After 2 years of negotiations we have finished what appears to be a first in the area of Steam Preservation.
The PLA has long desired to return Sierra Ry 2-6-2 #30 back to steam in her tender configuration as she ran on the Angels Camp Branch of the Sierra. One of the impediments to that project is the extensive amount of boiler work needed on the #30’s boiler. The PLA did no have the funds available for such an extensive re-build as their funds are needed for more urgent projects underway at Niles Canyon.
We at Oregon Coast Scenic RR came up with an idea that would benefit both tourist lines and actually work to return 2 steam locomotives to operation. After much negotiations back and forth we just finished signing an agreement whereby OCSRR will in essence trade the necessary boiler work on Sierra #30’s boiler in exchange for ownership of PLA’s former Pickering Lumber Heisler #1.
This 85-ton 3-truck Heisler was built in 1913 for the Sunset Timber Company of Oregon and was later sold to Pickering Lumber at Standard, CA. She was retired by Pickering when the diesels arrived in the 1950’s and was ultimately sold to a man who moved the engine to Monterey, CA in hopes she would be re-assembled and run there. Nothing happened of the Monterrey operation and the Heisler was later donated to the PLA and moved to Fremont, CA where she is today.
Henry Luna of the PLA and I realized that through an exchange agreement we could succeed in returning 2 locomotives to operation. While there were many details to work out, we finely finished the agreement and got it signed.
Later this fall OCSRR will pick up the #30 boiler and Heisler #1 and shop them to their shop at Chehalis, WA to start the re-build process. Scott Wickert at OCSRR is currently working hard on the re-build of the Skookum for its owner Chris Baldo. That project will continue to move along as the work on the #30 boiler will start as well. Ad time permits, work will commence on Heisler #1 to return her to steam to Join the other Heislers owned by Scott Wickert.
I commend the foresight of these 2 tourist operators to make this agreement a reality and in the coming years we should see 2 steamers added to the ranks of West Coast operating steam locomotives.