Columbia River Belt Line Railway's newly aquired 2-4-4-2 "Skookum"
A photo from my collection dated 10/18/18, features the crew of the Columbia River Belt Line Railway posed proudly at Blind Slough, Oregon, along side their newly acquired 1909 Baldwin built locomotive.
This 2-4-4-2 articulated, compound Mallet logging locomotive was the very first of its kind. It was built to better negotiate the uneven (and often temporary) trackwork that characterized such operations. Taking the opportunity to promote itself, Baldwin, a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania based company, proudly draped its banner over the boiler once delivered to the Oregon logging railroad. Though it was the first of its kind, CRBLR was actually its second owner. The Mallet was actually intended for the Little River Lumber Company in Townsend, TN as their No.126. Weighing over 162,000 pounds, which, though far lighter than any Mallet Baldwin had previously built for a domestic railroad, it was 42,000 Lbs heavier than specified. As a consequence, it was too heavy for that railroad and returned to Baldwin just a month after delivery. Baldwin later went on to sell the locomotive to the Whitney Company where she was put to work on its less restrictive Columbia River Belt Line Railway. The CRBLR typically named their locomotives rather than number them, and this locomotive received the name "Skookum", a Chinook term, meaning "strong" or "well made." Never the less, the added mechanical complexity was found to be of dubious value, a fact that was reflected in their limited production and use, with Baldwin producing only 4 additional locomotives of the same wheel arrangement.
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 with hopes of restoration. The Mallet 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 moved it to the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad, where it was finally restored to operation in 2018.
In actuality, this was a celebratory event marking the first public debut of the "Skookum" under steam which occurred during a Lerro Productions charter, 10/18/18 - 2018, that is!