A group of rail non-profit organizations in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut are joining forces to restore to operation three GE 44-ton diesels, all produced in the mid-1940s.
The locomotives — Middletown & New Jersey Railroad No. 2; Hoboken Manufacturers Railroad No. 7; and New Haven Railroad No. 0814 — are currently owned by Operation Toy Train of New York, The Tri-State Railway Historical Society in Boonton, N.J., and the Danbury (Conn.) Railway Museum, respectively. None are currently operational but are in good condition and are considered excellent candidates for restoration to operating status. Meanwhile, heritage railroad Delaware & Ulster has another GE 44-tonner, former Western Maryland Railway No. 76, that has long been out of service but is largely intact.
The Delaware & Ulster has offered to donate that locomotive as a parts source toward restoration of the other three units. In return, volunteers from the other organizations are providing support for the Delaware & Ulster’s own repair and restoration, including an analysis of a J.G. Brill Co. doodlebug built in 1928 for the New York Central.
The donated services and volunteer expertise “will save the Delaware & Ulster tens of thousands of dollars in expenditures over the next several years, far more than the sale or scrap value of our inoperable locomotive,” Delaware & Ulster General Manager Todd Pascarella said in a press release. “We are greatly appreciative of the connections and knowledge that this partnership has already afforded us, and we look forward to continuing to foster these new, positive relationships.”
Operation Toy Train, Tri-State, and Danbury will split the cost to move No. 76 from its current location in Roxbury, N.Y., to the Port Jervis (N.Y.) Transportation History Center, home of the Operation Toy Train equipment. There, components will be removed and distributed to the three organizations. Danbury also has an operational 44-tonner, GE demonstrator No. 1399, that will receive some parts.
“We have been searching for spare parts for No. 1399 and the missing parts to restore … No. 814 for years,” said Danbury President Jose Alves. “Being able to share this opportunity and restore two other locomotives at the same time is an amazing bonus, and it speaks to the overwhelmingly supportive nature of the people involved that we were able to bring this many organizations together.”
Plans are for the shell of No. 76 to be displayed at Port Jervis in the colors of the New York, Ontario & Western Railway. The three organizations restoring the 44-tonners have each launched fundraising campaigns, and are soliciting grants, corporate donations, and contributions from private donors. For more information or to donate, visit the 44 Tonner website.
One thought on “Organizations combine in effort to restore three 44-ton diesels to operation”
1399 also has the distinction of being Union Pacific’’s only GE 44T.