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.

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