The Feather River Rail Society is currently looking for a new home for Milwaukee Road #5057, a General Electric U-25B diesel locomotive.
We are aware that Cascade Rail Foundation and the South Cle Elum Rail Yard have been mentioned as a potential destination for the locomotive in some of the public discussions related to the 5057.
Over the past six years, the Cascade Rail Foundation Board of Directors has had several discussions related to acquiring this locomotive. We recognize that the 5057 has strong ties to the State of Washington, spending many years working on Milwaukee Road lines in the state and finally being part of one of the last ‘clean-up’ trains moving equipment east before the railroad ended operations here.
Having a Milwaukee Road locomotive at South Cle Elum is important. People have a special affinity for locomotives. Having one at South Cle Elum would increase the interpretive potential of the rail yard and draw more visitors. Currently, no Milwaukee Road locomotives are on display in Washington.
While we feel the 5057 would be a good fit for the interpretive center at South Cle Elum, we have been reluctant to pursue it in the past. As a small volunteer organization we have understood the need to focus our limited resources on a few goals in order to be successful. Consistent with our strategic plan for the rail yard, our current long term goals for South Cle Elum include:
These goals are in addition to our existing commitments to sustain our past successes at South Cle Elum (the depot and the rail yard), as well to house and care for our archival collections stored at the Pacific Northwest Railroad Archive in Burien. We also have a number of small projects planned to improve the depot and rail yard.
While acquiring the 5057 is not explicitly one of our top priorities, we think it is a useful starting point for our long term goal of having the 10200 in an exhibit hall at South Cle Elum. An exhibit hall is needed to acquire the 10200. Fundraising for the exhibit hall will be easier if a locomotive was available to move into it when it opened. In the meantime, we could have the 5057 on display at the rail yard to help us tell visitors another piece of the Milwaukee Road story. By eventually bringing the 10200 and 5057 together at South Cle Elum, we would have locomotives that represent the beginning of the Milwaukee Road electrification and the end of Milwaukee Road operations in Washington.
Now that the Feather River Rail Society is making a concerted effort to sell the 5057, this may realistically be our last chance to acquire it. With the interest that has been expressed by individuals in relocating the locomotive back to Milwaukee Road territory, there may be sufficient support for this acquisition. We are taking another look at the possibility of acquiring it.
We are doing the research necessary to come up with a cost for acquiring the locomotive and moving it to Washington. The process to get the 5057 to South Cle Elum would include multiple steps.
- Purchase the locomotive
- Restore it to ‘display ready’ condition (a Washington State Parks requirement)
- Prepare a place at the South Cle Elum Rail Yard to display it
- Move it to South Cle Elum
Of course, before any of this could take place we would need to raise money to make it happen. Our preliminary research indicates it could cost roughly $50,000-60,000 to get the 5057 to South Cle Elum. This includes approximately $15,000 to purchase it and $20-25,000 to complete a cosmetic restoration. We are continuing to look for ways to reduce the overall cost. Fundraising for the purchase of the locomotive will need to happen in the near future or the Feather River Rail Society will turn to the other offers they have in hand.
We need to hear from you if you think this is a project you’d like to invest in financially. It is important for us to gauge the support this project has before we commit to it. Also, please contact us if you have information, skills, suggestions, or contacts that may be of assistance as we work out a plan to acquire the 5057. Otherwise, stay tuned for more news in the near future.
We plan to decide whether we will pursue acquisition of the 5057 at our next Board of Directors meeting on October 27.