North Carolina museum acquires Alco switcher, RDC

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BONSAL, N.C. — April was a busy month for volunteers at the North Carolina Railroad Museum. Over a four-day period April 14-17, they delivered two new pieces of equipment to their New Hope Valley Railroad, an Alco switcher and a Budd RDC-9.

The RDC-9, similar to the RDC-1 but lacking engineer's controls, was built in December 1958 for the Boston & Maine Railroad as No. 6929, the last RDC-9 built. It later went to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. When retired by the MBTA, No. 6929 was acquired by an individual who later donated it to the museum.

In storage on the Red Springs & Northern Railroad at Parkton, N.C., for several years, the 85-foot long stainless steel car was lifted by cranes onto two highway bogies and trucked 70 miles to Bonsal. It will be used as a climate-controlled coach on the museum's demonstration railway.

The second item, a 660-hp Alco S1 switcher, was built in August, 1945, for the Point Comfort & Northern Railroad, an Alcoa plant railroad, in Lolita, Texas, as its No. 5. Some years later, the locomotive was moved to Alcoa, Tenn., where it served the Alcoa Terminal Railroad in a similar capacity. Still later, it went to the same company's plant in Portsmouth, Va. It was later sold to a private party, who stored it first at Giant Cement in Portsmouth and later at the Bay Coast Railroad yard in Little Creek, Va. At one point, the owner considered scrapping it, but instead was persuaded to donate it to the museum.

Moving the 99-ton locomotive by road from Little Creek, near Norfolk, Va., to the museum site required the use of cranes at both ends, as well as a great deal of attention to the details of permitting, routing, and clearance for the 200-mile move. The locomotive was shipped on a multi-axle trailer, while the trucks moved on a second rig.

More than a dozen museum volunteers were involved in organizing, coordinating and working to make the two moves a success. Almost as soon as the rigs were unloaded and the equipment was back on the rails, museum members began efforts to restore both to operating status.

According to Mike McLean, museum president, "The moves were completed with no injuries, incidents, or drama."

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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