Museum acquires classic Southern Railway locomotive

[ALCO locomotive 7100]











( Photo courtesy of Bryant Petitt)

The Southern Appalachia Railway Museum has successfully acquired former Southern Railway engine No. 6913, one of only four Southern E-8 class diesels left in existence today. Southern Railway once owned 19 E-8's which were built by EMD (17 for Southern plus 2 which were acquired when Southern took over Central of Georgia).

The unit was one of the last of its class to be built and was delivered to Southern Railway in December of 1953. It served in mainline passenger service throughout the Southern system for the next 26 years. For the US Bicentennial in 1976, it was named the Lyman Hall, in honor of the Savannah doctor who was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Upon its retirement from Southern service in 1979, the engine was sold to New Jersey Transit and was later acquired by a private collector. For the past several years it has been stored in Binghamton, NY.

Once the SARM volunteers became aware of 6913's availability, a team from their mechanical department traveled to Binghamton to assess the unitıs condition and potential for restoration. After the decision to acquire it was made, several return trips were made to prepare the locomotive for movement to Oak Ridge.

The ravages of weather, time and vandalism have taken their toll on the engine. Restoration will involve replacement of all glass and some body panels, replacement of mostly small engine parts and copper items that have been pilfered. Much of the electrical wiring will also need to be replaced. The unit's Southern Railway paint scheme will also be restored.

SARM President, Charlie Poling stated, "This unit fits our collection better than probably any other locomotive ever would. A classic Southern passenger diesel for our Southern passenger train". (The Secret City Scenic Excursion Train is made up of Southern coaches, a Southern dining car, baggage car and bay window caboose). Also, the addition of the 6913 to SARM's roster occurs as the museum is celebrating its 10th year of operating the excursion train. Mr. Poling also expressed the museum's appreciation for the support provided by Norfolk Southern Corporation in making preservation of the locomotive possible.

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This page last revised: May 9, 2007

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