Examiner Enterprise

Train, Depot Celebration Planned

By Special to the E-E
Monday, December 14, 2009 11:56 AM CST

A combined celebration of the 100th birthday of the Bartlesville depot and the homecoming of AT&SF No. 940 will be held for the public this Thursday at the depot.

The event will begin at 4:30 p.m. and end at 5:30 p.m.

Children and adults will be able to enter the cab of No. 940 and ring its bell, which has been silent for more than 50 years while the historic locomotive stood behind a high fence in Johnstone Park. Last week the 150-ton locomotive was moved back to the depot, which itself is a historic landmark that opened on Dec. 17, 1909.

A brief program will be held at 5 p.m. in front of the locomotive, where there will be official ribbon cutting. The event will include free refreshments, featuring commemorative cookies, plus a holiday gift shop highlighted by the just released Keepsake Candle depicting the No. 940 locomotive alongside the Bartlesville depot.

A portion of the proceeds from candle sales will go toward the steam engine's display and preservation fund. Contributions to the fund cover site improvements including permanent access stairs into the cab, decorative lighting, interpretative signage and cosmetic restoration of the locomotive itself.

The new 200-foot-long display track for No. 940 just north of the depot was completed in November by a crew of community volunteers. The track is long enough to allow several railroad cars to be coupled to the locomotive sometime in the future No. 940 is the sole survivor of 342 steam engines like it built for the Santa Fe.

The Santa Fe retired the steamer in 1954 and, through the efforts of the Bartlesville Rotary Club, it was moved to Bartlesville for display in 1956.

Planning for No. 940's return to the depot has been under way for nearly two years by a group of community volunteers and personnel from Service and Manufacturing Corporation. Taylor Crane and Rigging of Coffeyville handled last week's unusual move, under SMC's direction.

Although owned by the city of Bartlesville, the locomotive's relocation, along with the new display track and planned site improvements, were financed entirely by private donations, with the Lyon Foundation and the Bartlesville (Monday Noon) Rotary Club taking lead roles.