BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Work is underway to restore a piece of Maine's locomotive past. Organizers say they'll need help from the public to pull it off.
Richard Glueck with New England Steam Corporation is helping head up the effort for Maine Central locomotive #470.
Designed to pull "The Bar Harbor Express" between Boston and Bangor in 1924, #470 hauled the final steam powered train on the old Maine Central, on June 13th, 1954, then spent the following 62 years as a neglected park display. New England Steam Corporation has purchase and moved it to Washington Junction Yard, today maintained by the Downeast Scenic Railroad, where heavy restoration of the iconic locomotive is underway. The tender frame, trucks and brake gear remain solid and serviceable. The body which tends the locomotive with water and fuel must be replaced in order to operate a restored steam locomotive.
New England Steam is attempting to raise $100,000 to rebuild the tender frame and trucks and replace the damaged tender body with a historically accurate copy. The Cianbro Company of Pittsfield has been chosen to undertake the construction. Parts of the original tender, items like the stoker motor, doors, grab irons and steps, will be incorporated into the rebuilt tender. The original tender body will be used as a template from which drawings will be made and new steel will be cut.
The new tender body will be constructed entirely in Maine, by Maine workers. This is about Mainers helping Mainers, to preserve something for the future. Not only will it provide educational benefits, but also it will be a powerful asset to the state's economy.
Individuals wishing to donate to the tender fund may do so by mailing donations to New England Steam Corp., P.O. Box 302, Winterport, Maine 04496. New England Steam can also be found on Facebook and www.newenglandsteam.org.