Another 611 worth saving

Lehigh & New England ALCO S2 to return to Pennsylvania for restoration, operation
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Eric Powell
Lehigh & New England No. 611 as it sat in Emporia, Ind., awaiting loading onto a flatcar for transport east to Pennsylvania.
Ripping track
Lehigh & New England ALCO S2 No. 611 pauses while salvage crews rip up L&NE track in Pine Island, N.Y., in April 1962. The locomotive has lived a varied life ever since, serving in steel and grain mills and for a tourist railroad. It will soon return east for restoration.
D.P. Wallworth, Kalmbach Archives
EMPORIA, Ind. — No. 611 is on the road to restoration. 
No, the other 611: a former Lehigh & New England ALCO S2 that has faithfully served railroading since the mid-1940s.

Kermit Geary Jr., with the Lehigh New England Preservation Society tells Trains News Wire that the now-orange-painted locomotive will return east to Pennsylvania and the Allentown & Auburn Railroad, a shortline railroad based in Kutztown, Pa. Once there, the railroad will work with the preservation society and the Lehigh Valley Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society to restore the locomotive's mechanicals and to its original L&NE paint scheme.

Geary says No. 611 was among the first diesel locomotives for the L&NE, but is unsure of the build date. He is certain it is the last remaining example of that railroad's diesel power, anywhere, however. He says after the Lehigh & New England applied for abandonment in the 1960s, No. 611 went to Ford Motor Co.'s River Rouge steel mill complex in Michigan; then to the Toledo, Lake Erie & Western Railway and Museum before ending up at the former Emporia Grain mill in Emporia.

"They used it until about six years ago," Geary says of Emporia Grain. "The people who were there had an affinity for it. Every six months they started it up to turn it over."

High winds and storms in Indiana prevented crane operators from hoisting the locomotive onto a flat car until late Wednesday afternoon. Though the locomotive is tied down and appears ready to move, it has no set schedule to arrive in eastern Pennsylvania. Geary says the routing is likely via CSX Transportation via Anderson, Ind., and Cleveland where he expects it to interchange with Norfolk Southern and head east, likely through NS' Conway Yard near Pittsburgh.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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