The Northwest Railway Museum steam program officially launched today with the movement of former Northern Pacific Railway steam locomotive 924 to the Conservation and Restoration Center. The 1899-built Rogers six-coupled locomotive was carefully pulled from the static exhibit track in Snoqualmie by Baldwin Lima Hamilton-built diesel-electric locomotive 4024, an RS4-TC that powers regular trains at the Museum. Work to collect data that will eventually allow the boiler to be certified is expected to begin shortly.
The curatorial steam team headed by Stathi Pappas made quick work of the assignment, which also relocated Baldwin-built steam locomotive 14 to an accessible storage track. Canadian Collieries 14 is a 1898-built ten wheeler that will be the second locomotive to operate in the Museum's steam program. Its pre WW II wood-framed tender presented several challenges to the team, but in the end was moved without sustaining any damage. 14 is in most respects similar to 924 so many techniques developed for the 924 will be transferable. It is not expected in the Conservation and Restoration Center until locomotive 924 is substantially complete, possibly in 2016.
Locomotive 924 had a few issues to overcome too. A door on the ash pan (924 was coal-fired until the very end) fell open and was discovered dragging along the ballast shortly after the locomotive began to move. It was spotted and quickly wired up without incident, and the movement continued.