Upon a recent trip to The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, rail fan Martin Hansen, struck up a conversation with the steam engine crew.
Out of the blue, the engineer asked Hansen if he had anything to do with the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad [OCSR].
“I said, ‘Yes, I do work on projects for OCSR,’” Hansen said. “I asked him why he asked. He replied, ‘Boy, those guys are really doing some amazing things on that railroad. We all follow them and the projects they work on. We are really impressed with all the track they have back in operation and how well they treat the public and how widely known they have become.’”
The engineer then asked about the Mallet, also known as Skookum #7.
“It’s amazing that they have actually been able to get that engine finally ready to steam,” the engineer said. “None of us thought that was possible when they started, but with everything else that OCSR has done, we should not have been surprised that they are pulling this one off.”
A Mallet is a unique type of articulating locomotive, which describes the ability of the two “trucks” that contain the drivers (drive wheels) to actually turn underneath the boiler. This set up makes it easier for the locomotive to run on tracks with tight curves. This was a characteristic of logging railroads in the early 20th Century.
Skookum was the very first Mallet built by Baldwin Locomotive Works specifically for a logging railroad, which makes it even more unique.
“We can’t wait to see it run,” the engineer told Hansen. “Tell those guys from us we are amazed what they are doing out there.”
“I wanted to pass this on to all of you who work so hard to make OCSR what it has become,” Hansen said. “Out of all the Western steam railroads for him to ask about it was amazing all he wanted to learn more about was OCSR. For you to be so well known and respected from folks like this…is quite a compliment to you all.