Southeastern Railway Museum’s park train undergoes restoration

(Photo by Todd DeFeo/The DeFeo Groupe)

DULUTH, Ga. — The Southeastern Railway Museum has removed its 1957 vintage park train from service as its primary operating locomotive’s engine undergoes a complete engine overhaul.

The museum shipped the historic locomotive engine to Industrial Engine Rebuilders in St. Paul, Minnesota, for the project. It is expected to return to the museum in early to mid-October.

Miniature Train Company (MTC) built the museum’s park train sets in 1957. The locomotive is substantially original and one of less than 70 MTC units operating in the country.

“We knew this day was coming, and thankfully, discussions on what to do when that day arrived were already underway,” said Bill Bickley, a volunteer park train engineer overseeing the project. “We looked at options, including a diesel engine retrofit and rebuilding the existing Wisconsin engine. Both solutions had their pros and cons.

“While we know our guests will miss the park train while it is out of service, taking the time to rebuild the locomotive’s engine will allow it to operate for years to come,” Bickley added. “We look forward to returning an upgraded and improved park train to service soon.”

The museum placed its Park Train in service in 2012, and it operates alongside full-scale vintage equipment at the 35-acre museum in Duluth.

The park train initially ran at the Birmingham Zoo. The museum’s collection includes two locomotives and four passenger cars.

The zoo operated the trains until they were retired in 1976. The second locomotive is undergoing a complete rebuild at the museum’s machine shop.

For more information about museum hours, special events or how to donate toward the park train restoration, visit SoutheasternRailwayMuseum.org.

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