Santa Fe 2926 fire up delayed after pit incident

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ALBUQERQUE, N.M. — Santa Fe 4-8-4 No. 2926, on the eve of its first fire up after an extensive 18-year, $2.5 million restoration, derailed its rear trailing truck axle as it was being put away after a work session Saturday.

A structural failure at one end of the pit at the restoration site resulted in a twisted I-beam, damaged rail, and the rear axle on the trailing truck on the ground in the narrow confines of the enginehouse, Dr. Mike Mike Hartshorne, president of the New Mexico Steam Locomotive & Railroad Historical Society, tells Trains Newswire. The derailment took place at the end of Saturday’s work session.

Last week, the tender had been loaded with fuel and the boiler filled with water for a test fire that had been set for Monday and Tuesday.

After the incident, the group separated the engine and tender and returned the tender to the engine house. On Monday, the group will remove obstructions and fill in
the pit to support sideboom vehicles that can lift the cab end. Once the spread rail is regauged, the sidebooms can walk No. 2926 west to good track.

The group will have to repair the track, and then dig the pit out again. It’s estimated the test fire, long anticipated this spring, will be delayed by months.

The 1944 Baldwin product is the heaviest 4-8-4 ever built at 974,850 pounds.

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