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Many of the mainline steam engines that were popular in excursion service in the last 20 years have dropped out of sight. Where are they now? Where is  Ross Rowland and his steamers? It seems that the 765, 1225, and UP engines are all that are running these days.

Last edited by Bobby Ogage
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short version....engines are operating.  Mainline is a bit of a problem between PTC and not being able to use Amtrak's liability umbrella for insurance.  Just have to find a friendly railroad (Iowa Interstate is running their QJ 2-10-2 in August/September).

quick list....

C&O 614....Basically stored 1985-96.  Operated 3 years and a total of about 20 trips between Hoboken, NJ and Port Jervis NY 1996-98.  Ran out market.  Hasn't operated since.  Doesn't have anywhere to run, so it sits until a situation presents itself to justify rebuilding it.  Display C&O Heritage Center Clifton Forge, VA.

N&W 611....figure you're up to date on this one.  Restored 2015.  Operated NS 2015-17.  Victim of current Amtrak policy, so shuffling basically between NC Transportation Museum and Strasburg Railroad, which seem to be the only places that work for it to run.  Very limited options of where you can take an engine like that.  Too big for most tourist railroads.

Reading 2102...last operated October 1991.  Nearing end of rebuild at Reading & Northern in Pennsylvania.  Steam program restarted with 4-6-2 425 in 2007, so it should get a decent amount of use.

Southern 4501....restored to operation 2014.  Operated one season of mainline trips on Norfolk Southern in 2015.  In operation Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum Chattanooga, TN.  Bridge problem is affecting offline trips to Summerville, GA, so future is a bit cloudy.

Frisco 1522....last operated 2002.  Group disbanded.  On display St. Louis, MO.

Milwaukee 261...operated rather frequently on BNSF through 2016/17.   Operates out of Milwaukee area, usually on Twin Cities & Western.  Mainline ops affected by Amtrak policy.

Southern Pacific 4449....operated occasional trips on BNSF through 2017.  Victim of current Amtrak policy.  Based out of Portland, OR.

SP&S 700.....same situation as 4449.

Santa Fe 3751....victim of Amtrak policy.  Just finishing rebuild, so good to go for 15 years if they can find a place to run.



I think that about covers it, unless you have a specific loco that I didn't address.  Several more engines being rebuilt, so maybe they can find places to run.

Kevin

Last edited by kgdjpubs

And to clarify for 4449 and SP&S 700 - they both dont need Amtrak coverage so long as they stay on city own tracks for special runs like the Holiday Express. Also Milwaukee 261 has an excursion scheduled for this year as well. And the  1225 group is still working on several upgrades / repairs according to their facebook page.

Last edited by hullmat991
@Bobby Ogage posted:

Thanks Kevin and all for the info. What is happening with 1309, LIRR 35 & 39, 1361?

So 1309 is being restored by the WMSR in Cumberland, MD / Ridgeley, WV and will likely see excursion service on that line between Cumberland and Frostburg.  However, that's not really a "mainline" anymore in the same sense as the others, since WMSR is a tourist railroad only,

There was announcement not too long ago about PRR 1361.  They are bringing in some more knowledgeable folks from the sounds of it, and plan to have it restored with a new boiler.  I don't know what their intent is after that as it seems they would have the same issues as others with lack of insurance and eventual need to obey the PTC rule.

@rplst8 posted:

There was announcement not too long ago about PRR 1361.  They are bringing in some more knowledgeable folks from the sounds of it, and plan to have it restored with a new boiler.

1361 will NOT be restored with a new boiler. FMW  Solution the chosen main contractor have stated that the boiler is more or less fine, and it is the firebox that will be getting all new steel.

Last edited by hullmat991

1361 could run excursions for the public on a railroad like Everett or Nittany and Bald Eagle. NS would probably allow it to use its tracks to get to those railroads. In fact, there was talk of it touring NS with old coaches in tow probably upgraded to roller bearings just on non public moves. I think the door is finally closed for excursions on tracks owned by NS. They stopped hosting 611 excursions after spring 2017 and Amtrak was supposed to take over hosting excursions in 2018 but then the charter ban was implemented. You can't even charter a regular Amtrak train anymore for a special excursion, so any public excursion, steam or diesel is basically verboten on most class 1's now except what UP does with Big Boy. The only way to legally ride the tracks of a class 1 in most cases now is to ride a regularly scheduled Amtrak train. Freight only class 1 tracks? You're out of luck now.

Last edited by Robert K
@Robert K posted:

1361 could run excursions for the public on a railroad like Everett or Nittany and Bald Eagle. NS would probably allow it to use its tracks to get to those railroads. ...

It would be cool to see it steam down from the Railroaders Museum on the Hollidaysburg branch along Rt. 764 to the Wye and then take excursions on the Everett.  Since that branch really isn't "mainline" per se, I wonder if operating rules would be relaxed enough so they wouldn't have to deal with PTC etc.

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