Welcome to Photo Line! They Valley Railroad in Essex, Connecticut, is no stranger to Chinese-built Mikados, having purchased one new in 1989. While that one was sold off years ago, the only regularly scheduled steam excusion in the Nutmeg State purchased from the estate of the Knox & Kane in 2008. The fire-charred hulk was trucked to Essex, where a rebuilding and restoration was spearheaded by resident steam expert J. David Conrad. Three years later, the engine emerged as a representative of New Haven's J-class Mikados, and was immediately put to work! Join photographer Tom Nanos as we take a behind the scenes look at the Mikado's rebirth.
—See the March 2012 issue of Railfan & Railroad for Tom Nanos' "Mikado Reborn."
A different view from the cab
The old locomotive cab was practically destroyed in the fire at Knox & Kane, which meant a new one would have to be fabricated. The Valley Railroad took this opportunity to recreate the look and feel of a typical New Haven Mikado, complete with arched cab windows. Here we get a look at some of the interior bead board work, as well as the installed window sashes on the new cab as it nears completion, and awaiting final installation on the locomotive on August 5, 2011.
A new set of wheels
When the locomotive was trucked to Connecticut, the wheels were sent out to another shop for truing before being shipped to Essex. Here we see 3025s drivers, now wearing rods, await placement under the locomotive. on September 7, 2011.
"Some assembly required."
While awaiting its fate at the idled Knox & Kane Railroad, the enginehouse was set ablaze and the locomotive suffered some damage. After reconditioning and some fabrication, components of locomotive 3025's running gear lay polished and properly sorted awaiting installation on the locomotive now that the wheels have been mounted under the frame on September 26, 2011.
A closeup look at No. 3025's custom cast number plate on November 21, 2011. The reconditioned locomotive was given the next number in the series of New Haven's class J-1 Mikados.
Ready for my close-up
Days before coming out of the shop as a nearly completed locomotive, 3025 continues to bask under the light of the Essex shops, posing for a closeup look at her headlight and number boards on November 9, 2011.
Historic first steps
Railroad employees Chase Smith and Chris Hennessey photograph 3025 operating under her own power in the chilly afternoon sun on November 18, 2011.
Valley Railroad's Locomotive Foreman Wayne Hebert (left) and Kevin Narin (right) work on No. 3025's injector piping during some of the pre-revenue testing and adjustment in Essex, Connecticut, on November 18, 2011.
Enjoying the sunshine
After pulling a string of cars for the first time, 3025 sits for a moment to pose for photos in the afternoon sun. on November 18, 2011.
3025 and 40 at Essex
Evoking an image from what could be 60 years ago, "New Haven" 3025 rests next to her distant cousin No. 40 at Essex as adjustments and final prep continues for her entry into regular revenue service on November 18, 2011.
Meet me at the wye
Now with 3025 pointing north, Providence & Worcester train NR-2 shoves back down the west leg of the Saybrook wye on November 22, 2011. The P&W crews assisted in turning the steam locomotive on the wye so that the engine would be pointed north for regular service.
Meet at Deep River
Two sections of the Valley Railroad's North Pole Express meet at Deep River Landing each night. Here we see No. 3025 pulling the second section heads north out of Deep River, while No. 40 is making the southbound run with the first run of the evening on November 25, 2011.