By Railfan & Railroad Staff
STRASBURG, Pa. — Less than a week after it collided with an excavator — damaging the front end of its smokebox — Strasburg Rail Road’s ex-Norfolk & Western 4-8-0 475 was back in action.
Over the weekend, the railroad’s shop forces wrapped up welding repairs to the smokebox door. The welds were still apparent, giving the locomotive a bit of a Frankenstein-like look, but it was under steam once again.
Last Wednesday, locomotive 475 was running around its train at Paradise, Pa., where the Strasburg’s excursions turn back to their namesake. As the locomotive passed the train on the other track, the crew was waving to passengers and apparently did not see that the switch in front of them was misaligned. The locomotive went through a misaligned switch and right into an maintenance of way excavator. The bucket of the excavator punched a hole through the locomotive’s smokebox. The railroad quickly dispatched another locomotive to bring the passengers back to Strasburg and 475 was later dragged back to the shop.
The entire incident was broadcast live by Virtual Railfan, which has a camera at Paradise. That clip plus a video taken by a passenger spread across the internet like wildfire on Wednesday afternoon.
No one was injured during the collision, but Strasburg tells Railfan & Railroad that they are using the incident to look at its own training practices to ensure something like this does not happen again. The Federal Railroad Administration is also investigating the collision.