Grapevine Vintage Railroad – Part 2

Posted by on Aug 29, 2012 in Blog, Newsletter | 7 comments

1920 2-4-4 built by Vulcan Iron Works in Wilkes-Barre PA, Grapevine Vintage Railroad, Grapevine, Texas

1920 2-4-4 built by Vulcan Iron Works, Grapevine Vintage Railroad, Grapevine

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Grapevine Vintage Railroad – Part 2

In the last post we visited the Grapevine Vintage Railroad, looking specifically at Vinny, the 1953 GP-7 diesel locomotive.  This preserved railroad also operates a 1896 steam locomotive, Puffy.

The GVRR ran its iconic engine on a weekly basis before it suffered major damage to the cylinder walls. The cylinder damage was repaired in 2010. Puffy was on its final test run to Fort Worth on October 31st when the piston broke, resulting in damage to the cylinder and the rod.  Up until 2010, Puffy was the oldest continuously operating steam engine in the South.

At the time of my visit, Puffy was still in the repair shed with both cylinders covered in heavy plastic sheeting, presumably still undergoing repair.  This, obviously, limited the images which were possible of this iconic engine.  However, this does not mean that there were not other great subjects to capture.

The first image is of a 1920 2-4-4 built by Vulcan Iron Works in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.  This engine was first put into service at the Stine Coal Mining Co. in Osceola Mills, PA.  It passed through a number of mining related companies until in 1972 it was purchased by Opryland and given the name “Rachel”.  In 2004, Gaylord Entertainment, the owners of Opryland donated this locomotive to the GVRR.  The original plan was for the GVRR to have a train run from downtown Grapevine to the new Gaylord Resort and Convention Center, although nothing appears to have come of this.

Southern Pacific Class MK-5 No 771, Static display, Grapevine Vintage Railroad, Grapevine, Texas

Southern Pacific Class MK-5 No 771, Grapevine Vintage Railroad, Grapevine

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The second image is a close-up of the running gear of another static display.  This is Southern Pacific 2-8-2 No. 771.  This engine was built during April and May 1913 by the Baldwin Company for SP subsidiary Texas & New Orleans.  After retirement in the mid-1950s, this engine was donated to the city of Victoria.  In 2001, the city of Victoria was contacted by the city of Grapevine  which wanted to acquire this locomotive as support for Puffy, which even then was suffering its share of mechanical problems.

The city of Victoria finally agreed to sell No. 771 to Grapevine in 2003, but local opposition ran high and the offer was withdrawn. The city council eventually agreed to give a local group time to raise funds for a community restoration effort. ROAR (Rescue Old 771 and Restore) was formed to move and cosmetically refurbish the 2-8-2, but despite raising $16,000 they were not able to move the engine to a new location by the May 31 deadline. In early June the group voted to abandon its efforts.  The locomotive was then sold to the GVRR.

No. 771 is currently a static exhibit at the GVRR as restoration to operating condition is estimated to cost in the neighborhood of $300,000.

7 Comments

  1. Terrific post Mark. Love that locomotive. There can’t be many of those left these days.
    Len Saltiel recently posted..Basin FlowMy Profile

  2. Good Lord, sir, I just love this! I am totally drawn to old machinery like this, especially the steam units. There is just something so romantic about them! You’ve done a wonderful job with these shots, Mark, it was a real highlight of my day to pop by and see these.
    Toad Hollow Photography recently posted..A Day In The Life Of Craigflower ManorMy Profile

  3. Great shots here, Mark. Love that B&W image focusing on the power of the locomotive. Old trains are always a winner in my book.
    Jimi Jones recently posted..The Lone GullMy Profile

  4. Wonderful shots mark. I really like the way you’ve processed the B&W image. Suits the image perfectly.
    Edith Levy recently posted..Ocean ViewMy Profile

  5. nicely done Mark, great shot of a great train!
    Jim Nix recently posted..The entry to the Inn and Spa at LorettoMy Profile

  6. Really love the black and white one! Very sharp and well processed! Nice color in the first one too.
    Terence recently posted..Makena Beach Over Look Molokini IslandMy Profile

  7. I do believe “Puffy” had a twin in Nashville, TN at the former Opryland USA theme park that was marked with the number 4. I do ponder what became of that old engine and wish my son could join me for a ride on it again. Happy childhood memories!

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