Friday, 28 May 2010 00:00
The Oyster Bay Railroad Museum’s long held goal of restoring historic Steam Locomotive #35 moved closer to realization the week of May 17. After over 130,000 hours of dedicated effort on the part of volunteers from the OBRM Shop Committee, the professionals came to town.
Scott Lindsay, president of Steam Operations Corp. of Mussel Shoals, Alabama and his team of Ronnie Jones and Keith Muldowney spent four-days performing a technical assessment of the locomotive’s running gear and tender (for the uninitiated, the tender trails directly behind the locomotive and carries coal and water.) Mr. Lindsay’s company is the country’s foremost restorer/rebuilder of vintage steam locomotives.
Bill Bell, OBRM director of development said, “We will be soliciting grants, corporate support, and most importantly reaching out to the public to assist in our efforts to bring this historically significant piece of Long Island history back to life. An operating steam locomotive, and a functioning museum at the old Oyster Bay station will bring families, tourists, businesses, students, and a new sense of excitement to the hamlet. It will be a major step toward the goal of the development of Oyster Bay into a tourist destination.”
Locomotive #35 was built by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1928 and served the LIRR until her retirement in 1955. Time, weather, and the wear and tear and the nearly 30 years of service will be the focus of Steam Operations’ expert analysis. The Museum contracted and paid for the assessment. OBRM has received a $524,000 grant from the Nassau County Environmental Bond Act. A total restoration, including the boiler, will cost approximately $1.5 million. William Withuhn, curator emeritus, Technology & Transportation, Smithsonian Institution and OBRM advisory board member, will serve as an expert advisor throughout the restoration process.