SP narrow gauge steamer to travel this summer

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INDEPENDENCE, Calif. — Recently restored Southern Pacific No. 18, a narrow gauge 4-6-0 that was one of three engines used on a 71-mile remnant of the legendary Carson & Colorado in the remote Owens Valley of eastern California until 1959 will take part in two special events in the coming months.

The Silver Spike Ceremony will take place at the Eastern California Museum in Independence on July 3, dedicating a two-track enginehouse now under construction. It will house the locomotive, restored to operation by volunteers. No. 18 will be under steam and will operate on "whatever amount of track we can build by then," according to the Carson & Colorado Railway website.

In September, No. 18 will travel 45 miles north by road to Laws, where it will participate in the Slim Princess Reunion Sept. 22-24 at the Laws Railroad Museum. There, it will operate on the only remaining portion of the Southern Pacific narrow gauge. It will be its first time in Laws in 63 years.

Visitors will have a chance to ride behind No. 18 in a wooden combine built in 1881 and used for years as a caboose on the line, as well as the Death Valley Railroad Brill railcar restored and owned by the Laws museum. A night photo event will be featured, with multiple set-ups, including No. 18 posing alongside the Laws Museum's sister engine No. 9, which made the final steam run on the line in 1959.

No. 18 was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1911 for the Nevada-California-Oregon Railroad, where it worked until 1926. It and two other identical engines were then moved to the Owens Valley to operate over the remaining section of the Carson & Colorado. It was retired in 1954 and eventually placed on display in Independence. Volunteers restored it over the past several years. It was first steamed on Aug. 28, 2015 and moved under its own power on Oct. 15, 2016.

More information is available online.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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