Arizona steam locomotive to get cosmetic restoration

RELATED TOPICS: SOUTHWEST | STEAM/PRESERVATION | PEOPLE
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MESA, Ariz. — Southern Pacific 4-6-0 No. 2355, which has been displayed in a Mesa park since 1958, will undergo a year-long cosmetic restoration beginning this month. Owned by the City of Mesa, the locomotive had deteriorated to the point the city considered disposing of it in 2008. That resulted in a community outcry and the formation of the Save Our Train Committee to keep the engine at the park and restore it.

As part of the city’s renovation of Pioneer Park, this week abatement will begin on asbestos and lead contaminants on the engine. The project is expected to last about three weeks, and then restoration work will begin. The final product will include an elevated walkway that allows park-goers to access 2355’s cab, which will include interactive buttons and other features, Save Our Train Committee Chairman Jim Ruiz told azcentral.com. That will replace and large wrought iron fence installed in 1993 to close off the engine from the public.

Ruiz’ group convinced the city to keep the locomotive at Pioneer Park, but they were unsuccessful in their mission to relocate it to the Main Street entrance of the park. Ruiz said the move would have given the engine added visibility.

“We’re happy with all of that (renovation) but it was somewhat of a trade off,” Ruiz said.

Save Our Train has raised $45,000 over the past nine years, Ruiz said.

It already spent $11,000 restoring the bell, whistle and front and rear headlights. The remaining funds, and other in-kind donations by local businesses, should cover the remaining restoration, he said.

Baldwin Locomotive Works built No. 2355 for SP in October 1912 as a dual-service locomotive for passenger and freight trains. It was the third locomotive in a series of ten identical 4-6-0 locomotives built for Southern Pacific with the Class T-31 designation. There is one other example of the T-31 class that survived, No. 2353, on exhibit in Campo, Calif. Southern Pacific retired 2355 in late 1957 and gave it to the City of Mesa for exhibit.

More information is available online.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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