'Leviathan' has found a home at a Pennsylvania wedding venue

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Leviathan debuted at Trainfestival 2009 in Owosso, Mich., and soon began traveling the east and midwest to tourist railroads, museums, and other special events.
Trains: Jim Wrinn
ELIZABETHTOWN, Pa. — Leviathan No. 63, Dave Kloke’s sparkling standard gauge replica of an 1868 Central Pacific 4-4-0 American-type steam locomotive, has landed in a most unlikely home: A wedding and special events venue in Lancaster County, Pa.

A ticketed grand opening event for Star Barn Village July 3 and 4 includes a display of the locomotive under steam at the Stone Gables Estate, a 275 acre farm that includes a working horse ranch. The parent company is a well-funded non-profit whose stated purpose is supporting abandoned children worldwide.

The centerpiece is an 1872 Gothic Revival-style star barn that has been disassembled and relocated to the site. A map of the venue shows Leviathan as part of the ensemble of venues. The engine is on 120-feet of panel track.

While an unusual location, the setting may turn out to be a big opportunity for the locomotive.

Project Coordinator Steve Torrico tells Trains Newswire that the venue also purchased Kloke’s replica of the Lincoln Funeral Car, and that Kloke also will build a combine and two coaches to go on a new three-mile railroad that will be laid partially on a half a mile of right of way that belonged to the now abandoned Harrisburg, Portsmouth, Mountjoy & Lancaster Railroad, which hosted the Lincoln funeral train in 1865. “We will be laying track back down on this right of way and building 2.5 miles of new track through the property,” Torrico says. “We plan to build a copy of the turntable at the Nevada State Railroad Museum, a wooden water tank, and we will have a wooden, covered railroad bridge, harp switch stands” and more.

The operation called the Harrisburg, Lincoln & Lancaster Railroad, will not be open as a tourist railroad but will operate for special events, weddings, and corporate events.

Kloke built the locomotive over a 10-year period in his construction company shop in the suburban Chicago city of Elgin. He debuted it in 2009 and added the Lincoln Funeral Car replica in 2015 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. The steam locomotive traveled to tourist railroads, museums, and festivals for years and was stored at Ohio's Age of Steam Roundhouse in recent years while the funeral car replica went elsewhere for display.

Kloke got the idea for building the 35-ton replica while watching a Lincoln documentary. “I am into history, and you cannot help but be awed by these wonderful locomotives,” he told Trains in 2009.

Leviathan was a sister engine to Jupiter, the Central Pacific 4-4-0 that was nose-to-nose with Union Pacific’s No. 119 at Promontory Summit, Utah, on May 10, 1869, to mark the completion of the first transcontinental railroad. Schenectady Locomotive Works built the original Leviathan in August 1868 as part of an order for three other 4-4-0s: Jupiter, No. 60; Storm, No. 61; and Whirlwind, No. 62.

The 4-4-0 was the standard locomotive of its day and thousands of them were built to every gauge for use across the nation.

Kloke built the operating replica using plans from the replica Jupiter, now displayed at the Golden Spike National Historic Site at Promontory Summit. The Leviathan was the first standard gauge replica built in the U.S. in 30 years — since O’Connor Engineering in California constructed the two Promontory replica engines in 1979.

Leviathan is set up to burn oil and features air brakes, an appliance the original did not have. The backhead is equipped with two water glasses to conform to modern safety standards. Injectors ensure a safe water supply, but replica water pumps adorn the locomotive’s crossheads. The locomotive features a Russian blue boiler jacket, brass bands, ornate oil cups, and a host of other decorative items from the 19th century. In short, it is a real jewel.

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