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Florida East Coast engine to steam again NEWSWIRE

By Scott A. Hartley | November 2, 2016

One-time owner vows to return locomotive 'to its former glory'

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Florida East Coast No. 148 heads east on a Union Pacific train near Commerce City, Colo., on Oct. 18.
Chip Sherman
Florida East Coast Pacific-type 4-6-2 No. 147 is a sister locomotive to No. 148 shown in this undated photograph. Workers at ALCO Richmond, in Richmond, Va., built both locomotives for passenger service.
C.W. Witbeck
MIAMI — Sweet redemption is coming soon for unpainted, disassembled, 97-year-old, Florida East Coast 4-6-2 No. 148 thanks to one-time owner U.S. Sugar Corp. The company bought the engine and will return it to operating condition in Florida after a decades-long retirement.

“Number 148 is a piece of our history, and we wanted to bring it home,” says Judy Sanchez, senior director of corporate communications and public affairs for U.S. Sugar. “We intend to restore number 148 to its former glory.”

Sanchez says that the restoration will take at least a year. The project will be done at U.S. Sugar’s Clewiston, Fla., locomotive shop using the company’s own skilled
workforce as well as contractors.

Asked about the company’s plans for operations, Sanchez responded, “We will look at a number of opportunities including those open to the public.”

U.S. Sugar and its South Central Florida Express common carrier railroad operate a total of 236 route miles, some leased from Florida East Coast. That relationship makes it possible that a genuine FEC passenger steam locomotive will once again run on home rails.

ALCO Richmond built the Pacific-type locomotive in 1920. After it spent more than three decades on Florida East Coast, the engine was purchased by the sugar company in 1952. It then worked largely in obscurity, hauling cars loaded with sugar cane from the fields to a mill at Clewiston.

It was an excursion locomotive in the 1970s and saw service in New Jersey before moving on to successive owners in Connecticut, Michigan, and Colorado.

16 thoughts on “Florida East Coast engine to steam again NEWSWIRE

  1. This is great news. Maybe they could even see if the FEC would let them run it on home rails again. I’d love to get a chance to fire her. I used to run and fire the 153 and 113 at the Gold Coast RR museum. When USSC used her they had the firing valve hooked to the engineer’s side so the engineer could fire her as well as run it.

  2. I remember 148 well from its New Jersey tourist train years during the 1970s. It ran on the Morristown & Erie as the “Whippany Toonerville”. A handsome locomotive. I’m glad it has a good future.

  3. stunning announcement. How many operable steam locomotives in the US will this make? Dream no small dreams.

  4. Great news. I live up in Wisconsin, wish I could have seen more FEC stuff in its days. Went to Key West a few years ago along the highway. What an awesome history. Can’t wait!

  5. When the Miami Central terminal of All Aboard Florida opens, I hope this engine will be spotted next to one of Brightline’s Siemens trainsets. If not this then one other suitable FEC steamer.

  6. What a wonderful commitment by this company to historic preservation and to honor past and present employees. I wonder if they would consider reproducing the streamlining done to one of the sister engines of this class after FEC sold the engine to the Atlanta Birmingham and Coast Railroad where it was used to haul the Dixie Flagler between Atlanta and Jacksonville in the 1940s. It was a sharp looking locomotive.

  7. It did not “see service in Connecticut”, it was stored in Connecticut and changed hands at least one while there. 148 operated on a semi-regular basis in New Jersey and Pennsylvania between 1970 and 1979, both in scheduled tourist services and a couple of mainline trips on CNJ and LV just before Conrail.

  8. “Restoration will take at least a year”. That may be quite an understatement considering how long it has been since it last ran.

  9. This loco will be restored. The C.S. Mott Childrens Foundation in Flint, Mi. and the employees jointly own US Sugar. This is not a bunch of railfans begging for handouts. The Mott foundation follows through on their commitments. Unless it is just too far gone, it will steam again. FYI, C.S. Mott was part of the creation of General Motors a hundred years ago and bought all the sugar fields/companies that were going out of business back in the depression era. US Sugar is also the largest bottler of private label orange juice in the US IIRC.

  10. Had the pleasure of working with this engine when she ran on the Morristown & Erie in 1976 and 1977. She was a beautiful machine. Glad to she she’s going to be restored.

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