Woolwich & Wellesley Township's Local Community Newspaper | Elmira, Ontario, Canada
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Steam engine’s restoration is on track

Getting the train back on the tracks was the objective Wednesday morning, as a steam locomotive arrived in Elmira on a truck and departed being pulled behind another locomotive.

The Southern Ontario Locomotive Restoration Society, which operates the Waterloo Central Railway, has been working on steam engine No. 124 at its St. Thomas yard for the past eight years. Now the train is moving to the society’s shop in St. Jacobs for the finishing touches.

The steam engine was transported to Elmira on a special gooseneck flatbed truck and rolled onto the tracks before being pulled to the Southern Ontario Locomotive Restoration Society facility in St. Jacobs by another locomotive.

The small steam engine was built in Kingston in 1930 and used by a construction company that built railway track to move materials. After a stint in lumber country up north, it was bought by retired CN conductor Alex Brown in 1969. Brown kept the locomotive on a short piece of track in his front yard and eventually bequeathed it to SOLRS.

Loaded on a gooseneck flatbed so it was low enough to pass under overhead wires, the locomotive was trucked to Elmira. It isn’t possible to get a truck onto the tracks at St. Jacobs, so the engine was carried to the crossing adjacent to Chemtura.

With the locomotive sitting on pieces of temporary track, the trailer was parked on a slight incline. The chains holding the engine in place were taken off, and with a gentle tug from a diesel locomotive, it came rolling off the flatbed and onto the tracks.

Roy Broadbear, one of the restorers working on the train, estimated the work is 80 per cent complete, with another year or two to go before it’s working the spur line.

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