A 91-year-old 111,000-pound steam locomotive was lifted into the air by two tow trucks and placed it onto a trailer so it could be delivered for restoration and then relocated to a museum in Newton, N.C. It was a bittersweet day for people who grew up with the train as a dozen residents took pictures with cameras and phones, but people were glad to hear the locomotive will undergo a $1 million restoration and placed in a museum.
Officials at the Southeastern Narrow Gauge and Short Line Museum had expressed interest in the locomotive a few years ago, after it was decided that the train had to be moved from the area because of a deal between the city and Lakeland Regional Medical Center, which has plans to expand south as part of a future major renovation. The museum was the only business to make a bid on the train when the city decided to sell it. “We were fortunate to find someone to refurbish it and not turn it into scrap metal,” said Bob Donahay, assistant parks and recreation.
Number 50 is a standard gauge mogul that was built by the American Locomotive Co. in 1922. It was used for many years by the Virginia-Carolina Chemical Corporation to haul phosphate rock. In 1958 it was taken out of service in and then donated to the city of Lakeland in 1961. It’s expected that the locomotive will be restored in about eight months, and in the coming years, there is hope that the museum will raise enough money so the locomotive can run again.
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