Trains Top 10 stories for 2017: No. 6, C&O No. 1309

RELATED TOPICS: TOP TEN | HISTORICAL | EAST | STEAM/PRESERVATION
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An image of Chesapeake & Ohio No. 1309 2-6-6-2 as it appeared at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore, Md., in 2014.
Trains file photo
WAUKESHA, Wis. — One of the most anticipated steam locomotive restorations of the early 21st century that was supposed to be completed in 2017 is also turning out to be one of the most frustrating ones for its keepers, supporters, and fans. The restoration of Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309, the last steam locomotive Baldwin produced in 1949 for domestic service, has been on again and off again for most of 2017 as a series of events from funding and mechanical issues to personnel problems jostled the project.

A debut in July slipped to autumn. Contractors now say the engine is within 12 replacement staybolts of being ready for a hydrostatic test. Here’s a big engine that could be running regularly on a 17-mile mountain railroad in four to six months, but without the bucks, it will be cold in Cumberland, Md., this winter.

Is there anyone with $530,000 who can put this engine over the top? No kidding, once restored, this locomotive would be among the largest operating steam locomotives in the world making it a point of pride and a tourist attraction.

For steam operations delayed, chronic problems, and its high-profile presence in the public imagination, Trains editors name Chesapeake & Ohio No. 1309 as the No. 6 story for 2017.

Trains editors will present the Top Ten stories of the year in reverse order starting Dec. 21 and finishing on Dec. 30.

Read previous years' Top Ten stories online.
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