A historic Shay steam logging locomotive should arrive in White Pines sometime this month.
Volunteers laid a section of track for the old Yosemite Sugar Pine Railroad Co. engine that will be restored at the White Pines site. Officials at the Sierra Nevada Logging Museum hope to be able to run the locomotive over a short section of track near the museum nestled on a hillside near White Pines Lake.
The Friends of the Logging Museum purchased the locomotive from the Nevada Railroad Museum in Boulder City. It will be trucked to the White Pines track later this month, said Patrick Karnahan.
“We got really lucky and were able to buy a locomotive that was actually used in the Stanislaus National Forest,” Karnahan said. This historic Shay steam logging locomotive was built in 1920 and operated in the Stanislaus National Forest between 1920-1943. This steam engine weighs 164,100 pounds and was used to pull log trains from the woods to a large incline near El Portal. From the bottom of the incline the cars were shipped on the Yosemite Valley Railroad.
The Friends of the Logging Museum successfully raised enough money to finance the purchase of the Shay, then put out the word that help was needed to pay for moving the locomotive to California.
“In six weeks time, we raised enough to pay for the move and for railroad ties,” Karnahan said.
Pat Bradley, who along with her husband, Ron, has been a driving force behind the logging museum, said she was amazed at the generosity of the community.
“Donations came rolling in,” she said, “from $5 to $1,000. It was something.”
The 90-ton locomotive and tender will be loaded aboard two special trailers and trucked over the Tehachapi Mountains later this month. Karnahan said he hopes to be able to coat the No. 4 with new paint before the Logging Jamboree in September.
He said a tentative agreement has been reached with the federal government to lay a short loop so the locomotive can become part of a “living museum.” Karnahan envisions a camp constructed at the site that could be used for educational summer camps.
For now, he´s getting ready for the arrival of the logging locomotive. It will be placed on the 160-foot stretch of track laid last month and volunteers will restore it to its original luster, Karnahan said.
“We´ll keep raising money for the restoration,” Karnahan said. “It will be nice to have the No. 4 here so people can see we´re really working on it.”
For more information on the Friends of the Logging museum, visit: sierraloggingmuseum.org
Calaveras Enterprise story by Mike Taylor. For more Calaveras news, click:calaverasenterprise.com