Alger-Sullivan Historical Society
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SCRAPPERS SAVE A STEAMER by Louis Zadnicheck, II
From A Sawmill Scrapbook, Volume Two
In 1976, three Railway & Locomotive Historical Society members restored No. 100, a 48-ton Baldwin 2-6-2 with slopeback tender, to operation as part of the Alabama Bicentennial, following a 13-month overhaul costing nearly $40,000. Louisville & Nashville Railroad engineer J.R. Phillips of Eight Mile, Alabama; scrap merchant Max Grice of Mobile; and Louis Zadnicheck, II, a scrap broker from Fairhope, purchased the wood-burning Rushton "cabbage stack" engine for junk in late 1974 from the Jim Walter Door Corp. of Century, Florida, and trucked it 95 miles to. Mobile.
No. 100 was built in September 1919, for the Florala Saw Mill Co., Florala, Ala. Four years later, it was sold to The Alger-Sullivan Lumber Co., Century, Fla., for use on its subsidiary common carrier Escambia Railway, abandoned in 1947. The Escambia Railway once operated a total of 197 miles of logging railroad in Florida and Alabama with an all-time roster of at least 29 locomotives. No. 100 was used as a general-purpose engine until 1935 when it was rebuilt for use as the sawmill's switch engine.
As the sawmill switch engine, No. 100 would occasionally operate over Louisville & Nashville tracks from Century to Flomaton, Ala. This practice continued up until its retirement in 1954, making it the last wood burning steam engine to run on "Old Reliable" tracks. From 1954 to 1957, the 2-6-2 was used as an auxiliary sawmill boiler and then placed on display on Front Street in Century. By late 1974, the No. 100 was in such poor condition from vandalism and weather deterioration that the Jim Walter Door Corp., new owners of the sawmill, decided to sell the eyesore for junk. Fortunately, the locomotive found a good home and was saved from the torch.
After the Bicentennial celebration in 1976, Old 100 was sold to the Whitewater Valley Railroad in Connersville, Indiana, a not-for-profit Railroad Museum, where until the early 1990s it faithfully hauled tourists on a daily roundtrip run. Mr. J.R. Phillips, who did the restoration work on #100, has a lifetime driving privilege of this historic and locally beloved engine. Mr. Phillips passed away a few years ago.
No.100's general dimensions are: 15 x 24-inch cylinders with balanced slide valves and Walschaerts valve motion. Drivers measure 44 inches, and the hauling capacity on a level grade is 1,825 tons. The engine is equipped with wood-burning grates, Rushton "cabbage head" stack, steel cab, Franklin butterfly steam-powered firebox doors, Manzel mechanical force-feed lubricator, manual Johnson bar and steam-jam brakes on both the engine and tender. The working steam pressure is 180 p.s.i., and top speed is 40 mph. It is fired with used railroad ties, pulpwood and coal. The 2-6-2 was restored as closely as possible to its appearance of the early 1950's, including the correct paint scheme. The only major mechanical alteration planned was the eventual installation of air brakes. No.100 was used as a standby switch engine on a private industrial railroad in Mobile, Ala. As the engine was designed with a low center of gravity for rough track, tight clearances and sharp curves, as well as to deliver high tractive effort for relatively little fuel and water consumed, the 2-6-2 was right at home in its new role. The engine was normally fired up once every two weeks.
This page last modified on Saturday, March 03, 2012