I hope not to step on Tim O'Malley's toes, but I see that there hasn't been a midweek photo thread started yet this week so here it goes. Post away!
My contribution for the week...
I was looking up information to answer a question somebody had about the 1873 Mason 0-6-4T "Torch Lake" which operates at Greenfield Village. I had never paid much attention to its original build/delivery date, but realized that it was delivered 145 years ago on October 17th, 1873 to the Calumet & Hecla Mining Co. to work on their Hecla & Torch Lake Railroad. As a result, we're looking to recognize such a significant milestone in the life of a still operating locomotive for its "Birthday" next week. Torch Lake hauled carloads of rock to the smelter for the Michigan based copper mining company from 1873 until it was parked in a shed around 1933. New diesels were purchased in the 1940's and all the steam locomotives located in the larger roundhouse (including several other Mason Bogies) were scrapped. Torch Lake survived, hidden away in its little shed until the 1960's, when it was brought out for an anniversary celebration for the company and eventually donated to Greenfield Village in 1969. It has been hauling tourist trains there since the early 1970's.
Torch Lake currently holds the distinction of being the oldest operable locomotive in the U.S. at this time, it's the only surviving Mason Bogie style locomotive, and is one of only two locomotives built by the Mason Machine Works that survives today. For those that don't know, the Mason Bogie design was similar to a Forney in that it's a tank engine with the tank located above a rear truck behind the cab. The difference is that a Forney is a rigid frame locomotive, whereas the Mason Bogie was an early form of articulated locomotive. Torch Lake has a pivot point directly above the center drive wheel set which allows the frame to swing beneath the boiler.
Builders photo taken outside of the Mason factory in Taunton, MA in 1873
A photo I took several days ago while warming up the engine to operate for the final month of our operating season (ends October 28th). It was made a standard gauge locomotive around 1907 from it's original 4'-1" gauge and took on the appearance that it maintains today. The Hecla & Torch Lake dropped their charter in 1910 and the locomotives were then lettered for the Calumet & Hecla Mining Co. for the remainder of their service years.