Examiner Enterprise

Locomotive move schedule announced

By Special to the E-E
Monday, November 30, 2009 12:45 PM CST

After a 53-year absence, historic steam locomotive No. 940 is heading back to Bartlesville depot. The journey from Johnstone Park to a new display track next to the depot is scheduled to begin Dec. 7 and conclude Dec. 10.

The public will be able to view the various phases of the unusual move, which will be highlighted by the lifting and lowering of the 300,000-pound locomotive onto a 64-tire lowboy trailer and the four-block trip to the depot down Hensley Avenue.

Event organizers have released a general schedule of No. 940's return to the depot and indicate that a more detailed schedule, updated daily, will be provided during the week of the move.

  • Dec. 7
    Setup Day. Two large cranes, two lowboy trailers and related equipment will be moved into Johnstone Park. Preparations for the lift and move begin.
  • Dec. 8
    Buffer Day. Final checks will be made of all move arrangements, and the cranes may possibly load the locomotive and tender on two lowboy trailers.
  • Dec. 9
    Move Day. No. 940 and her tender will journey from Johnstone Park along Hensley Avenue to the depot. If time permits, the trailers will be unloaded and the locomotive and tender will be set down on the display track just north of the depot.
  • Dec. 10
    Completion Day. If necessary, unloading and setdown will be completed, along with general clean up. Cranes and equipment will leave the depot.

The move is being coordinated by Service and Manufacturing Corporation of Bartlesville, working with Taylor Crane of Coffeyville. Steam locomotive moves of this type occur rarely, only a few times each decade in the United States, spokespersons for the event say.

Locomotive No. 940 was retired by the Santa Fe railway in 1954 and moved to Bartlesville for display in Johnstone Park in August, 1956. At that time, the move was made by building a temporary track from the depot to the park, an option which is no longer feasible.

The steam engine is the sole survivor of 342 locomotives like it built for the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railway, and is only one of 50 locomotives of all types saved by the railroad when it switched to diesel-powered locomotives.

No. 940 spent many years traveling the rails through Bartlesville as it made trips between Tulsa and Chanute. It also worked in California, Colorado, New Mexico and Kansas, pulling an estimated three million freight cars while in service.