Thursday, April 24, 2014

Steam Engine 557

Steam locomotive 557 is being restored to operating condition over the next several years and will be running on Alaska rails again soon. Please support our efforts in bringing history to life.  Click on the link at the bottom of this post for additional information and ways to contribute.

The Alaska Railroad's last operating steam engine was Locomotive Number 557. The S-160 class Consolidation 2-8-0 locomotives built for the United States Army Transportation Corp. between 1942 and 1945, became the largest single class of locomotives ever built in America. Of the 2,120 units built, twelve found their way to Alaska.  Known as GI Consolidations, or "Gypsy Rose Lee" locomotives (they were striped down for action) S-160's eventually found their way to every continent, but for Australia and Antarctica. There are only five examples left in North America and none are currently operational.

557 back in Alaska.

Heading to the shop for rebuilding.

Thanks to Alaska West Express Transport.

Backing her into the shop.

Let's get to work!

I spent hours grinding these wheel spokes.

The tender, for water and fuel oil (heat and steam).

The firebox. The cab would be on the right side in this photo, 
but its been removed for rebuilding.

Wheels are secured for shipment.



Headlight (from the side).

This print is for sale.  The title, “Extra 557 Returning”  has a double meaning.  In the pictured scene the locomotive and train are returning to Anchorage from a special (Extra) run to Seward.  The title also anticipates the actual return of the 557 to these rails.

J Craig Thorpe, the artist who created this amazing image.

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