SKOOKUM, a 2-4-4-2 Mallet loco built in 1909, is almost ready to return to steam after an absence of nearly 65 years.
The loco was originally built by Baldwin as a coal burner for Little River Railroad in Tennessee, but was not accepted as the loco was too large for the lightly built line.
It was rebuilt by Baldwin in 1910 as an oil burner and sold to the Columbia River Belt Line logging railroad in Oregon.
Over the next 45 years the loco – known as Skookum, which in the local Chinook language (used before European settlement of the area) means strong, brave, or impressive – operated on several logging networks in the Pacific North West before ending up with the Deep River Logging Company as its No. 7, working from Deep River, Washington State.
In February 1955 the loco derailed on a trestle bridge in the forest and was left where it fell for five years until an enthusiast bought the remains.
The loco has changed owners since then, and has been under restoration at several locations for more than 15 years.
Final restoration, including obtaining boiler test approvals, have been carried out at the Oregon Scenic Railroad’s Garibaldi workshops.
The loco is due to return to service in early 2019, initially at the Oregon Scenic Railroad, but later in the year will move to California, where its current owner is based.
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