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Brooklyn Roundhouse Page 1 SP&S 700

Brooklyn Roundhouse Tour

Portland, Oregon

May 11 and 13, 2008

Story and photographs by Richard Elgenson
RailNews Network writer


The host for my first visit to Brooklyn Roundhouse was Chris Fussell, the owner of the former Amtrak F40phr 231 which we will see later.  My second visit was courtesy of Jim Abney, retired Amtrak engineer, and Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railway 700 steam locomotive engineer, and Pacific Northwest historian.  The SP&S 700 does run on occasion, so plan to be in the Portland area in late June 2008, when she will be running on the Oregon Pacific Railroad.  Go to the SP&S 700 site for information.

The SP&S 700 is a 4-8-4 'Northern' built by Baldwin in 1938, now owned by the City of  Portland.  According to the SP& web site, "she was restored after thirty years in the weather in Oaks Park by the volunteers of the Pacific Railroad Preservation Association (PRPA). The PRPA today maintains and operates this grand old lady of the rails."



On Altamont Press discussion pages, a person asked what do the numbers below 700 mean?  Another person, mjswans, on the same board, answered that "E1 (easily mistaken for EL) is the SP&S designation for the this locomotive type.  The 269 is for the weight on the drivers in thousand's of pounds (269,000).  28/31 refers to bore and stroke of the pistons, 28 diameter bore and 31 inch stroke.   The 69 refers to tractive effort, again in thousand's of pounds (69,000)."  OK?

My second visit to Brooklyn Roundhouse was courtesy of Jim Abney.   In the below right photo, the black box was built by Mr. Abney to control the diesel locomotive behind the 700.  He shared so many stories with me it was astonishing.  When running the 700, Jim has the railfan in mind, giving you guys the great sights and sounds of the steam locomotive while keeping the diesel sound to a minimum.  I tried for a moment to encourage Jim to write a book about his railroading history.


Jim opened the firebox door and explained how the atomizer works and the path the fire takes through the firebox and the combustion chamber



Jim provided the two photographs below and gave permission to use them on this page.  Here is an excerpt from the email that accompanied the photos.  "The (lower left) photo was taken by Joel King when I was running the SP&S 700 in Montana and I'm standing on the engineer's side of the engine.  On the fireman's side is my fellow 700 hogger Greg Kamholz.  This 4th of July we'll be celebrating the 50th anniversary of our volunteering together on steam." "We both hired out on the Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railway and I represent the third generation in my family to do so.  It's a special treat to be a hogger on the SP&S 700 as my father ran it in the early 1950s when it was in regular service.  I believe I was born with steam instead of blood in my arteries and veins as I have always been attracted to it."  Regarding the lower right photo, "Your fellow Californian Tom Moungovan from Sebastopol took the picture of me as an SP&S fireman firing the ex-Oregon-American Lumber Company #105 running as the Vernonia, South Park & Sunset #105 on the SP&S Vernonia branch in about 1967."

Above left photo by Joel King.  Above right photo by Tom Moungovan.

Thank you to Chris Fussell and Jim Abney for each of their fine tours of Brooklyn Roundhouse and associated railroad equipment.

The Pacific Railroad Preservation Association

Brooklyn Roundhouse continued