SW-1 to Run Again at Steamtown

“Lehigh Valley” painted former Towanda-Monroeton Shippers Lifeline RR EMC SW1 will be restored to service for Steamtown National Historic Site with help from a donation announced this week. It’s seen here at Shaffer’s Feed Services mill in Monroeton, Pa. in 1997. Photo by M.T.Burkhart.

SW-1 to Run Again at Steamtown

By M.T.Burkhart

A switcher built in 1939 will be restored for Steamtown National Historic Site thanks to a “generous financial donation” that will see the historic locomotive placed back in service.

Steamtown is one of six railroad museums that received funds from the estate of Eric J. Yankovich, a longtime rail enthusiast, the park announced. The other five were not named. The locomotive be used for switching as well as on short distance passenger rides in the yard.

The locomotive was built by Electro-Motive Corp for Atlantic Coast Line and numbered 1901. Later it ended up in Pennsylvania where it was painted in Lehigh Valley colors, renumbered 26 and worked on the elusive 6-mile-long Towanda-Monroeton Shippers Lifeline Railroad. Some of the TMSL track was purchased by the Reading & Northern in 2010 and the SW1 eventually ended up in Scranton.

“On behalf of the National Park Service, I would like to thank the family of Mr. Yankovich for his generosity and support of these treasured and historic places.” said Steamtown NHS Superintendent Cherie Shepherd. “I’d also like to thank the Iron Horse Society for helping fulfill Mr. Yankovich’s wishes and facilitating the transfer of funds to the park for this important restoration work.”

After graduating from Drexel University with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, Yankovich took a position with the United States Navy as an engineer. While employed by the Navy, he continued his studies, attained a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and became a licensed professional engineer. Yankovich eventually left the Navy and formed a structural analytics consulting firm that he managed until retirement.

The contract for the restoration was awarded to McHugh Locomotive & Equipment, located in suburban Philadelphia. Disassembled and trucked to McHugh last month on five trailers, the frame-up work on the 600-hp locomotive is expected to wrap-up in mid-2025, the company announced. The park’s philanthropic partner, the Iron Horse Society, also supported this project by choosing a Lehigh Valley Railroad paint scheme for the 1901 restoration, Steamtown said.

The old and obsolete 6-576-U diesel engine original to the locomotive will be replaced with a completely refurbished 6-567-C diesel engine, McHugh said, adding that the original 6-567-U diesel engine remains in Scranton for future display.

“When complete, the restored historic SW-1 will provide Steamtown with a transition era diesel locomotive to perform switching duties and operate on Scranton Limited trains that operate on the rails at Steamtown and within the city of Scranton,” McHugh said in a release.

The McHugh family has assisted with historic railroad preservation for more than 60 years, beginning with the late Jimmy McHugh, the company said. McHugh Locomotive & Equipment was founded in late 1985 by JC McHugh, and has restored numerous locomotives, including Baltimore & Ohio SW1 8408 on the Wilmington & Western. It has also outshopped multiple “critters” for tourist lines, private owners and industrial operations.

This article was posted on: August 24, 2023