||From the road, the first engine one sees is P-5g no. 74. The other two engines are behind her.
||No. 74 was converted to oil firing while at NS&W, and given some unusual handrails on top of her tender.
||The original P-5 0-8-0, no. 8300 (shortened by NS&W to 30). Since these photos were taken, this engine has
been cosmetically restored and placed on display in Independence, Iowa
||When no. 30 was donated to the IRM, somebody in the NS&W yard wrote this note on the back of her tender. 8300 was
finally saved in October, 2000, and is now in display in Independence, Iowa.
||A broadside view of no. 05, formerly GTW 8305, class P-5b. Like no. 74, no. 05 was also converted to oil firing.
||A close-up of the cab side of no. 05. This engine still has the raised cab side numbers from her GTW days.
||This ex-Kansas City Southern Vanderbilt tender rests on the siding with the 0-8-0's. It had been paired with 0-8-0 no.
28 (ex-GTW 8328), one of the engines traded for scrap in exchange for CB&Q 4963.
Behind a grain elevator off Route 2 in Galt, Illinois is
an old siding, overgrown with weeds. For many years, this
was the home of three neglected-looking steam engines.
They were owned by the Illinois Railway Museum, but if
these old engines could talk, they would tell a story of
scrapyard survival that is every bit as remarkable as that
of the Roanoke engines.
story begins in 1923, when no. 8300, the first P-5a class
0-8-0 switcher, was built for the Grand Trunk Western
Railroad. She was joined soon afterwards by a large
number of sister engines in sub-classes P-5a through
P-5g, and worked hard for the GTW until the railroad
dieselized in the 1950's. Although the railroad did
set a number of steam engines aside for preservation, there
were no 0-8-0's among them - the railroad sold every last
one of them for scrap.
For sixteen of these large
switch engines, it seemed that the end of the line had
come in 1960, when they were sold to the Northwestern
Steel and Wire scrapyard in Sterling, Illinois.
However, these engines would prove that they still had
some useful life left in them. Northwestern Steel
and Wire, with its large complex and an aging fleet of
ex-CB&Q 0-6-0 switchers, decided instead to scrap
their own engines, and put the 0-8-0's to work switching
gondolas in their yard.
Under NS&W ownership, the
engines were renumbered by dropping the first two digits
of their GTW numbers. The exception was GTW 8300,
which became no. 30, rather than 00. Also, over the
years, several of them were converted from coal to oil
firing. Some, including nos. 15 and 28, were paired
with different tenders from scrapped engines. No. 15
received a coal tender from a CB&Q Mikado in the early 60's, and later no. 28 was given
a Vanderbilt tender from the Kansas City Southern as part of
her conversion to oil firing. Because the oil bunker on the
KCS tender didn't clear no. 28's cab roof, the tender was
coupled on backwards! Otherwise, however, these engines were
little changed during their second career at NS&W.
At a time when steam locomotives were quickly becoming either razor
blades or museum pieces, these sixteen workaday switch
engines soldiered on, doing pretty much what they were
built to do, and continued to do so for a couple more
decades. The last fires weren't dropped until the
early 1980's. It was the last great industrial
steam show in America.
When NS&W steam operations
finished, twelve of the original sixteen 0-8-0's were
still on the roster. The other four had been used
for spare parts and scrapped. In what was a very
generous move for a yard that had scrapped so many steam
locomotives over the years, the remaining 0-8-0's were
given to the Illinois Railway Museum. The lowly P-5
0-8-0, a class of engine that the GTW hadn't bothered to
preserve at all, suddenly became one of the
best-represented locomotive types in preservation.
This, however, posed something of a dilemma for the
IRM. Just what does a museum with an already large
collection do with twelve more-or-less-identical
One engine, no. 80, was cosmetically restored in her
original guise as GTW 8380, and placed on display at the
museum's Union, Illinois site. Homes were found for
several others as well. No. 27 went to St. Paul,
Minnesota, for display outside Bandana Square, a
railroad-themed shopping complex converted from a former
Northern Pacific Railway car shop. The city of
Amboy, Illinois got no. 76 and put her on display outside
their depot museum, while no. 73 remained in NS&W's
home town of Sterling, Illinois, placed on display at the
P.W. Dillon museum. The rest of the engines weren't
so fortunate. In 1988, the IRM traded five of them
to a Chicago scrapyard in exchange for CB&Q 2-8-2 no.
4963, which had been there since 1970.
The remaining three, nos. 74, 05, and 30 (the original GTW
no. 8300), were placed in open storage on a siding in
Galt, not far from the NS&W yard in nearby Sterling,
and left there to rust until a decision could be made on