Steam Locomotives

Number 3028
4-8-4  "Niagaras"

Built in August 1946 by the American Locomotive Company in Schenectady, New York - No. 30028 is the last operating survivor of 32 modern, Type 4-8-4, Steam Locomotives outshopped that year by Alco and The Baldwin Locomotive Works, for Nacionales de Mexico (the Mexican National Railroad). Designated by the N. de M as Class QR-1 and given road numbers 3025 through 3056, these nimble and graceful engines were the finest match between a locomotive design and the environment of its railroad that was ever achieved during the steam era.

Thoroughly modern in appearance and in specifications, these 32 engines brought a welcomed increase to the roster of the hard working N. de M. Their design included a wisely balanced compromise of features that was absolutely essential for the widely diversified areas where they ran. Although built to the giant 4-8-4 wheel configuration that had evolved at the pinnacle of the steam age, these engines were designed to be lighter and more flexible than most of their counterparts made for the U.S. and other level areas - yet they were low enough to give substantial bite on the ruling grades and sharp curves found in the rugged Mexican mountains.

Most locomotives of the 4-8-4 wheel configuration were known as "Northerns", however, these N. de M. engines were called "Niagaras", after their prototypes, the mammoth post war New York central 4-8-4s. In retrospect, they deserved a name of their own, for few locomotives ever fitted their home railroad better than these did.

For over 20 years these "Niagaras" served throughout Mexico, handling heavy international freight and passenger movements between Mexico City and Nuevo Lareo as well as regular runs to Guadalajara and Aguascalientes through the difficult high altitude mountain country. This locomotive design, modern and sleek, yet sizable and rugged, gave the N. de M. the broadest possible usage over the limitations of the light rail and mountain curves making up much of its right of way.

In 1966, after 20 years of service on the N de M., Engine 3028 was acquired by the Great North Eastern Railroad Foundation and returned to its "birthplace" of Schenectady, New York. It was the intention of the Foundation to restore this locomotive to operation and display it as an example of the ultimate in design and construction of the great American Locomotive Company. For almost 30 years, the Foundation carefully preserved and stored the engine, out of the weather, in the former Delaware & Hudson shops at Colonie, New York.

In November 1994, the Great North Eastern Railroad Foundation entered into a long term rental agreement with the New Hope and Ivyland Rail Road, which allowed Locomotive 3028 to be moved from Colonie, New York to the New Hope and Ivyland Rail Road at New Hope, Pennsylvania. The agreement calls for Locomotive 3028 to be restored to full operating condition at the New Hope shop. It will then be placed into regular operating service on the New Hope and Ivyland Rail Road, joining "Old Number 40", a 1925 Baldwin, type 2-8-0 Steam Locomotive which has been providing most of the motive power on the Railroad. Together they will operate an extensive year-round schedule consisting of Regular Passenger Excursions, Elegant Dining Excursions and Special Charter Trains from the terminals at New Hope & Ivyland to and from the many rustic rural village stations stretching across Bucks county, Pennsylvania.

Historic Information from:
Main Line Mexico
by: Harold A. Edmonson


Number 9
0-6-0  "Switcher"

This coal-fired locomotive was built by the American Locomotive Company (#70402) in October 1942 for the United States Army. Built at Schenectady, NY as the 4023, very little is known about the locomotive's early years other than it served in naval supply service for a brief period during the 1940s and 1950s.

In 1952 the locomotive was transferred to the United States Transportation Corps training facility at Fort Eustis, Virginia where it was renumbered 616. Retirement of aging motive power led the Virginia Blue Ridge Railway in Central Virginia to purchase the 616 on August 15, 1958, which it renumbered as their 9. It and three other government-design
0-6-0s shared freight duties well into the 1960s.

The 9 entered passenger service during the Bicentennial summer and ran in this capacity until its flue time expired in 1981. After a decade as a display, the locomotive received an extensive overhaul in 1993, including major firebox and boiler repairs.


Number 40
2-8-0  "Consolidation"

This coal-fired locomotive was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works (#58824) of Philadelphia, PA. in December 1925 and sold new to the Lancaster and Chester Railway Co., of Lancaster, South Carolina at a price of $25,125.96.

Dubbed as "The Springfield Line" for the textiles made by the cotton mills the railroad served, the Lancaster & Chester Railway used the utilitarian 40 primarily as a freight engine. The 40 apparently became surplus motive power for the L&C after World War II, leading to the locomotive's sale in 1947 to the neighboring Cliffside Railroad Co. in North Carolina.

On the Cliffside-also a prosperous textile carrier-the 40 shared the responsibilities Vulcan-built 2-6-2 No. 110. Interestingly, the 40 was regulated to secondary service, as Cliffside crews preferred using the considerably smaller 110. When the railroad took delivery of a second-hand 35 ton diesel electric in early 1962, the last steam run was made for company officials and special guests using the 110 on July 20 of that year.

In 1962 the 40 was retubed in anticipation of future use, however, this never transpired due to the sudden diesel purchase. Instead, Steam Trains, Inc. from Pennsylvania purchased the locomotive for $5,000 and shipped it north with spare parts for storage at the Reading's Beech Street roundhouse in Wilmington, Delaware and later at the Reading's St. Clair shops. In 1966, much of other Steam Trains equipment was assembled in a transfer move to New Hope, PA., with the 40 dead-in-tow.

Although it was in operating condition, the 40 only saw service on the New Hope and Ivyland during the 1967 season. It underwent a major rebuilding in 1974, and replaced 4-6-0 No. 1533 in NHIR passenger service beginning in 1975. While the 40 operated periodically during the late 1970s, it frequently pulled New Hope Steam Railway passenger trains from 1981 to 1986. During the latter period, the locomotive was decorated as a circus freak, wearing flashy florescent colors and garish tender heralds. Last steamed during the 1986 season, the 40 was stored unserviceable for the next couple of years.

Because the future of the railroad seemed questionable at that time, the NHSR was reluctant to make the necessary repairs to repair the 40 for service. When the Bucks County Railroad Preservation and Restoration Corporation purchased the railroad in 1990 they engaged their own mechanical forces and those of the Strasburg Rail Road in extensively rebuilding the 40, which was completed in June 1991. Now in excellent mechanical condition, the 40 has been returned to a more original appearance and currently serves the New Hope and Ivyland as its only operating steam locomotive.


Number 1533
4-6-0  "Ten-Wheeler"

This coal-fired locomotive was built by Montreal Locomotive Works (#49878) in June 1911 as class H-6d. The 1533 is the only steam locomotive on the New Hope and Ivyland designed for passenger service. Originally constructed as Canadian Northern 264 it was renumbered the following year as 1325. When the Canadian Northern merged with the government-controlled Canadian National Railways, it retained its second number but its tender was appropriately relettered for the latter road.

Equipped with 63-inch drivers the 1325 earned its keep by operating both passenger and freight trains. It was renumbered for a third time in 1956 as the 1533. As late as 1958 the 1533 was pulling two-car passenger locals throughout Ontario. Purchased in 1962 by Steam Trains, Inc., the locomotive was stored in Wilmington, Delaware with 2-8-0 40 and moved a year or two later to the Reading's St. Clair shops for overhaul.

Completely rebuilt by RDG and NHIR mechanics, the 1533 led the 40 and a seven-car train under steam on July 2, 1966, during a 110-mile transfer run to New Hope, PA. The distinctive 1533 spent the last eight years as the workhorse of the NHIR hauling freight, passenger and mixed trains under very demanding circumstances.

Struggling with mechanical problems, the 1533 went out of service in December 1975. Later its boiler and frame were disconnected from the drivers and placed atop cribbing, with plans for immediate repairs. This was not to be, funds withered and parts quickly disappeared. Currently disconnected from its tender, the 1533 is stored unserviceable behind the New Hope shop, albeit back on its drivers, in need of substantial repair work.

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