By Railfan & Railroad Staff
Connecticut’s Valley Railroad announced Friday that it was adding a fourth steam locomotive to its operating fleet, a Frisco Railway 2-8-2 that has been stored in the Midwest awaiting restoration for several years.
Frisco 1352 was built by Alco in 1912. It was purchased by the American Steam Railroad Preservation Association in 2008 for possible restoration after decades of bouncing around from display sites to storage sites. Those plans, however, were put on the back burner when American Steam acquired Reading Company 4-8-4 2100. Now 1352, which has been stored in Illinois for years, will be heading east for restoration and operation on the Valley. The Valley Railroad, also known as the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat, has three operating steam locomotives, including a 2-8-0 and two 2-8-2s. Locomotive 1352 would be the largest locomotive on the roster.
American Steam President Rob Gardner said the sale of 1352 will help further expedite the group’s restoration of Reading 2100. Last week, the group announced that when 2100 is restored it will be painted in honor of the American Freedom Train.
“We are very pleased to know that the Frisco 1352 is going to such an exceptional organization as the Valley Railroad and will be restored to operational condition much sooner than we could have hoped to accomplish,” Gardner said.
Valley officials have not said when the locomotive will be moved east or provided a timeline for when it might be restored. The last time the Valley acquired a 2-8-2 was in the late 2000s when it purchased a Chinese-built locomotive from the Knox & Kane. When it emerged from the shop in Essex in 2011, it was given the number 3025 — one number above the last New Haven Railroad 2-8-2 — and made to look like a NH steamer. While the railroad has not said how it plans on restoring the Frisco locomotive, it has a similar shape and size to one of the New Haven’s heavier 2-8-2 locomotives.