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Rail News Home Mechanical

7/5/2012



Rail News: Mechanical

Foundation's matching grant supports nonprofit's attempt to rehab steam locomotive in Alaska


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The Rasmuson Foundation will provide a $350,000 matching grant to support the mission of Engine 557 Restoration Co., a newly formed nonprofit organization charged with rehabilitating a historic steam locomotive for eventual return to service at the Alaska Railroad Corp. (ARRC).

In January, Steam Engine No. 557 was returned to Alaska, where it last operated along ARRC track 50 years ago, railroad officials said in a prepared statement. Sold to a scrap dealer in Washington in the 1960s, the engine recently was purchased by Jim and Vic Jansen of transportation and logistics company Lynden Transport. In turn, they donated the locomotive to ARRC with the request that it be restored and used to provide passenger-rail service.

The locomotive’s restoration is anticipated to cost $600,000 to $700,000, with major expenses including initial tooling, asbestos removal and abatement, galvanized steel cladding, new insulation, boiler and tubing replacement and repair, gear inspection and repair, painting and positive train control electronics.

Project supporters recently turned to the Alaska Community Foundation, which agreed to establish and administer a new fund to accept donations. The Rasmuson Foundation’s grant program was the first substantial fundraising effort.

“By providing a dollar-for-dollar match to fundraising efforts, this generous grant will accelerate the rehabilitation and give the project team the base they need to reach out to Alaskans and railroad fans everywhere to garner their support,” ARRC President and Chief Executive Officer Chris Aadnesen said.


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