Efforts to save Louisiana & Arkansas #503, Port Arthur, TX.

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Efforts to save Louisiana & Arkansas #503, Port Arthur, TX.

Postby 3rd Gen. Brakeman » Sun Feb 18, 2018 1:40 pm

The following locomotive is in immediate danger of scrapping and efforts are currently underway to save it.

#503 is a 4-6-0 “Ten Wheeler” steam locomotive that was built by Baldwin in April of 1920 for the Louisiana and Arkansas Railroad. It served the railroad until being sold to the Louisiana Midland in May of 1948. KCS bought controlling interest of the L&A in 1938. In 1957, the City of Port Arthur, Texas requested a steam engine for display in Bryan Park. KCS had already scrapped its steam power. KCS purchased the #503 back from the Louisiana Midland, repainted it as KCS #503 and donated it to the city. Very little was done over the years to maintain the locomotive. One local resident did lead an effort to care for the locomotive, but the attempts proved futile. It is also said that the Texas State Railroad once expressed interest in the locomotive, but was prevented from proceeding by the local resident mentioned before.

The locomotive has weathered the harsh environment of the Gulf Coast since 1957. It has stood through hurricanes and resulting floodwaters. State environmentalists discovered oil leaking from the locomotive and the presence of asbestos in and around the engine once flood waters receded after Hurricane Harvey. They ordered the city to correct the problem and set a deadline. A contract was awarded to a company to remove the asbestos, which has been completed. As a part of the contract, ownership of the locomotive was awarded to the contractor to scrap and remove it. No efforts or provisions were made to preserve the locomotive or offer it into the preservation community.

Word made it out regarding the locomotive’s fate and several individuals and organizations have stepped in to save it. The contractor has been contacted and made aware of the desire to save it. He seems to be open to the idea and willing to talk.

In the meantime, there is a Go Fund Me page that was created to raise funds necessary to secure ownership and transport the engine to a new home yet to be determined. Please visit the page for more information at the link below and consider making a donation in support of the #503. Thanks.

https://www.gofundme.com/help-save-the- ... friends-of
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Re: Efforts to save Louisiana & Arkansas #503, Port Arthur,

Postby elecuyer » Sun Feb 18, 2018 9:33 pm

Updated information:
Arrangements have been made with the scrapper to purchase the locomotive IF there is a viable plan in place for its immediate removal.
Those who started the fundraiser have made arrangements to have it trucked (being done at-cost as a donation by the trucking company) to the Texas State Railroad for interim storage.
A tourist railroad in Florida is also involved, and may be the eventual home to the engine (but ownership by a "friends of" not-for-profit.)
This is obviously in a great state of flux, but one thing is for certain...

If there is no money to make this plan a reality, the locomotive will be SMASHED with a WRECKING BALL then cut up for scrap starting on Wednesday, 2/21/2018.

Yes, 2018. We are talking about scrapping a mainline steam locomotive in 2018.

Please give what you can to the cause. Spread the word.
https://www.gofundme.com/help-save-the-la-503-friends-of

FYI, I have no connection with the group saving the locomotive, I'm just an appalled preservationist that this is occuring.

-Ed Lecuyer
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Locomotive #503 to be "dismantled" using a wrecking ball...
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Re: Efforts to save Louisiana & Arkansas #503, Port Arthur,

Postby StrasburgRailroadFan » Thu Feb 22, 2018 12:56 pm

The Save the #503 GoFundMe has now reached its goal! yahooo!! (i might live in PA but the train community is well connected!)
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Re: Efforts to save Louisiana & Arkansas #503, Port Arthur,

Postby 3rd Gen. Brakeman » Fri Mar 02, 2018 9:56 am

The original deadline has come and gone. The locomotive has not been scrapped or removed at this writing. The fundraising campaign has raised $67,084 via contributions from some 1,253 people from at least 6 countries around the world. Transportation for the locomotive has been pledged and tentative arrangements made for storage at the Texas State Railroad.

Unfortunately, there are questions regarding the ownership of the locomotive and the process by which the City has handled the whole deal. The short story is that the city hired a contractor to remove the asbestos (done) and was told that they could scrap the locomotive for their own gain. The contract was awarded at $24,000 which is just under the minimum requiring a vote. This deal was apparently made to quickly and quietly remedy their situation. The resulting attention from the campaign to save the engine has shed light on all of this and the City appears to be going into damage control mode. They are adamant that the engine is and always has been the property of the City and its residents. It is now in the hands of the City Council, Manager, and the residents to decide the locomotive’s fate.
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Re: Efforts to save Louisiana & Arkansas #503, Port Arthur,

Postby 3rd Gen. Brakeman » Wed Mar 07, 2018 12:23 am

Alas, a decision has been made by the City and her residents. The City of Port Arthur will keep #503. They will move the locomotive to another spot within Bryan Park, allowing the area in which it was sitting to be remediated. It has not been announced as to what (if anything) will happen with regard to continued preservation of the engine. It should be said that the campaign was a success in that the locomotive will not be dismantled and scrapped as was the City’s original intention. I believe this campaign will serve as a multi faceted example for similar efforts in the future.
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