Shay locomotive on track for departure
by Duane Williams, KLCB-KTNY Radio
December 20, 2011
The Heritage Museum antique Shay steam locomotive will take short trip Dec. 22 at 2:30 pm.
It has been more than 35 years since Shay Locomotive 1643 was placed in front of Libby's Heritage Museum. It has never moved, but the old J. Neils Lumber Co. loco is finally back on track and scheduled for departure.
The trip won't be long - just over 100 yards - but a crew of museum volunteers has been working it out since early summer. 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.
Volunteers have moved the Shay about half-way from its old location to a point essentially in the center of the museum's parking lot. The final step will be around a curve, then straight into its new temporary home.
Initial renovation of the loco will be paid for through a $5,000 grant from the National Railway Historical Society. The grant won't be enough to completely restore the engine, and the museum is seeking further financial assistance, including cash donations.
The plan is to restore the engine and run a short excursion route. Steam operation will depend on the results of the ultrasound test on the boiler. Regardless of the outcome of the tests, the locomotive will be running on compressed air in 2012.
By Duane Williams, KLCB-KTNY Radio, www.todaysbestcountryonline.com e-mail: email@example.com.