Reassembled 2-4-4-2 ‘Skookum’ again upright after nearly 60 years

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The reassembled 'Skookum' rests at the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad shops near Tillamook on Tuesday morning.
Martin E. Hansen
TILLAMOOK, Ore. – A unique logging locomotive is again whole – and upright – after a highway trip the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad shops in coastal Tillamook this week. Decades after it rolled over in the woods near Grays Harbor, Wash., bringing its operating career to an unceremonious end, the famous Skookum has completed a major step that will soon see it back in steam.

Monday, the Oregon Coast Scenic crew loaded the locomotive’s boiler on a trailer in Chehalis, Wash., for the trip to its shops in Garibaldi, near Tillamook. There, the rebuilt boiler was placed back on its rebuilt running gear Tuesday morning for the first time in more than 54 years.

Chris Baldo is the third owner of Skookum since its last derailment in 1955. He has dedicated his time and resources to preserving this piece of Northwest logging railroad history.

The first owner was Charlie Morrow, a Seattle railfan who bought the locomotive from the insurance company that insured Deep River Logging, its last operator. Morrow dismantled it in 1960 and shipped the locomotive to the Northwest Railroad Museum at Snoqualmie Falls, Wash., where it was stored for many decades.
Owner Chris Baldo poses with the locomotive's boiler on a truck Monday.
Martin E. Hansen
After Morrow passed away, Rogan Combs purchased the locomotive from the estate and shipped it up to the Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad at Mineral, Wash., for storage. After Rogan passed away, Baldo bought the locomotive and hired the crew at the Oregon Coast Scenic to restore it to operation.

Oregon Coast Scenic rebuilt the tender and boiler at its shops in Chehalis, Wash., several years ago. Throughout the past two years attention has been to the rebuilding of the Skookum's running gear at the shops in Garibaldi. While this was going on, Baldo had a new wooden cab fabricated for the locomotive using the same materials and patterns originally used by Baldwin.

The locomotive was built as a coal-burner in 1909 for the Little River Railroad as its No. 126. It was the first of only three 2-4-4-2s built. The locomotive also worked for the Columbia River Belt, Whitney & Co., Larkin & Green Logging, Carlisle Lumber Co., and Deep River Logging Co. It was at Deep River Logging on the afternoon of Feb. 23, 1955, that the Skookum derailed on a short trestle and rolled over on its side, ending its logging career.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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