he Great Smoky Mountains Railroad has purchased several pieces of equipment from Maine’s Belfast & Moosehead Lake Railroad. Included in the purchase are a steam locomotive, a Rail Diesel Car, and nine coaches.
The steam locomotive is a Swedish engine, 4-6-0 No. 1149, built by Swedish State Railways in 1913. It was exported to the United States in 1994. The locomotive was rebuilt in 1998 in compliance with Federal Railroad Administration standards. The locomotive and coaches have a Swiss coupling system and will operate together as a set. The RDC is capable of seating 84 passengers, and may be used for special photo excursions operating from Dillsboro to Andrews, N.C., in addition to regular trains.
The locomotive and coaches have been winterized and will remain in storage until spring 2011, when they will be moved to North Carolina. The railroad will then begin minor repairs. Two boiler tubes on No. 1149 will be renewed, followed by hydrostatic testing required by the FRA.
In addition to No. 1149, the railroad said there is an effort to revive additional steam locomotives owned by Great Smoky Mountains. A partnership program with a newly formed nonprofit group will assist in fund raising efforts for the restoration and operation of ex-Southern Railway 2-8-0 No. 722 and former U.S. Army 2-8-0 No. 1702. No. 722 was built in 1904 and was a star of Southern Railway’s steam program in the 1960s and 1970s. No. 1702, built in 1942, operated on the tourist line from 1995 to 2004.