-8-4 576
TN Gulf & Ohio San Antonio & Aransas Pass 4-4-0 60
Gulf & Ohio has paid employees, a commercial shop and has completed two other engines.
TX San Antonio Railroad Heritage Center Texas & New Orleans 2-8-2 794
TX Austin Steam Train Association Southern Pacific 2-8-2 786
UT Golden Spike Chapter, R&LHS Rio Grande 2-8-0 223
UT Heber Valley Railroad Great Western 2-8-0 75
UT Heber Valley Railroad Union Pacific 2-8-0 618
WA Northern Pacific Railway Museum Northern Pacific 4-6-0 1364
WA Northwest Railway Museum Northern Pacific 0-6-0 924
Recently steamed. Close to completion.
WI Mid-Continent Railway Museum Chicago & North Western 4-6-0 1385
WI BMG Railroad Contractors Us Army/Navy 0-6-0T 5002
WV Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Buffalo Creek & Gauley 2-8-0 4