A snag in paperwork delayed the arrival of the Sierra Logging Museum´s historic Shay locomotive Thursday afternoon.
The 1920´s-era 90-ton vintage Shay logging locomotive has been tied down to the back of a huge flat bed semi-truck trailer and traveling this past week — by truck — from the Nevada State Railroad museum near Las Vegas, Nevada, trucked over the Tehachapi Mountains to White Pines Lake and it´s new home at the Sierra Logging Museum.
Patrick Karnahan spearheaded the efforts to purchase the locomotive and get it back to it´s home turf. A successful fund raising campaign generated the $15,000 needed to transport the piece of local logging history.
Yosemite Sugar Pine Railroad logging locomotive was built in 1920 and operated in the Stanislaus National Forest between 1920-1943 — to pull log trains from the woods to a large incline near El Portal near Yosemite National Park.
As the truck and locomotive rolled along Highway 49 in Angels Camp, the California Highway Patrol stopped the progress of the convoy and conducted inspections on the big rig. Meanwhile, a discrepancy in permit with Calaveras County to transport the locomotive over a short section of county roads, between Highway and the museum, delayed the progress.
Karnahan has been traveling this week with the locomotive. “We´re going to try and get her hauled out here and get it to the museum,” Karnahan said. “I hope we´ll have time today before it gets dark to actually unload the steam engine.”
Museum members, volunteers and steam loco enthusiasts had been camped out at the White Pines museum all day waiting for the engine to show up. The loco´s water tender arrived in the morning and was already sitting on a short section of track on museum grounds.
Once the permits were in place, the locomotive made it´s way through downtown Angels Camp, up Highway 4 and finally to Arnold.
Karnahan was optimistic their prized possession would be ready for visitors Friday. “Yeah, it should be on display tomorrow (Friday) if everybody wants to come up and see what the Yosemite Lumber Company Number 4 looks like.”
Karnahan, who also works for the Oakdale-based Sierra Northern Railroad says restoration work on No. 4 should begin in a few weeks. Plans are to have the steam engine fully operational and running on track around the museum in the future.
He and other museum members hope the locomotive will be a draw for the new logging museum. The recently completed structure – that overlooks White Pines Lake – is still awaiting some hardwood flooring before exhibits can be placed inside and the facility open to the public.