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Grand Canyon Railway No. 4960 is a class "O-1a" 2-8-2 "Mikado" type steam locomotive originally built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1923 for the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad. It was mostly used for hauling freight trains until 1957. It was spared from scrap by the CB&Q, and it was used for their steam excursion program alongside 4-8-4 class O-5b No. 5632, until the program was shut down in 1966. It was sold to the Circus World Museum right before being donated to the Mid-Continent Railway Museum. In the early 1980s, it was operated again by the Bristol and Northwestern Railroad for only three years. Today, it is owned by the Grand Canyon Railway, pulling passenger trains every year between Williams, Arizona and the Grand Canyon National Park alongside former Lake Superior and Ishpeming 2-8-0 "Consolidation" type No. 29.
|Grand Canyon Railway 4960|
Beginning in the early 1910s, the Chicago Burlington and Quincy ordered a total of 388 2-8-2 mikados from Baldwin Locomotive Works to replace their aging 2-6-2 Prairies in the growing heavy freight traffic. The first 60 class O-1 locomotives were built between 1910 and 1911, being numbered 5000–5059. In 1911, five E-4s, which were numbered 800–804, were delivered to the CB&Q themselves, as well as more for some of the CB&Q's subsidiary companies, including the Fort Worth and Denver Railway. Later on, one hundred O-2's were delivered, numbered 5200–5299, just between 1912 and 1913. And then sixty O-3 mikados between 1915 and 1919, numbered 5300–5359. That same year, fifteen USRA-designed O-4’s arrived, being numbered 5500-5514. Then between 1917 and 1923, 148 O-1a’s were produced and delivered, being numbered 5060-5147, as well as 4940-4999, and No. 4960 was among the last locomotives completed for the railroad. In 1925, all the O-2’s were sent to the Burlington Route’s own West Burlington, Iowa shops to be rebuilt as O-2a’s and O-2b’s. All these locomotives were mainly used for hauling heavy freight trains mostly around the Iowa division for more than 30 years, but then diesels began to take over the secondary assignments, and by 1957, all 2-8-2's on the CB&Q were withdrawn from revenue service and mostly cut up. No. 4960 last saw use in revenue service by hauling coal trains out of Southern Illinois mines.
1958–1966 excursion careerEdit
What saved No. 4960 from the scrapper's torch was being used for the Burlington Route's steam excursion program. Its first fan trip run occurred on December 28, 1958 with 490 passengers on board. This trip was sponsored by the Illinois Railroad Club, as back then, the fan trips would be sponsored by railfan clubs and groups from the National Railway Historical Society (NRHS). After the fan trips, the Burlington Route's president, Harry C. Murphy, would officially start the steam excursion program, which would star the last two steam locomotives on their active list: No. 4960 and O-5b 4-8-4 "Northern" type No. 5632, which was built by the CB&Q's own shops in 1940. The railroad has given No. 4960 a complete overhaul in 1961, in order to keep the locomotive working for the program.
During the steam program, the CB&Q came up with the "Steam Choo-Choo", a school field trip service where both No. 4960 and No. 5632 pulled over 120,000 children, and this earned No. 4960 the nickname "The Teacher". In 1963, during the 50th anniversary of the railroad's service to Casper, Wyoming, No. 4960 was painted gold all over as the 'Tenshodo Mikado', as nicknamed by Trains Magazine. Afterward, No. 4960 was painted black once again, and resumed to pull excursions for the CB&Q between Chicago and Ottawa, Illinois. Around the same time, the railroad reacquired one of No. 4960's sister engines, No. 4963, which had recently been retired from the Bevier and Southern railroad. However, it was only kept as a spare parts provider for No. 4960 in case it ever suffered a mechanical problem. Between 1965 and 1966, No. 4960 was used to pull the Circus World Museum's train on Chicago and Northwestern trackage from Baraboo to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and this trip was witnessed by 75,000 spectators.
However, the excursion program on the Burlington Route didn't last any longer. In 1966, Harry C. Murphy retired from his position as president of the Burlington Route, and Louis W. Menk took his place, who wasn't interested in running a steam program, and he had plans to combine the CB&Q with the Milwaukee Road, Spokane Portland and Seattle, Northern Pacific, and Great Northern railroads to create the Burlington Northern System. No. 4960's last excursion run for the CB&Q occurred on July 17, 1966, a fan trip also sponsored by the Illinois Railroad Club. Shortly afterwards, it was donated to the State Historical Society, who decided to put it on static display in the Circus World Museum, but a light-duty bridge prevented No. 4960 from entering the Circus World's grounds. The locomotive was soon moved to the Mid-Continent Railway Museum at North Freedom, Wisconsin. Employees from the C&NW provided a quick introduction to the art of operating the locomotive's stoker. Then No. 4960 "steamed into the museum under its own power", as recalled by Tom O'Brien, the Museum's longtime owner. In November 1970, after operating back and forth in the museum's yard for a little while, No. 4960 became completely owned by the museum, and it remained in public storage there only to face an uncertain future. It never operated on the MCRM's tourist line, since its wheelbase was too long to negotiate with the tight curves there.
1981–1984 excursion careerEdit
After over a decade of quiet storage in North Freedom, No. 4960 was looked at by Virginian businessman Harold Keene, who opened the Bristol and Northwestern tourist railroad, which was formerly used as part of the Southern Railway's Bristol branch line that lied between Bristol and Mendota ,Virginia before it was abandoned and shortened to lie between Bristol and Benhams. However, the MCRM management had mixed feelings over this. There were employees who loved the locomotive and wanted to keep it and make revenue off of it, and there were other employees who didn't like the locomotive for taking up room on the property and wanted to get rid of it. Not only that, but No. 4960 was originally part of the MCRM's initial plan to recreate an early 20th-century Midwest short steam experience. Even with that, a five-year lease was signed in early 1980 along with an option to purchase the locomotive for $40,000, and No. 4960 began being transported to the East. No. 4960 was first moved to the Jackson Iron and Steel Company in Jackson, Ohio for an operational restoration that ended up being partially incomplete; No. 4960 was missing its boiler jacket and the cylinders were also partially uncovered. Not only that, but it turns out that after the fan trips on the CB&Q, mainline use has taken its toll on No. 4960. However, this wasn't an issue, since the B&NW was only a tourist operation.
No. 4960 was back under steam in July 1981, and it began pulling six-hour weekend tourist trains between Bristol and Benhams. Under B&NW ownership, the mikado would find a new relationship with two employees, Ervin White and Robert Franzen. At this time, White was part of the crew that moved the locomotive to Bristol and volunteered to restore it back to operation along with Gary Bensman, while Franzen was a volunteer fireman and brakeman for the railroad. On one occasion, however, No. 4960 derailed as she rolled over a rail line, and the B&NW crew had to call the shop crew from the nearby Tweetsie Railroad to help re-rail the locomotive and fix the trackage. The locomotive subsequently ran on the B&NW less and less often, until 1984, when Mr. Keene died of a heart attack. With Mr. Keene out of the picture, the B&NW would to go out of business by the end of the year. Although Robert and Ervin insisted on keeping No. 4960 operable for a few more months, its five-year lease was approaching its expiration date. In March 1985, No. 4960 was fired up to stop at the B&NW-Norfolk Southern interchange to be towed 700 miles west-bound to one of Bensman's shops in Casad Industrial Park in New Haven, Indiana for more time out of service. This was the last time No. 4960 operated under her own power in her CB&Q appearance.
Grand Canyon Railway excursion careerEdit
In 1989, the Grand Canyon Railway, a former Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe short line between Williams, Arizona and the Grand Canyon National Park, was reopened for public excursions, thanks to Max and Thelma Biegert, a couple from Phoenix. The first four locomotives they acquired were former Lake Superior and Ishpheming 2-8-0 consolidations, 18, 19, 20 and 29, and two of which were restored to run there. The GCRY had the hopes of pulling ten or more loaded passenger cars on their trackage. However, the 18 was limited to pull five cars unassisted, and the 29 couldn't pull any more than nine cars unassisted, so the GCRY needed a larger and more powerful locomotive to meet the demand. Ervin White, Robert Franzen, and Gary Bensman, the same employees from the B&NW, suggested to Max Biegert that No. 4960, which was still in storage at New Haven, would be well suited for the GCRY's needs in greater motive power. Without much sentiment for the Mid-Continent group to keep No. 4960 anymore, it was outright purchased by the GCRY on September 16, 1989, one day before the railway was reopened.
When mechanics arrived at New Haven, they discovered they couldn't move the locomotive on its own wheels, and the whole running gear had to be hauled by truck to the NS's locomotive shops in Birmingham, Alabama for refurbishment. There, it was discovered that the 2nd and 3rd driving axles had cracks in the center, and they needed to be completely replaced. When Casad Industrial Park began threatening to scrap No. 4960 had it not been removed within thirty days, the rest of the components, including the boiler, frame, cab, and tender, were ripped apart and hauled on flatcars straight to Arizona. It was a rough decision for the mechanics, since for one thing, the smokebox became badly damaged after being torn off of the saddle of the frame. By the time No. 4960 arrived in Williams, disassembled, most of its components were corroded. Restoration work finally began in July 1993 inside the GCRY's Williams shops, and this time, the work was much more thorough than it was on the B&NW and more extensive than most of the overhauls on the CB&Q. Flues, tubes, bearings, coal systems, the front and rear flue sheets, the superheater systems, the thread bolts, and other old parts, along with any questionable parts, were removed to either be repaired, or to be replaced. New components were also being made, including a new tender from a Soo Line 4-8-2 mountain type, 2,400 stay bolts, a new front pilot axle, and new firebox sheets, using a full penetration weld common, which though was nothing new to marine and industrial appliances, it was something new steam locomotives. Boiler men, welders, and electricians took their time around the clock to get the work done. Robert Franzen, who became No. 4960's fireman again, was supervising the rebuilding process, while Gary Bensman was hired as the GCRY's chief mechanical officer for a short time before working for his company, Diversified Rail Services. Ervin White also supervised the GCRY's train operations for a short time. The restoration process slowed down in 1995, due to GCRY staff concentrating their efforts on restoring Alco FA locomotives, and the process was sped up again in early 1996. The restoration process took three years and 80,000 man hours, and it cost of over $1 million The locomotive has become so heavily modified, it now has an appearance of a 1940s era locomotive, instead of a 1920s design it originally appeared as.
In May 1996, No. 4960 was towed out of the Williams shops to be test fired. The test fire was deemed a success, and over a course of two months, the locomotive was repainted and given its essential components in preparation for its test run, and in early July, No. 4960 moved under its own power for the first time in eleven years. The locomotive pulled its first train on the GCRY on July 27 of that year. Since then, No. 4960 has been pulling passenger trains from Williams to the Grand Canyon Village, and back. Most often, the locomotive would also be equipped with a custom-built multiple-unit control box for diesel assistance, since the GCRY diecided that their longer trains would require a minimum of two locomotives to pull. In 2002, Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe 3751, a 4-8-4 "northern" based from San Bernardino, California, traveled to Williams to participate in that year's National Railway Historical Society Convention, and it performed a doubleheader with No. 4960 to the Grand Canyon, as well as a tripleheader with No. 18 back to Williams. Once the convention was over, No. 3751 returned home, while Nos 4960 and 18 resumed to pull trains on the GCRY. In 2005, No. 4960 performed a doubleheader with No. 29, as well as posing side by side in front of the GCV log depot for some night photo sessions.
In 2007, the entire GCRY was purchased by Xanterra Travel Collection, and the following year, they ceased all steam operations on the GCRY due to fuel costs and environmental concerns, and No. 4960 was put on static display in front of the Williams Depot. Just one year later, as a result of the general public's demand for steam operations on the GCRY to return, the GCRY brought back steam for only one or two times per month, and in order to keep costs low, No. 4960 has been burning recycled waste vegetable oil collected from restaurants in the South Rim and Williams instead of regular oil. Since No. 4960 has been burning a cleaner source of fuel, she was now nicknamed “The Green Machine”. In 2012, the San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society took Santa Fe 3751 for a second visit to the GCRY, where she would perform another doubleheader with the 2-8-2 as part of the state's Centennial. Between 2013 and 2014, No. 4960 pulled occasional freight trains for, yet, another photo shoot. In 2016, No. 4960 performed another doubleheader with 29 as part of the Centennial of the National Park Service. As of 2022, No. 4960 remains operational, only pulling excursions on Steam Saturdays, and is occasionally on display at Williams during the winter season.
- When No. 4960 and her sister engines were initially built, they came with vintage oil lamps for their headlights and their marker lights. At some point during the Great Depression, No. 4960 was one of the first O-1a's to receive an overhaul, which would come with standard golden glow headlights with lightbulbs.
- At some point after 1952, the sides of the coal bunker of No. 4960's tender were inverted into slopes just a little bit.
- Between 1963 and 1964, No. 4960's headlight placement was raised by a few inches after receiving a new headlight bracket.
- When operating for the B&NW, No. 4960 was missing its boiler jacket and cylinder coverings. It was also missing marker lights most of that time, and its original CB&Q 5 chime whistle was replaced with a Crosby 6 inch 3 chime.
- During the 1993-1996 rebuild on the GCRY at Williams, No. 4960 received a 1940s era appearance, since the GCRY staff wanted to give their locomotives their own distinctive looks.
- This included No. 4960 receiving a new smokebox that is smaller in diameter for a decrease in back pressure by 30%.
- A new arrangement for the smokebox door came with an LS&I-style grab iron, a centered twin-sealed beam headlight with two lightbulbs, a rectangular number plate painted red and brass, and a golden bell mounted on top. The hinges on the smokebox were reused from the old one.
- No. 4960 also received a new tube cowcatcher similar to those that appeared on steam locomotives from the AT&SF.
- No. 4960 was original constructed with a water pump on the left-hand side, but during the GCRY rebuild, it was replaced with a second air compressor with an oil pump lubricator, and a water injector was installed on the right-hand side.
- The sand dome and the steam dome were decreased in height by three inches.
- A new smokestack was made, and it was six inches shorter than the original CB&Q smokestack.
- New valve connecting shafts were installed to illiminate the need for washers or bushings inside the cylinders.
- The old Crosby 6 inch whistle was replaced with a Star Brass 5 chime whistle.
- Eight transverse arch tubes were installed to increase water circulation.
- The firebox grates and the ash pan were removed and replaced with an oil pan with piping underneath, since the locomotive was to be converted from burning coal to burning oil fuel.
- New transversive arch tubes were installed in the firebox to speed up water circulation and to decrease fuel usage.
- The old, four-axle tender replaced with a modified six-axle oil tender that used to belong to a Soo Line 4-8-2 "Mountain Type" for greater and cleaner fuel and water capacity, and the old tender was presumed scrapped. The new tender previously served as a maintenance of way tender, and it was one of very few tenders that were left without their locomotives in the United States.
- In order to match the new tender coupler, welders raised the back end of the frame by six inches.
- Most of the metal on No. 4960's cab was replaced other than most of the roof, and one window on each side was sealed off with the GCRY logo painted over it.
- The original two 800-watt generators in front of the cab were replaced with two 1,000-watt EMD generators to power lights along the running board and the radios in the cab.
- A centrifical pump was installed in front of the two generators to speed up the process of blowing down the boiler.
- No. 4960 also received two ditchlights on its pilot deck, which were removed by the end of 1997.
- In 1999, No. 4960's whistle was changed again to a flat top 3 chime.
- In 2002, No. 4960's whistle was changed again to a Santa Fe 6 chime. Although, the locomotive also uses a Norfolk and Western hooter whistle every once in a while.
- At the end of 2004, No. 4960's old blast nozzle inside the smokebox was replaced by a new custom-made Lempor nozzle that would be more efficient for the exhaust system. It also received a new custom made smokestack.
- In 2007, No. 4960 was given another overhaul with a few more modifications.
- It was given a Chinese copy of a Worthington feedwater heater system that comes with a heat exchanger mounted into the top of the smokebox, as well as a hot water pump on the pilot deck. Now the 4960 is the only CB&Q 2-8-2 to ever support a Worthington feedwater as opposed to the Elesco feedwater that was more common on the CB&Q.
- Its grease lubrication system beneath the cab was also replaced with an oil lubrication system in the form of a mechanical lubricator that uses biodegradable oil for the main roller bearings.
- In order to operate under Xanterra ownership with low operation costs, No. 4960 was converted to a cleaner and cheaper source of fuel, in 2009: Recycled waste vegetable oil that was delivered to the railway by third-party suppliers, which now collects the oil from restaurants in the Grand Canyon Village, Williams, or any other town in Northern Arizona.
- In 2012, the original CB&Q smokestack was returned to No. 4960.
Surviving sister enginesEdit
While No. 4960 was sold to the Circus World Museum, Nos 4963 and 5632 were sold to steam locomotive caretaker, Richard Jensen, who moved them to the Chicago and Western Indiana roundhouse for storage. In 1969, both locomotives were moved to a Chicago scrapyard, where No. 5632 was scrapped, after derailing on a switch. After Richard Jensen passed away in 1991, No. 4963, which was still in dead storage at a Chicago scrapyard, was acquired by the Illinois Railway Museum, who moved it to their property in Union, Illinois for static display. No. 4963 still resides there today.
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy No. 4978 was retired from revenue service in 1960 and sat idle in Galesburg for five years, until it was donated to the South County Historical Society to be placed on static display at Ottawa, Illinois. In 1997, No. 4978 was relocated to Mendota Amtrak station in front of an Ex-CB&Q caboose No. 14451 in Mendota, Illinois, where it still remains on static display.
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy No. 4994 is the youngest survivor of the CB&Q 2-8-2s. It was retired in 1960 and sat idle, until 1964. That year, it was acquired by the Texas Tech University, who put it on display on their property in Lubbock, Texas. Since then, it has been renumbered to 401, in order to represent the CB&Q's E-4 locomotives that operated on the Fort Worth and Denver Railway.
Fort Worth and Denver No. 410 is the oldest survivor of the CB&Q mikados, and it is the sole survivor of any E-4. It was within fifteen such locomotives built for the subsidiary in 1915, and it was used for freight service, until 1957. The locomotive was purchased by the Texas and Pacific Railroad, while being renumbered to 400. It remained as a backup in flood protection service. When it was retired in 1963, it was donated to City Park in Marshall, Texas, where it remained on static display for decades. In 2007, the locomotive was moved inside a steel shed, as the park grew concerns over asbestos. In 2008, the locomotive was sold off and moved to a nearby station, where it received a cosmetic restoration and is now on static display just behind Union Pacific caboose No. 25687.
In popular cultureEdit
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