Thursday, October 11, 2007

Sumter & Choctaw 2-6-2 103

Built by Baldwin (#58754) in November 1925. A light short-line/logging locomotive which saw service in Alabama, the 103 has always carried the same number. She was sold new to the Sumter & Choctaw Railway in western Alabama. At the time, the Sumter & Choctaw was under the control of the Allison Lumber Company. The 103 was built with a deep firebox designed to burn either wood or coal. In 1961 the Empire State Railway Museum purchased her for service at their Middletown, NY operation, and she arrived there in March 1962. The ESRM operated over the Middletown & New Jersey Railroad on weekends during summers from 1962 until 1966 whereafter the 103 was stored for several years. In 1971, it and much of the other ESRM equipment was run in a “hospital train” to the Valley Railroad in Essex, and the 103 and two of the cars comprised 75 percent of the Valley’s first train on July 29, 1971. She ran for the remainder of the 1971 season and also during the 1972 season. By that time she was struggling with the longer trains on the Valley and the larger locomotive 97 had returned to service. The sepia-toned photo at left shows how she looked while on the Valley Railroad. 103 last ran in 1975 and has since been stored unserviceable, on display at Essex. 103 was transferred to RMNE ownership in 1987.

In June 2009, the locomotive was moved by truck to the Naugatuck Railroad, where it will be cosmetically restored and put on display. Read all about the move here.