Lake Superior and Ishpeming Railroad No. 18 is a preserved class SC-4 2-8-0 “Consolidation” type steam locomotive. It was built by the American Locomotive Company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for the Lake Superior and Ishpeming Railroad in 1910 as engine No. 11. It was renumbered 18 in 1923. It was used for pulling carloads of iron ore, as well as some passenger trains on branch lines, until it was retired in 1962. In 1963, it was sold to Marquette and Mount Huron tourist railroad, but it never operated there. It was sold to the Lake States Steam Association in 1985, and it was stored at the Nicolet Badger Northern Railroad in Laona, Wisconsin. In 1989, it became the first locomotive to be restored and operated by the Grand Canyon Railway, and it pulled tourist excursions between Williams, Arizona and the Grand Canyon National Park, until 2002. In 2007, it was sold to the Mount Hood Tourist Railroad in Oregon to pull excursions there. Just a few months later, it was sold again to Rio Grande Scenic Railroad to pull more excursions between Alamosa and La Veta, Colorado until 2013. In 2021, No. 18 was purchased by the Maguire Foundation, and it was moved to Boyertown, Pennsylvania to be operated by the Colebrookdale Railroad Preservation Trust.
|Lake Superior and Ishpeming 18|
Original service lifeEdit
With the success of the B-4s from the 1900s, the Lake Superior and Ishpeming Railroad designed and ordered five small 2-8-0 Consolidation types from the American Locomotive Company(ALCO)’s Pittsburgh works in 1909, to replace their fleet of 1890s-built A3 class 0-6-0s, and they arrived the following year, being numbered 9-13. No. 18 was numbered 11 at the time and was among the five that were built. The railroad expected great power from these little consolidations to pull heavy passenger and iron ore trains between West Ishpeming, Negaunee, and Marquette, Michigan, as the traffic was getting heavier.
However, No. 11 and her sisters had smaller boilers than the B-4s, and they weren't quite as powerful, either, as they were only capable of 34,000 pounds in tractive effort. This was because they weren't without design flaws, one of which was their fireboxes, which were very narrow, as they were tucked in between the rear set of driving wheels. This flaw made the little consolidations lackluster steamers compared to the B-4s, or even the 0-6-0s they were intended to replace. They had a bad habit of stalling on hills or giving up when their trains became heavy to pull, so railroaders often flew curses at them. The 11 and her sisters instead saw use as motive power for mixed trains, stand-by locomotives when there was power needed for extra ore trains, or just use as dock switchers.
In 1923, the LS&I received some additional 2-8-0s, including some more of 11's sister engines, after purchasing the Munising, Marquette and Southeastern Railway, so a renumbering system and reclassification system were in order, and 9–13 were reclassified as SC-4s and renumbered 18–25. No. 11 was renumbered 18, taking its new road number from an SC-1 class.
With the railroad now having a proper facility in Presque Isle, between 1928 and 1934, No. 18 and all her sisters, with the exception of No. 25, were completely rebuilt to sponge away most of their problems. Their modifications have made their performances and efficiency vastly improve compared to how they did in their older saturated days. As the 1930s progressed, No. 18 was named after an engineer ‘Patrick McCarthy’, taking the name from 1907-built 2-8-0 No. 16. These little consolidations resumed in freight service on the LS&I's branch lines between West Ishpeming, Marquette, and Negaunee, during the ore seasons until even the LS&I decided to fully dieselize by the early 1960s. No. 18 was retired in 1962.
The following year, the railroad sold eleven of their 2-8-0s, as well as some of their passenger cars, to the Marquette and Huron Mountain Tourist Railroad. This was intended to give the old consolidations another chance on life. However, there are no known records of the 18 pulling any excursion trains for the M&HM. Only some of its sister engines, Nos 19, 22, and 23, were known to pull tourist trains there between Marquette and Big Bay. Instead, the 18 sat with the rest of its sisters in the form of a 'scrapline', facing an uncertain future. The M&HM ran its last train before they ceased operations in 1984, when the railroad's owner passed away.
In 1985, the 2-8-0s that remained in Marquette were sold back to the LS&I, who sold them all at an auction that same year. Within a few months, No. 18 went bought and sold to various different owners, such as the North American Railroad dealership, and the Harvey Corporation, until was sold by the end of 1986 to the Lake States Steam Association, who moved it to the Nicolet Badger Northern Railroad in Laona, Wisconsin. They performed some boiler work on the locomotive with the hopes of restoring it to operating condition, but there are no known records of the locomotive operating for their trackage.
Grand Canyon RailwayEdit
In 1988, the Grand Canyon Railway, a former Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway branch line lying between Williams, Arizona and the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park, was purchased by Max and Thelma Biegert, a couple from Phoenix. They purchased No. 18, along with sister engines 19, 20, and SC-3 No. 29 for their operations. Nos 19 and 20 were also being planned for operational restoration work for short-distance passenger service between the Williams depot and a four-mile branch linking from the GCRY's mainline and the nearby airport, but instead, they ended up receiving cosmetic restoration for static display.
No. 18 left Wisconsin and arrived in Williams on August 20, 1989, for restoration. During the process, No. 18 was given some modifications, including a centered headlight, a mounted bell, and a conversion to oil firing. On September 17, after twenty-eight days of restoration work, the little consolidation was restored to operating condition for the first time in twenty-seven years. That same day, the Grand Canyon line was re-inaugurated for public excursion service.
In April of the 1990, fellow LS&I sister engine, No. 29 was restored and both consolidations would operate for the new tourist railroad from Williams to the Grand Canyon Village and back. During the early years of GCR operations, steam trains would run year-round with at least one month dedicated to maintenance.
In February 1991, the 18 pulled a three-car special down the Santa Fe's Peavine line to Phoenix to take part in the "Union Station Days" to help promote rail awareness with the Arizona Rail Passenger Association. The engine stayed for three days before the event ended and then returned to Williams.
In 1993, sister engine No. 19 was sold to the MGM Grand Adventures Theme Park in Las Vegas, Nevada. The locomotive is now on display in Frisco, Texas to represent the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway's own fleet of 2-8-0s. In late 1989, the Grand Canyon Railway purchased ex-Chicago Burlington and Quincy 2-8-2 'Mikado' No. 4960. Rebuilding of this engine began in 1993 and ended in 1996, joining Nos. 18 and 29 as an operable stablemate and becoming the railway's flagship locomotive. In 1998, GCR began a six-year overhaul on No. 29, leaving the 18 and 4960 to manage the steam-hauled trains.
No. 18 participated in the National Railway Historical Society's 2002 convention in August along with No. 4960 and guest engine Santa Fe 3751. Highlights of the event included the three engines in a rare tripledheader and night photoshoots. Once the convention was over, the 3751 returned home, and the 18 and 4960 resumed regular service.
Throughout the early 2000s the Grand Canyon Railway passenger trains were becoming longer and exceeding the hauling capacity of No. 18. By January 2003, the 18 was removed from revenue service, and placed on static display in front of the Williams Depot. In 2007, the GCRY acquired Ex-Spokane Portland and Seattle 2-8-2 No. 539 from Brian Fleming with the hopes of restoring it to operation. In exchange, the Fleming received both the 18, and sister engine No. 20. The two consolidations were shipped on flatcars from Williams to Hood River, Oregon in June of that year. Shortly afterwards, the Grand Canyon Railway company was purchased by Xanterra Travel Collection at an undisclosed cost. Restoration of No. 539 never came to fruition.
Mount Hood RailroadEdit
In 2007, Fleming moved 18 and 20 to the Mount Hood Railroad, in Hood River, Oregon. On the tourist line, passengers get to have a good view Mount Hood. While the 20 was put on display still in GCRY livery, the Mount Hood Railroad 18 was once again back under steam, and ready to pull more tourist excursions between Hood River and Parkdale. Just one month after its return to steam, however, the 18's time on the MHRR was already cut short. The railroad ceased steam operations, because they, as many other American tourist railroads, just couldn't afford to keep steam locomotives operable or maintained.
Rio Grande Scenic RailroadEdit
In January 2008, the 18 and 20 were being shipped on flatcars from Hood River South-bound to Alamosa, Colorado, after being sold again to Iowa Pacific Holdings, who decided to operate the 18 on one of their subsidiaries, the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad, a tourist railroad that operated on San Luis and Rio Grande trackage. The 20 was sidelined, possibly as a spare parts provider for No. 18. On May 3, 2008, No. 18 was test fired and was deemed a success, and after that, the little consolidation would pull either excursion trains or revenue freight trains on the SL&RG, mostly during the summer months, from Alamosa, crossing the Sangre de Christo Mountains West-bound to the town of La Veta. The 18 would also sometimes handle trips from Alamosa South-bound to Antonito where passengers could connect with the narrow gauge Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad.
On the RGSR, the little consolidation would find, yet, another steam powered running mate; Southern Pacific 1901-built 2-6-0 'Mogul' No. 1744, a locomotive that also returned to steam in 2007, but was taken out of service after only four months, as firebox repairs needed to be done. While in operation, the 18 did be part of some occasional late or morning photoshoots either alone, or with the railroad's fp7 and f40ph diesel units. The 18 even occasionally operated during the freezing weather, just like how it often did so on the GCRY. In September 2012, the 18 travelled westbound to Walsenburg for a night photo session alongside Union Pacific 4-8-4 “Northern” 844, which was in the course of pulling “UP 150” at the time. On September 1, 2013, No. 18 was pulling tanker cars while masquerading as San Luis Central No. 1 to celebrate the centennial of San Luis Central Railroad.
As the 2010s progressed, however, the RGSR was starting to run into some financial trouble, and much like the MHRR, the Colorado scenic railroad could no longer afford to operate steam locomotives. The 18 made its last run on the SL&RG by pulling an excursion trip on September 21, 2013. After that, it was placed in storage inside the SL&RG locomotive shops. One of the final straws to the RGSR's struggle was a wildfire that badly damaged the Fir Concert Grounds. The railroad ceased all tourist train operations as they declared bankruptcy and shut down in late 2019, and the SL&RG began liquidating the unnecessary assets. The IPH would also go defunct after merging with the Grenada Railroad.
No. 18 would stored out of the weather inside the SL&RG's locomotive shops in Alamosa. Sister engine No. 20 was purchased by the City of Allen, Texas, and it was shipped to Allen to be put on static display, much like No. 19 in Frisco. In March 2021, No. 18 was purchased for a undisclosed amount by the Maguire Foundation, who has the intent of leasing the locomotive to the Colebrookdale Railroad, a former Reading Blue Mountain and Northern branch line that lied between Boyertown and Pottstown, Pennsylvania. On June 22, No. 18's boiler and frame were separated and were prepped along with its tender to be shipped by truck to Boyertown. On the evening of June 29, No. 18 arrived in Boyertown safely, and it touched Pennsylvania soil for the first time since it was built in Pittsburgh back in 1910. It was subsequently moved by EMD GP38-2 No. 5128 inside a newly built facility near Pottstown for an overhaul that began in the fall. The locomotive is expected to run again with no current planned return date.
- During the MM&SE's merger into the LS&I in 1923, the locomotive's original oil lamp was replaced with a golden glow headlight with a lightbulb.
- In 1930, No. 18 was heavily rebuilt with multiple changes to improve its performance.
- The boiler was raised by a few feet.
- The firebox was widened by a few square feet.
- New super heater cylinders with cylinder saddles replaced the original cylinders.
- The original Baker valve gear was replaced with Walschaerts valve gear.
- A Worthington feedwater heater system was mounted within the side of the smokebox.
- Thermic syphons were installed inside the firebox.
- Its Baker pilliod motions were replaced with Walschaerts motions.
- The smoke stack was shortened by a few inches.
- Its dome and bell swapped places.
- The locomotive also received another new headlight.
- Right before being moved to Laona in 1986, No. 18 had swapped tenders with sister locomotive No. 21, and they never swapped back. No. 18 would operate for the next several years with No. 21's tender, and No. 21 would be stored with No. 18's tender.
- Upon arrival of the GCRY in 1989, No. 18 was extensively modified for a cleaner appearance as a Western-based locomotive.
- The headlight was moved to the center with a square visor and a ticket-shaped number plate.
- The bell was moved to the top of the smokebox door with a hand-made bell ringer.
- Both tips of the grab iron on the smokebox door were extended outward by a few inches.
- The wood panels as part of the window panels in the cab were painted red.
- The roof of the cab was also painted red to slow down paint corrosion on the cab.
- A Santa Fe 6 chime whistle was installed to replace the original whistle.
- Silver cylinder caps were installed on the cylinders.
- The locomotive was converted to oil firing with an extended bunker on top of the tender, which had a ribbon painted on each side of it.
- Both axles beneath the tender were replaced.
- Within the second half of the 1990 operating season, No. 18's ticket-shaped number plate was replaced with another, and the two tender axles were again replaced for smoother running.
- In 1993, No. 18 was overhauled again.
- A Star Brass 5 chime whistle was installed.
- The swinging bell was replaced with a mechanical bell.
- The centered headlight's visor became more rounded on the front edges.
- The rear headlight on the tender was swapped out for a smaller ditch light mounted on the back end.
- The tender also received a firehose on top of the deck on the rear, so that the tender would be refilled while illuminating the need for a crew member to climb up top.
- The locomotive became the first to wear GCRY's 'standard' paint scheme for their steam locomotives.
- Upon arrival of the MHRR in 2007, No. 18 was repainted with a loose Great Western Railway of Colorado livery, the visor headlight on the tender was brought back, and the whistle was changed again to a Norfolk and Western hooter.
- Under SL&RG ownership, No. 18 was repainted again to Denver and Rio Grande Western colors, and the whistle was swapped again to a similar one the locomotive had worn on the GCR.
- In 2011, the cylinder caps were painted black, the ticket-shaped number plate was removed, and the locomotive's tender was painted brown with yellow stripes similar to the road's Ex-Illinois Central passenger car fleet.
- By 2012, No. 18 was repainted again to its original LS&I colors, with the exception of the black window panels in the cab, the centered headlight, the mechanical bell, and the "SLRG"(and later "Rio Grande Scenic") lettering on the tender.
In popular cultureEdit
No. 18 was the subject for Berkshire Productions' Climbing to the Canyon, hauling passenger trains along a snow-covered Grand Canyon Railway around the New Year season of 1990. Footage from this VHS program was subsequently featured in the I Love Toy Trains series as well as the Shining Time Station Christmas Special, Tis a Gift.
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