Steam Engine Restoration

Rebirth of the ALCO 0-6-0
Steam Locomotive No. 9

Locomotive #9 was built by the American Locomotive Company (ALCO) in Schenectady, NY, for the United States Army as #4023. Completed in October, 1942, she went to work moving military freight at Fort Dix, New Jersey. Later in her military career, #4023 was renumber #616 and was transferred to the Army’s Ft. Eustis, VA base. By 1958, the Army was retiring some of its steam locomotives and #616 was part of this group. #616 and two of her sisters were sold to the Virginia Blue Ridge Railway (VBR) based in Piney River, VA. The locomotive number was changed to #9 and has been that way ever since. Used in freight service until 1964, the VBR eventually purchased two diesel engines and #9 was once again out of a job.

New work was found for the engine when Steam Trains, Inc. purchased her for tourist service on the New Hope & Ivyland Railroad (NH&I) in Pennsylvania. The engine ran briefly in late 1966 and in 1969, backing up 4-6-0 #1533, but was out of service by early 1970. Sitting on a side track as a display, #9 would not run again until 1976. From 1976 to 1981, #9 was mostly used as a backup to NH&I’s regular engine at the time, 2-8-0 #40. In the mid 1990’s, NH&I put #9 up for sale. Sitting for several more years in New Hope, it caught the eye of SMS Rail Lines President Jeff Sutch. Jeff, and several other SMS Rail Lines employees had spent time on the NH&I and some particularly on #9. In 2009, SMS Rail Lines purchased #9 and moved her to the SMS Locomotive Shop in Bridgeport, NJ with the intent of restoring her back to operation. The engine faces another new life doing what she was built to do; hauling freight! Restoration began almost immediately and progresses as time and money permit.

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