Southern Pacific narrow gauge steams again

FULLY restored ‘Slim Princess’ 4-6-0 No. 18 (Baldwin 37395 /1911) worked its first passenger train in 63 years at the Laws Railway Museum in Bishop, California, over the weekend of September 22-24.

SP 4-6-0 No. 18 working on the short demonstration track at the Laws Railway Museum on September 24, where on both the Saturday and Sunday the loco operated about a dozen trips. Lack of passenger coaches meant the first passenger train in 63 years operated by No. 18 was former SP caboose 401. COLIN J MARSDEN

SP No. 18 was built for the Nevada California Oregon Railroad (NCO – Reno, Nevada to Lakeview Oregon) as No. 12 and worked on the NCO until 1926 when, along with engines Nos. 8 and 9, it was transferred to the Southern Pacific ’Mina Branch’, the southern half of the Keeler, Califiornia to Mound House, Nevada line.

It was renumbered as 18 and worked from Mina, Nevada to Keeler until February 16, 1938 when it worked the last narrow gauge train south from Mina. From that point until retirement, in October 1954, No. 18 worked the remaining section of line from Laws to Keeler.

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In recent years loco 18 has been the subject of major restoration to return it to steam, and in June 2017 was moved to a new undercover two-road shed building in Independence, California, where restoration progressed.

Read more in the November issue of The RM – on sale now!

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