Monday, October 6, 2008
Finding the AT&SF Locomotive 2926 and the Balloon Museum
We had quite a bit of rain Saturday night and so there was no flying Sunday morning. As a result, we did some exploring and I found an interesting item on my navigation system's museum's listing featuring the New Mexico Live Steam Railroad exhibit. Of course, I had to go see that! We drove down to an older industrial area and all of a sudden, came upon a huge steam locomotive undergoing a full restoration by a number of volunteers. WOW said Rick!
He got out of the car to take a few photos and one of the workers invited us in, gave us both a hard hat and told us all about the AT&SF 2926 project. The locomotive had been in a park on display for 40 years before this group was able to secure and move it to this siding. They are now restoring it to running condition and expect to complete it by 2012. When done, this will be the second largest operational steam locomotive in the country.
As you can see by the pictures, the tender is already restored and looks great. Work on the locomotive is much more complex and they are now working on the tube boiler by removing the old water tubes. It is interesting to see the locomotive without any of it's external cowling. I will have to plan to try and get back here in a few years to see it when it is running.
We also had the chance to tour the Balloon Museum and Hall of Fame. This is on the Balloon Fiesta grounds and has a number of historic balloons on display including the first transcontinental USA balloon, the trans Atlantic, trans Pacific and the non-stop around the world flight. The silver gondola was used in stratospheric flights up to 110,000 feet during the 50's.