Alone, unloved and unwanted. Gen. Douglas MacArthur once said that "Old soldiers never die, they just fade away." That pretty well describes what's happening with this old gal. You are looking at White Pass Locomotive #195, formerly USA 195 of the United States Army. This 2-8-2 Mikado was one of 11 Class S118, narrow gauge engines that was built by Baldwin for the US Army and shipped off for duty on the White Pass & Yukon during World War II. Ironically, these engines were called "MacArthurs". Her career was a short one. She entered service in 1943 and helped transport men and equipment to build the Alaska Highway as part of the war effort. When the war was over, she was sold to the White Pass, but was rather quickly retired in 1948. She languished in the WPY yards for years until being donated to the City of Skagway in 1962.
History books and websites will tell you that this engine is "on display" in Skagway but for those of us who've stopped by the City Hall and taken the walk out back behind a stand of trees to see this gal...well, "display" is probably not the right word. She is unrestored, unmaintained and missing a fair number of parts. She sits on an unused siding off the WPY main, with some small trees growing up between the ties. Ask the White Pass folks about the future of this engine and they'll refer you to the City of Skagway. Of course, the small city of about 700 permanent residents has priorities that don't include an old steam engine. It's a shame really. Here's an engine that worked all of 5 years. Although this class of locomotive may not have been a stellar performer on the steep grades at White Pass, two of her sisters have found work at places like the Tweetsie Railroad in NC, and the Dollywood Park in TN. Neither one of those operations could be described as flat. Unfortunately, any potential user would have to put her on a boat to get her to the lower 48.
So for now, nature is slowly reclaiming this old soldier. If you're ever in Skagway, stop by and pay her a visit. She welcomes the company.