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 Post subject: US Steel 300
PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 12:47 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 9:35 am
Posts: 8139
Location: Wilton, NY
Long a park display at Provo, Utah, this 0-6-0 is now at the Heber Valley, with interest in making it operable again: ... ad_080.jpg

 Post subject: Re: US Steel 300
PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 12:01 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2004 5:58 pm
Posts: 81
Location: Louisiana
Looks kinda like the little engine in DeQuincy, LA

 Post subject: DeQuincy, LA
PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 12:54 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:45 am
Posts: 1138
Location: Beaumont, Texas
Alan wrote:
Looks kinda like the little engine in DeQuincy, LA


I hope you and the railroad park in DeQuincy were not harmed by Hurricane Rita's wrath a couple of years ago.

-James Hefner
Hebrews 10:20a

Surviving World Steam Project

 Post subject: Re: US Steel 300
PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 7:48 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 12:18 am
Posts: 277

Since the last photo was taken the shop crew at Heber has done a little more cosmetic work on No. 300, including fresh graphite on the smokebox and putting the original headlight back on.

This photo is from February 2006. I'm not sure, but with the Heber Valley's 2-8-0 No. 75 having been down for such a long time, and with UP 2-8-0 No. 618 needing major work in the near future, the prospects of overhauling No. 300 aren't very good. You can see that it's missing many parts, too.

In 2003 I wrote a short article for Railfan & Railroad about No. 300, back when its prospects for operation were brighter. Here it is:

THE HEBER VALLEY RAILROAD of Heber City, Utah, has acquired a rare 0-6-0, former Columbia Steel Corporation 300, which is currently on exhibit at a park in nearby Provo. A true "Utah" engine, the 300 worked all its life in the Beehive State, and has slumbered in relative obscurity since it was placed on outdoor display around 1960. Plans call for the locomotive to be moved to the railroad's shop at Heber City during the spring of 2003, and after a complete overhaul it should be back in steam by 2005.

No.300 spent all its working life as a switcher at the Columbia Steel Corporation's iron smelting plant at Ironton, Utah. The Ironton Works, as it was known, was one of the largest pig iron plants in the west, and was built beginning in 1922 by Columbia Steel on a 385-acre site near Springville. To move slag cars between the coking plant and blast furnaces, Columbia ordered a single 0-6-0 from Baldwin that was delivered in 1923 and numbered 200. By the next year the plant was in full production, and the first pig iron was produced. Coal (to be con- verted to coke for use in the by-product ovens) was mined locally and delivered to the plant by Columbia's own short line, the Carbon County Railway.

Columbia returned to Baldwin shortly after the plant opened for an additional 0-6-0, No.300, which was built and delivered in May 1925. Modern in design, the 300 features piston valves, power reverse and a Westinghouse cross-compound air compressor. By comparison, sister 200 was a bit older in design, having just one single-stage compressor. A slope-back tender was necessary for visibility while switching.

No.300 toiled at Ironton well into the 1950s. Columbia Steel operated the plant until 1930 when United States Steel Corporation acquired it, although USS kept Columbia as a subsidiary company for a time before the two were combined. The 300 worked faithfully for both companies.

During the early 1940s, the Ironton plant began a slow decline after the Defense Plant Corporation constructed the huge Geneva Steel works at Orem, Utah. United States Steel purchased Geneva in 1946, and No.300 became "Geneva Steel 300" on paper, though in all likelihood it never worked at that mill. With Geneva occupying over 1500 acres and being much more modern in design, most steel production in the area shifted to that plant.

The last days of steam at Ironton came in the late 1950s. It is unclear when 200 and 300 were retired, but by 1960 the plant had switched over to diesel operation and both locomotives were out of service. No.200 was eventually scrapped, but a better fate was in store for 300. The Geneva Recreation Association (GRA), a steelworkers employee group, obtained it in the early 1960s and had it painted and placed on display at their private park in Provo near the Geneva mill. Many items were welded in place to prevent theft, and soon railings were installed on the running boards, cab roof and tender to provide some measure of safety for the children climbing on it (it has never been fenced). As an added precaution, No.300's tender and firebox were welded shut to prevent entry.

For over 40 years the 300 has been an integral part of the GRA's private park, a place where employees are often found after work enjoying a barbeque or playing softball, and the engine is by far the most popular piece of playground equipment. But unfortunately, the steel industry in Utah has changed dramatically since the 0-6-0 was placed on display. Today the Ironton Works is just a memory, the Carbon County Railway has been abandoned, and the Geneva Works is shut down and will likely never reopen. With the loss of the Geneva mill and the subsequent layoff of many employees, the Geneva Recreation Association is selling the park, and the planned redesign of the area where No.300 is located does not include the locomotive. In early 2003 the GRA donated it to the Heber Valley Railroad.

"We have inspected the engine completely and feel like it is a very good candidate for operation," says John Rimmasch, Heber's Chief Mechanical Officer. "If you compare this engine to our 75 (1907 Baldwin 2-8-0) it only has about 1000 pounds less attractive effort, so we feel that it would be a good engine to pull our shorter trips."

But looking at No.300 today, it is easy to see one major complication: several major components are missing. It is unknown whether the 0-6-0 was parted out after retirement to keep sister 200 running, or (more likely) was in the process of being dismantled and scrapped when the call came down to save it. Missing are the main rods, eccentric cranks and eccentric rods, and also most of the appliances on the backhead. The boiler is completely gutted.

"The flues are out of it and the front flue sheet is gone along with the blast nozzle," says Rimmasch, "It certainly looks like it was in the process of being scrapped - the way the main rods were cut off looks like there was no intention of saving them. They were just butchered off." Interestingly, the 300's heavy power reverse and air compressor remain intact, although its whistle and bell are missing. Some of the smaller items may have been removed by the Heber Creeper tourist railroad in the 1970s as spare parts, and those that remain (such as the injectors and the unique number plate with raised "CSC" letters) have been removed by the Heber Valley for safe keeping.

At first there was hope that the missing parts would be found. "We had heard from a number of people that the missing items had been sealed up in the tender or firebox when the engine went on display, but when we opened up the tender (which had been welded shut) there was nothing in there, and nothing in the firebox," says Rimmasch, who must now look for replacements. "Some of the parts that are missing, like the mechanical lubricators, the bell and the whistle, we are going to buy new from China. We will have to make everything else."

The park's sprinkler system sprayed the right side of the engine and tender on a regular basis, which has contributed to some rust and decay, especially on the cab, which will probably need replacing. The engine is missing its smokestack, also. The present stack was made from a steel drum.

Heber Valley hopes to move the engine out of the park by mid-2003, with an eye toward restoration beginning later this year. But first the overhaul of 2-8-0 No.75, which is getting new flues and a new tender tank, must be completed. For the 300 project, the railroad has applied for a $100,000.00 TEA21 grant that will be used to rebuild the 0-6-0's running gear and to perform the boiler work necessary for a new Form-4.

At Heber, No.300 will join former Union Pacific 2-8-0 618 and Great Western 2-8-0 75 in service. Remarkably, 618 and 300 have probably already met. No.618's last Union Pacific assignment was switching the Ironton yard from 1952 until its retirement in 1958. - THANKS TO STEVEN SEGUINE, MIKE LEWIS, AND JOHN E. RIMMASCH

- Jeff Terry

 Post subject: Re: US Steel 300
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:21 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 1:25 pm
Posts: 6315
Is Heber Valley still intending to restore this 0-6-0 to operation one day?


 Post subject: Re: US Steel 300
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:49 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 8:44 am
Posts: 734
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Not sure what their plans are, but I saw it yesterday and its condition hasn't changed much since the 2006 photo above. #618 is on display out of service nearby and the engine house was locked up so I couldn't check on #75.

David Wilkinson
Salt Lake City, UT

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