Antique Steam Locomotive to take short trip on Dec. 22
Shay 1643 move for restoration
by Heritage Museum
December 19, 2011
Itís been more than 35 years since Shay Locomotive 1643 was placed on its perch in front of Libbyís Heritage Museum. Itís never moved, but the old J. Neils Lumber Co. engine is finally back on track and scheduled for departure.
The trip wonít be long Ė just over 100 yards Ė but a crew of museum volunteers has been working it out since early summer. Ron Carter of Libby and Dave Etienne of Troy, with the help of other volunteers, have gathered materials, arranged for help from Lincoln County, the city of Libby and numerous private businesses and laid track across the museum grounds. The destination is the Shay Shed, the original engine house, where the engine and its tender can be renovated.
Carter and Etienne, with the help of Lee Disney as equipment operator and other museum volunteers, have moved the Shay about half-way from its old location to a point essentially in the center of the museumís parking lot. The final step will be to tow it around a curve, then straight into its new temporary home.
Plans are to secure the building, then begin work on the engine. Initial renovation will be paid for through a $5,000 grant from the National Railway Historical Society. The grant wonít be enough to completely restore the engine, however, and the museum is seeking further financial assistance, including cash donations.
Many volunteers have come forward, and we are especially interested in hearing from people with railroad experience. The Museum wishes to thank Ken Beckstrom, 'Lazy Lloyd' Holcolm, Don Cox, Jim Brooks, Don Smart, Don Ellwood, Earl Stevens, Sheila Etienne, August Hardgrove, Clarence Johnson, Don Shea, Tony Berget, Jim Hammons, Mike Powers, Corky Teska and Mark McCully for their help on this project.
Ron and Dave hope to restore the engine and run a short excursion route; however, steam operation will depend on the results of the ultrasound test on the boiler. Regardless of the outcome of these tests, we will be running the locomotive on compressed air in 2012.
What: Shay 1643 move
Date: December 22
Time: 2:30 pm
Where: 34607 US Highway 2 (about a mile south of downtown Libby.)
Contact: Ron Carter, 406-283-1830