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Cab roof acquisition allows PA restoration project to move forward

By | August 27, 2021

Section of scrapped FPA4 solves problem that had slowed project

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Section of diesel locomotive rook on ground next to engine being rebuilt
Section of diesel locomotive rook on ground next to engine being rebuilt
The cab roof from a scrapped FPA4 will become part of the PA restoration project at the Museum of the American Railroad. (Robert Willis)

FRISCO, Texas — A critical part in the restoration of Santa Fe Alco PA 59L at the Museum of the American Railroad has arrived in Texas.

The cab roof and front windshield from a FP4A arrived Aug. 16 and was set down next to the legendary locomotive. The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad in Ohio provided the component from a locomotive that was scrapped. The section is identical to the Alco PA cab and roof areas. No. 59L’s cab and roof were severely damaged in a wreck while the unit was running in Mexico.

Robert Willis, coordination of the PA restoration project, calls this a major development in getting the project moving again after a 3-year delay.

“This donation allows us to make a definitive decision regarding how to proceed with repairing the issues with the existing roof and peripheral damage,” Willis says. “Work on the remainder of the car body frame will occur once the cab is repaired squared up, according to existing erection drawings.”

The museum had three options: Repair the existing roof, which was deemed unworkable, fabricate an expensive new roof, or find a donor, which is what happened.

“Each option had its own rather unique approach and process to bring about an acceptable result,” Willis says. “The donor route was definitely the most acceptable and direct route to reach the desired goals.”

To help with the project, visit Take the PA…all the way! — Museum of the American Railroad (historictrains.org) to make a donation.

Nose and frame of locomotive with roof section in foreground
The arrival of the cab roof will help the revive the restoration project, which has been delayed for several years. (Robert Willis)

4 thoughts on “Cab roof acquisition allows PA restoration project to move forward

  1. This is a remnant of an MLW FPA4 that Canadian National Railway assigned to ‘The Ocean’ and ‘The Chaleur’ between Montreal and Halifax. It may be the very locomotive leading ‘The Ocean’ through rural Nova Scotia in a colour photograph gracing the cover of CN’s thick 1965 Spring/Summer system timetable.

    1. That is some information about the FPA-4’s that I did not know before. I have not seen a copy of this timetable that you speak of, but the severed head comes from CVSR’s 6767, which was the CN unit of the same number. Hopefully you can see the road number in the timetable!

  2. Glad to hear that the replacement Cab Roof has arrived in Frisco, Tx. I hope that they can find a Prime Mover to make it operational again and that it can travel to special events, can’t wait to see the restored diesel.

  3. Whatever happened to the plan for Doyle McCormack to restore this loco in exchange for being given the sister unit?

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