Steam locomotive Skookum is heading south today

RELATED TOPICS: STEAM PRESERVATION
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SkookumLoading45
The unique steam locomotive Skookum is bedded down on a truck Sunday at Tillamook, Ore., for its trip to California.
Martin E. Hansen
TILLAMOOK, Ore. — The long and successful restoration of Baldwin’s first logging Mallet known as Skookum reached a milestone this morning when a pair of heavy-haul semi-trucks departed the blimp hanger in Tillamook, Ore., loaded with the 2-4-4-2 and her tender, bound for her summer of running on the Niles Canyon Railway in California.

On Friday, Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad CMO Scott Wickert and this writer ran Skookum for the last time in Oregon from the OCSR shops in Garibaldi, Oregon, to Tillamook to prepare her for loading for the 3-day move to her next venue in California. Saturday was spent separating her tender and removing her stack to gain additional clearance for height requirements on the highway. When trucks arrived on Saturday afternoon the first of two ramps were built to load Skookum on Sunday morning.

During on-and-off rain showers on Sunday, OCSR crews worked to complete the loading ramp so that McCloud Railway 2-6-2 No. 25 could gently push Skookum and later her tender up onto trailer. After that process was completed, each load was tied down and the stack strapped in place for the move.

Today, Skookum and her tender departed Tillamook at 7 a.m. sharp, on her 3-day trip down the Oregon Coast and then inland to Salem where she will travel down I-5 on her way to Sunol, Calif., where the unloading process will begin.

Skookum will be at Niles Canyon for the summer. After that, it will be up to her owner, Chris Baldo, where she travels next to continue the next chapter in this unique locomotive’s history.

The 1909 steam locomotive is of a rare wheel arrangement of which only six were made. Rejected by its original Tennessee purchaser, Skookum was sold to a Pacific Northwest logger, where the engine made its career. After derailing in 1955, Skookum was left for dead in the forest, but fans had other plans, and carried the engine away in pieces. The engine returned to steam in 2018 and was the subject of two two-day photo charters in March by Trains magazine, which will cover the runs in its June issue. A DVD of the history, restoration, and March 2019 operations is being prepared now for June release. Ordering info is here: https://kalmbachhobbystore.com/product/dvd/15356

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