McCloud River 2-6-2 No. 9

Builder: Baldwin Locomotive Works – Philadelphia, Penn.
Built: 1901
Serial Number: #18596
Wheel Arrangement: 2-6-2 Prairie
Driver Diameter: 44″
Cylinder Bore x Stroke: 16″ x 24″
Boiler Pressure: 160 psi
Pulling Power: 19,000 lbs. tractive effort
Length: 55′
Fuel: Oil
Status: Non-operational

It was the dawn of the 20th Century, and business was booming on California’s McCloud River Railroad. In need of additional locomotives, the lumber hauler turned to Baldwin for a pair of low-wheeled 2-6-2’s, No. 8 and No. 9. Arriving in 1901, the engines were trim, lightweight machines designed to handle light track and sharp curves. Operating through the forests of northern California, these two locos were designed to burn wood, which was in abundant supply. But wood-burning boilers had several drawbacks (not the least of which was their tendency to start trackside fires during the dry season), so No. 9 was converted to burn oil in 1920. It was retired in 1934, rebuilt in 1937 and stored until purchased by Yreka Western Railroad in December 1939.

After five years of service on the YWRR, No. 9 was again sold, this time to the Amador Central Railroad. The former YW 2-6-2 was not relettered to reflect its new ACRR ownership, and also retained its road number. During the following year (1945) No. 9 was sold to the Nez Perce & Idaho RR, and continued to wear its YW identification. It has not been determined just when NP&I No. 9 was retired, but this 2-6-2 sat derelict until 1964 when it was purchased by Richard Hinebaugh and moved to Mid-Continent Railroad Museum in North Freedom, Wisconsin. The museum rebuilt No. 9 for operation the little steamer was put back to work on tourist trains.

During the summer of 1971 the new Kettle Moraine steam tourist railroad began operations on four miles of track in North Lake, Wisconsin. Initially, KM used other privately-owned steamers, but eventually No. 9 (then nicknamed Sequoia) was moved to North Lake. The Kettle Moraine became an unfortunate victim of real estate development of former farm land. New residents complained about smoke, noise and visiting tourist traffic in town, and the steam train ride was no longer wanted in the upscale village. October 28, 2001 was the the KM’s last day of operation.

Number 9, by this point owned by KM’s Steve Butler, was stored indoors at North Lake until it was sold to Jerry Jacobson in 2015. The well-traveled 2-6-2 arrived at the Roundhouse on August 25, 2015.