More "Lost Engines"

  Another day dawns in Galt, Illinois, while three ex-GTW 0-8-0 switchers rest quietly on their overgrown siding.
(R. Jenkins photo)

The "Lost Engines of Roanoke" is about four remarkable engines that somehow survived the end of the steam era, only to face an uncertain future today.  While they are - perhaps - the most dramatic examples in America, they are by no means alone.  This page highlights some other forgotten engines around the country that deserve a better fate.

Index: (Scroll down or click on links below)

  • Galt, Illinois

  • Newbury, Massachusetts

  • Back to Main Page

    Galt, Illinois

    (Click on photos for larger image)

    Photos by Richard Jenkins 10/20/98   UPDATE November 2000: Northwestern Steel & Wire no. 30, (ex-GTW 8300) has been sold for display at the Buchanan County Visitors Center in Independence, Iowa. One down, two to go...

    Behind a grain elevator off Route 2 in Galt, Illinois is an old siding, overgrown with weeds, and home to three neglected-looking steam engines.  They're property of the Illinois Railway Museum now, 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. 

    The 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 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.  Apart from that, they 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 switch engines?  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 their fate.

    The engines in Galt are rather a sorry sight now.  The decades of hard service followed by years of neglect have not been kind to them.  All three engines have been stripped of "collectibles" such as bells, whistles, headlights, and cab fittings.  I'm not sure whether this was done by souvenir hunters, or by the IRM for safe keeping.  Two of the engines, nos. 05 and 74 are oil burners.  The other one, no. 30, remained a coal burner to the end.  In fact, there is still half a load of coal in her tender, left over from her final run.  Unfortunately, the coal has trapped moisture against the bunker sides, causing them to rust through in many places. Some of the coal has fallen through onto the track below.  Otherwise, this engine seems to be the most complete of the three.  Unlike the others, she still has her air pumps.  However, none of the engines seem to be beyond cosmetic restoration.

    For more information about the Galt engines, check out these links:

    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), appears to be the most complete of the three engines.  Her tender still holds half a load of coal from her last run.
    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.  What about the other two?
    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 Vanderbilt tender rests on the siding with the 0-8-0's.  The "KCS" on the truck sideframes suggest it may have come from the Kansas City Southern.

    Click here to return to
    More "Lost Engines" Index

    Back to Main Page

    Newbury, Massachusetts

    (Click on photos for larger image)


    Photos by Richard Jenkins 5/98   Simons Wrecking Co. no. 2 is a Porter 0-6-0T.   She was once part of F. Nelson Blount's Steamtown collection,  but was sold when Steamtown moved to Scranton, PA.   Stripped down for a restoration to steam that never came,  she is now rusting away in an auto salvage yard in Newbury,  MA.   Although the engine looks a mess,  her boiler is reputedly in good shape,  and the junkyard owner claims to have all the parts.   Unfortunately,  her condition can only get worse where she is now.   The cab and saddle tank lie on the ground next to the engine.   Hopefully a good home can be found for her before it's too late.   She is shown here in May, 1998.
    3/4 rear view of Simons Wrecking no. 2.  Note the headlight resting next to the firebox door.
    It'd difficult to get a decent front or broadside shot of the engine because of the vegetation and some derelict truck trailers.  Here's a view of her smokebox and cylinders.
    The saddle tank and cab are lying on the ground next to the engine, surrounded by weeds.

    Click here to return to
    More "Lost Engines" Index

    Back to Main Page