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robomatic BS: Trains: Most beautiful locomotive (65* d) RE: BS: Trains: Most beautiful locomotive 18 Dec 19


In downtown Anchorage on the Park Strip is a static display of Engine 556. I'm going to copy/paste a paragraph from Anchorage Parks & Rec.:

Engine 556 was a steam locomotive built in 1943 for wartime service. Outnumbering other war-time railroad engines, they were simple to maintain with the close clearance required for the narrow bridges and tunnels on European railroads. They were stripped down for war action, and acquired the nickname"Gypsy Rose Lee" locomotives after the famous burlesque dancer. Instead of being shipped to Europe, twelve of these locomotives were sent to Alaska by the U.S. Army to become Alaska Railroad Class 550. All twelve locomotives saw service over the 460 miles of the Alaska Railroad. For 13 years, No. 556 hauled passengers and freight from Seward through Anchorage and on to Fairbanks. In 1959, No. 556 was taken out of storage and moved to its present location, where it has been an educational display and object of play for three generations of Anchorage youngsters. Of the thousands of USRA Consolidation Type locomotives originally built for war service, only three remain in North America, and only this one is publicly owned.

It is a handsome steam locomotive with tender in basic black and fulfills my childhood image of everything a classic steamer should be. There are many Anchoragites who share my feelings about her. A couple of years ago some kid tagged her with ugly graffiti. Within a few weeks some volunteer had cleaned her up on his own. She awaits some public expenditure to make her safe for public access.


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