Friday, November 5, 2021

High hood Alco arrives in Snoqualmie

The locomotive as 770 
circa 1950.
Locomotive 125 arrived in Seattle in February, 1940 and entered service for the Northern Pacific Railway doing the same work the Museum's former NPR 924 steam locomotive performed years earlier.  At that time nearly every train in Washington was pulled by either a steam locomotive or an electric locomotive.  Diesel electrics were still an experiment, even though there was already compelling evidence that they burned less fuel and required far less maintenance.  They also pulled heavier loads at lower speed, such as switching the docks along the Seattle waterfront or building passenger trains at King Street Station.  Just nine years later, it was clear that diesel-electrics were quickly taking over from steam and the 125 was sent to NPR subsidiary Walla Walla Valley Railway to replace an electric locomotive.

Decades later, the Northwest Railway Museum had an opportunity to acquire the oldest surviving Northern Pacific Railway diesel-electric locomotive, and the only survivor from the Walla Walla Valley Railway.  Known by then as Port of Longview 770, this model HH-660 was purchased at auction.  Arrangements were made to store the locomotive at the Port of Longview inside a building in a secure area, out of mind and sight of would-be copper collectors.

201 arrived early morning. 
With arrangements for former Kennecott Copper locomotive 201 to depart for the Nevada Northern Railway, the Museum had room to accommodate the 770.  So early in the morning of 3 November 2021, a heavy haul truck from Ness Campbell arrived in Snoqualmie with the 770 safely rigged to its deck.

125 is carefully picked
from the trailer deck.
By mid afternoon, the truck was positioned adjacent to two cranes for the transfer back to live rail.  The lift took place without incident, first for the locomotive's trucks, then for the locomotive itself.  After reconnecting the brake, the locomotive was moved to the Museum's campus.

Thank you to the Nevada Northern Railway Foundation and their President Mark Bassett for working together with us to make this great locomotive swap possible!

Please enjoy our photo montage:

The map shows where the 770 will 
soon be able to run.

770 on its trailer is juxtaposed by the main track in
front of the Snoqualmie Depot early on 3 Nov 2021.

First, the locomotive trucks were set on the rails.

Next, the locomotive was rigged.

And the lift begins!

Two cranes make light work of the lift.

Back over the rails now.

The set must be precise for the truck and bolster to 
correctly mate.

Some minor adjustments were required to get the
parts to fit together again.

By late afternoon, the 770 was ready to roll again.

Locomotive 201 departs the Museum

201 on 3 Nov 2021.
Locomotive 201 is an American Locomotive Company ("Alco") model RSD4 diesel-electric locomotive constructed in 1951.  It served Kennecott Copper for more than 30 years and was subsequently donated to the Northwest Railway Museum in Snoqualmie, WA in 1985.  Although an outstanding example of a first generation road switcher, after the Museum updated its mission and scope of collection it was evident that the 201 no longer belonged in the collection because it was not connected with the history of the Pacific Northwest.  It was deaccessioned in 2004 and later a plan to return it to its original home was developed.

201 on 3 Nov 2021.
On Wednesday, November 3, 2021, the 201 rolled through Snoqualmie for the last time.  Early in the afternoon it was picked up by two huge cranes and set onto an unusually large truck for the journey to Ely, Nevada, and its new home at the Nevada Northern Railway where it originally operated for Kennecott.  The Nevada Northern Railway Foundation arranged to acquire the 201 in a transfer, but had the responsibility for transporting the 201 all the way to Ely.

201 suspended.
Steven Butler's Morton Locomotive had the contract to arrange the move.  IRH of Salt Lake City was selected to haul the 201, and Ness Campbell Crane was hired to pick it up.  The day proceeded smoothly with an almost flawless execution by the contractors, and a rain-free day as a bonus.

Congratulations to the Nevada Northern Railway Foundation and their President Mark Bassett on the most recent addition to their large object collection!

Please enjoy our photo montage:

Snoqualmie Mayor
Matt Larson brought
his grandson to say 
goodbye to the 201.
The Ness Campbell team rigs the 201.

Nevada Northern
Railway Foundation 
President Mark 
Bassett poses with
locomotive 201.

Rigged and ready to lift!

Up she goes!

You'd think it was a 737, and just as heavy, too!

Swinging over the truck.

Nestling down between the girders.

The 201 will be riding on blocks of wood!

The truck, all 250 feet.

Each of 201's trucks rode on a separate semi trailer,
which are really heavy because they include three
500 hp electric traction motors.