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Photo of the Month - August 2007
There was much excitement at the ORM on this December morning in 1958. The Norfolk and Western Railway had just announced that it would donate steam locomotive #578, a class K2, 4-6-2 to the museum. It was to arrive in February 1959, less then two months away. The big issue and problem was getting it from the end of the Worthington Coal and Supply Company's siding, where the PRR local would leave it, to the museum's tracks. The siding lined up very nicely to the ORM car barn, just to the left of the photo, except the car barn had #4 and #5 switches leading to the ORM mainline. Streetcar switches just wouldn't work for a very big steam locomotive. It was decided that the solution would be to break the mainline and build an extension from the track you see #1 sitting on through that break to the coal yard siding. The first step was to move the existing equipment around to clear the tracks being changed and to position #1 to eventually pull #578 onto the property.
Saddle tank #1 weighed 20 tons. That is very small for a standard gauge steam engine. #578 weighs 285 tons, it would have a full bunker of coal ,thanks to the N&W, and it would be winter adding to the friction on #578's bearings. In addition the track extension involved a curve adding even more friction for #1 to overcome.
The only miscalculation in the plan occurred during the dedication ceremony before the move of #578 onto the property. While waiting for the ceremony to start #1 sat coupled to 578 for about an hour. Vapor coming off the little engine formed ice on the track and moisture built up in the smoke box. When the throttle was first opened to move the engine the wheels slipped throwing wet soot in all directions. Having cleared its throat and doused the crowd with the fallout it then pulled #578 onto the museum tracks. As it turned out #1 was able to pull all 285 tons of #578 onto its new home with just a little wheel slippage to keep things interesting.
Irv Layton, ORM's steam expert was always concerned about safety. #1 had no air pump, instead it used steam brakes to stop the engine. There had to be adequate steam pressure for those steam brakes to be very effective. In addition without an air pump there were no train brakes which made stopping a 60 ton coach a slow process. Once the ORM acquired a caboose, that was used with #1 to give visitor rides.
No one was allowed to ride on the leading end boards because of the danger of falling off and being hit by the engine. That meant when the engine was backing riders had to ride the front end boards close to the smoke box. They usually came out of that experience blackened by the smoke fall out.
#1 was built by the Vulcan Iron Works in Wilkes Barre, PA in 1924. It was donated to the ORM by the Marble Cliff Quarries in 1955. They had a number of saddle tank engines they used at their Arrow Sand and Gravel Company in Columbus.
After the ORM couldn't operate #1 any more, due to its age, it became a static display. In 1983 teenager Bill Kaiser, an ORM member, gave #1 a cosmetic restoration as his eagle scout project. Today #1 is on loan to the Depot Conference Center on Henderson Road in Columbus where now CSX engineer Kaiser can see that long-a-go project on his trips to and from Toledo on the old Chesapeake and Ohio line.