Steam Locomotive Back On The Tracks In Duluth

DULUTH, Minn. — Who doesn’t like a big old steam engine? Well, there is one back on the tracks in Duluth this month.

The crew at the North Shore Scenic Railroad has been busy and excited as they get ready for a big day. Number 332 is over 100 years old, but it’s chomping at the bit to be rolling down the tracks again after a two year hiatus during the midst of COVID.

General Manager, Ken Buehler said, “This is our 332 Steam Locomotive. It was built in 1906 for the Duluth Missabe Northern Railway. It became part of the DM&IR. It’s not part of the collection of the Lake Superior Railroad Museum. And we’re going to be running it two weekends in September, the 10th and the 11th, and the 24th and 25th. So what we’re doing today is just a test firing to make sure that when we do take it out on the main line, it will be safe and dependable, and our people will have a great time riding behind an authentic steam locomotive.”

During its two years off the tracks, old 332 got a lot more than some spit and polish. Members of the so-called “Steam Team” worked on everything from the oiler to the throttle. And they’re making sure it can handle the heat generated by the coal-fired furnace.

“It gets very hot. You hear that locomotive running out there. We’re using a blower to create a draft to heat faster. It’s slow but gets very hot. Our fire break is certified for 3,000 degrees. But it’s probably 1800 degrees. As you go down the rail, it gets very warm in here just through operations. And your coaling it and putting water in, said John George, Shop Foreman.”

The locomotive will make runs up to Two Harbors and back over two weekends, beginning September 10th. Train lovers wasted no time getting on board, all tickets are sold out.

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