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Young volunteers adopt steam locomotive

The railroad historical society’s youngest volunteers have chosen one of the oldest steam locomotives in the state as their project. Troy Kleman, Bryson Sleppy, and Jerett Godeke talk us through the early stages of cosmetic repair on one of two remaining Wabash Railroad steam locomotives in the world.

Formerly Wabash no. 534 and later Lake Erie & Fort Wayne no. 1, the switch engine spent much of its life in Fort Wayne working the yards and steel mills near Fairfield and Taylor Streets before being put on display in nearby Sweeney Park in 1957. It was donated to the railroad historical society in 1984 and is in the early stages of restoration assessment.

Cosmetic work like wire brushing and needle scaling rust away will aid the volunteers in determining the type of work the locomotive will need. Projects like this enable younger volunteers to take ownership of a project and gain experience in working around railroad equipment.

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