RyPN Briefs July 25, 2005

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Request for Expressions of Interest in Acquisition of Steam Locomotive #108

The Rannoch Corporation is requesting expressions of interest from railroad museums, tourist railroads and other parties who would like to acquire a partially restored Baldwin 2-6-2 “Prairie” locomotive. The locomotive, known as “#108” for all of its working life, is unusually complete in terms of parts and documentation, though it is currently in an advanced state of disassembly. Interested parties should be prepared to demonstrate that they have the ability and resources to continue restoration of the locomotive, preferably to operation.

Background of Locomotive #108
#108 was built for the San Augustine County Lumber Company in 1920, and operated by the Angelina and Neches River RR for many years. #108 was sold to the Reader RR (Arkansas) in 1956, where it was used in mixed passenger and freight service..

In 1976, #108 was bought by the Conway Scenic Railroad, where it was in tourist operation from 1977 until 1988. In 1988, #108 was replaced by a larger locomotive and placed on display. It was on display at the CSRR until November 1999, when it was purchased by Rannoch and transported to Sulphur Springs, Texas, where it remains today.

#108 doubleheads on the Reader Railroad.

In the photo above, taken in 1972 on the Reader Railroad, #108 is the locomotive in front. It was a typical branch-line locomotive of its time, weighing in at 125,000 lbs for the engine and about 100,000 lbs on the tender with fuel and water. It was rated by Baldwin at 25,300 lbs. of tractive effort. It is superheated, burns oil and has air-operated valve gear, a later addition.

The locomotive and tender are now in Sulphur Springs, TX, where they are on a siding of the Blacklands Railroad. Rannoch has set up a restoration shop and warehouse for parts in an adjacent building.
Fortunately, the former owners of #108 were good record-keepers, and so we have all of the original purchase papers, the builder’s specs, Form 4 and many of the maintenance records. We also have a much better than average pictorial history of the locomotive at its various venues. In the course of our restoration efforts, we commissioned a search of the remaining Baldwin engineering files and obtained a number of documents and drawings, including the original erection drawing. Some of these documents are posted online at this link. A copy of the Baldwin builder’s photo is shown below.

David Lathrop, former chief mechanical officer of Georgetown Loop RR and a former member of Bernie Watts' staff at Backshop Services, worked with Rannoch to evaluate the locomotive and plan the restoration project. Dave also under took rehabilitation of several of the major appliances.

Upon #108's return to Texas, Ron Larson of Southwest Steam Locomotive, and formerly chief mechanical officer of the Tarantula Train, was under contract to do the disassembly and make a thorough assessment of the restoration work required. Ron worked with a team of volunteers on the project until 2003. Very little restoration work has been done on the locomotive and tender since that time.

Expressions of Interest
If your organization is interested in acquiring and continuing the restoration of #108, please contact Nat Turner of Rannoch Corporation by email, or by telephone at 972-239-8198. We have prepared a CD with a large number of detailed photos and other documentation showing the current status of most parts of the locomotive. We will be happy to send a copy of the CD to qualified parties. Obviously, we will also be happy to answer questions by telephone, but we will restrict site visits to parties who are clearly interested and qualified.

As a final step in the process, we will ask potential acquirers to submit a written proposal, including a statement of their plans for the locomotive and of their ability to undertake the rest of the restoration.

(Nat P. Turner, President, the Rannoch Corporation)