"Skookum" After years of restoration effort in the shops of the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad, the completed Columbia River Belt Line Locomotive #7 "Skookum" sees the light of day for the first time in the yard at Garibaldi, OR. An original Baldwin delivery banner, donated by a member of the crew adorns her boiler jacket, as would likely have been the case when she was delivered new.
Built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1909 as their builder's number 33463, this unusual 2-4-4-2 articulated, compound Mallet was intended for the Little River Railroad in Townsend, TN as their number 126. Unfortunately, that railroad quickly determined that she was too long for the tight curves on their line and she was returned to Baldwin. In 1910, Baldwin managed to resell her to the Columbia River Belt Line Railway in Blind Slough, OR, where she was put to work as a logging engine. That railroad typically named their locomotives rather than number them, and this engine received the name "Skookum", which is apparently a Chinook term, meaning large, powerful or impressive. She served the Columbia River Belt Line from 1910 through 1920, before being sold to the Carlisle-Pennell Lumber Company, where she acquired the number 7. After a four-year stint there, she served 4 other railroads, including the Deep River Logging Company, where her long career came to a sudden end in 1955, when she rolled over with a string of empty log bunks. Since that line was in the process of shutting down, no attempt was made to recover her and she was left in place.
In 1956, she was acquired by a man named Charles Morrow, who removed her from her wreck site in pieces....and she's spent the next 60 years in pieces, owned by several individuals and moved several different places. In 2005, she was acquired by Chris Baldo, who had her moved to the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad, with the goal of restoring her. It's been a long road. Some pieces had been damaged when she was removed from the wreck site, and some pieces had been lost. Over the past 13 years, a restoration team has slowly and methodically restored her major components and re-assembled her into the condition you see here. She appeared in public for the first time at a Lerro Productions Charter in October of 2018, but alas, she was unable to perform for the photographers, because she still has some technical issues, including valve timing, which must be tweaked and adjusted. She's a complex locomotive, and there's still some work to do. But the heavy lifting has been done, and after 60 years in pieces, one of the most unique steam locomotive survivors will shortly be gracing the rails in the Pacific Northwest, where she made her living during the first half of the last century.