Last regular use of steam in the US

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Last regular use of steam in the US

Postby USRailFan » Thu Dec 09, 2004 3:45 am

When was the last regular use of steam in the US (apart from museums, tour operators etc) and which railroad operated it?
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Postby Urban D Kaye » Thu Dec 09, 2004 10:23 am

I'd heard that Mobile & Gulf #97 wasn't retired from revenue service until 1972. If true, that puts her in the running.
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Last steam...

Postby Komachi » Thu Dec 09, 2004 2:13 pm

USRailfan,

We're currently discussing this topic in both the "Steam Locomotives" and the "Worldwide" forums. The one in the Steam Locomotives forum is primarily sticking to steamers in the US and has a few interesting units in the running. Here are the links...

Steam Engines discussion...
http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=7922

Worldwide discussion...
http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=7921

Feel free to come and contribute!
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Postby Hambone » Thu Jan 20, 2005 4:31 pm

There was a steel mill somewhere in Central Illinois, I understand they used steam up til the early 80s, but I don't remember the name.....
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Postby cb&q bob » Fri Jan 21, 2005 1:50 am

I believe the name was Sterling Steel and Wire located in Sterling Ill.
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Last steam in US

Postby H.F.Malone » Fri Jan 21, 2005 8:30 am

Northwest Steel & Wire, in Sterling, Ill. They used old GTW 0-8-0s that were sold for scrap by the railroad in 1959-60. NWSW cut up thousands of steam locos in the late 50s-early 60s. Good photos of a CBQ 2-10-4 dying at NW, in Ron Ziel's "Twilight of Steam" book. Northwest was an in-plant industrial railroad, not a common-carrier.

Mobile & Gulf 2-6-0 97 ran until 1970, and Edgemoor & Manetta 0-4-0T ran on a textile company-owned common carrier shortline in the Carolinas until 1972. The E&M loco is commonly acknowledged to be the very last US steamer in regular common carrier freight service.
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Postby Ken W2KB » Sat Jan 22, 2005 7:59 pm

I believe that PSE&G's 0-4-0 fireless cooker ran at an electric generating station as late as 1974.
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Postby DutchRailnut » Sat Jan 22, 2005 8:40 pm

The Crab Orchard & Egyptian RR ran into the 80's with steam. see:
http://www.chaski.com/cgi-bin/webbbs_fo ... ?read=5700
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Postby 2nd trick op » Sun Apr 17, 2005 8:52 pm

N&W used to mark its last regular revenue steam operation as in early April of 1960, but if memory serves me correctly, a clutch of steamers may have been maintained in Grundy, or possibly Iaeger, W. V, and used for mine runs for a few months more. There was, I believe, some mention of this in the fan press at the time.

Illlinois Central also maintained a small pocket of revenue steam service in the Carbondale-Cairo, Ill. area through at least January of the same year.
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Postby 56-57 » Mon Jul 11, 2005 9:10 pm

Northwest Wire & Steel WAS the last user of regular steam. their GTW switchers lasted until 80 or 81, not 60. they were the last non-tourist, never stopped using them til they were scrapped, users of steam.

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Postby DutchRailnut » Mon Jul 11, 2005 9:22 pm

In Response To: Re: Absolute last day of steam (L Beckman)

I can't say it was the absolute last, BUT The Crab Orchard & Egyptian Railroad was the LAST FEDERALLY RECOGNIZED railroad in the United States to run a steam locomotive EXCLUSIVELY for revenue freight service. I do not know of ANY railroad currently operating that uses a steam locomotive EXCLUSIVELY for revenue freight service.

The FRA boiler inspector that came to inspect the boiler of 2-8-0 #17 in July, 1985 told me the CO&E WAS the LAST freight railroad to use steam power according to his employer.

The COER last ran steam power on its freight trains September 8, 1986 when the drypipe collapsed while pulling a coal train.

Two days later, I was hired part time and helped to retire this steam locomotive. Today, 2-8-0 #17 (CLC 1959, 1940) sits rusting away awaiting a better fate.

True, the CO&E started out as a tourist operation with a 2-4-2T (Porter 7995, 1946), which was rebuilt into a conventional 2-4-2, but they found that they could help the economy of the area by hauling freight, which began October 18, 1977 and became freight only in October, 1978. The CO&E even had a rather successful piggyback operation from 1979-1984, yes, hauled behind steam!

May 29. 2003 will be the 30th Anniversary of the CO&E's Inaugural Run.

I consider myself the authority on this railroad, being that I have done a lot of research on it as well as document its goings-on, let alone being a part-time employee for two years during its transition era.

I am currently working on a book about the 30 year history of the CO&E. This book will be the definitive work on all aspects of the CO&E from 1973-2003.

Edward Bridges
Unofficial Historian of the Crab Orchard & Egyptian Railroad
Former CO&E Employee: 1986-1987
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Co-author of ongoing book project: The Crab Orchard & Egyptian Railroad: 30 Years of Shortline Railroading in Southern Illinois: 1973-2003
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http://www.groups.yahoo.com/group/COERH ... ssociation
http://www.groups.yahoo.com/group/COERSteamPreservation
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Granger, TX (formerly of Marion, IL)

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Re:

Postby Jeanne GG1 » Tue Apr 20, 2010 9:46 pm

Ken W2KB wrote:I believe that PSE&G's 0-4-0 fireless cooker ran at an electric generating station as late as 1974.


Where is it now?
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Re: Last regular use of steam in the US

Postby Passenger » Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:20 am

What is a "fireless cooker"?

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Re: Last regular use of steam in the US

Postby ex Budd man » Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:34 am

A fireless cooker is a steam loco without a fire box to heat the water into steam. It is charged by a stationary boiler at the work sight and operated in areas where smoke or fire would be objectionable or dangerous. Places such as munitions plants were favorite haunts for these.
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Re: Last regular use of steam in the US

Postby JT76 » Tue Aug 10, 2010 9:59 am

FWIW the Arcade and Attica has been known to use 2-8-0 #18 to haul freight from time to time. Technically its in revenue service i would suppose? :)
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