Steam on the West Central


A West Central 0-8-0 steam switcher is hard at work in the 1950s delivering cars to various industries.  The 0-8-0s were capable of moving almost any train and still able to navigate tight curves and turnouts.  They served up until the late 1950s.  The unit in this photo is No. 1080 which was preserved in operational status by the West Central.  The buildings in the background were constructed by the late Wally Schuster.


A West Central light Mikado (2-8-2 wheel configuration) hauls its tonnage through farm country somewhere in Wisconsin in the 1950s. The West Central had these United States Railroad Administration light Mikados that were used throughout the system.  The West Central also had the USRA heavy Mikados, the only railroad to have both heavy and light versions. This engine is an Oriental Limited (Powerhouse) painted by club member Dennis Hamilton.


A West Central Mountain (4-8-2) type locomotive blasts through a tunnel sometime in the 1940s.  The West Central bought several of these from the Chesapeak and Ohio to add to their existing fleet of these USRA locomotives.  As 4-8-4s and diesels took over much of the passenger power needs, the mountains were drafted for fast freight duties, for which they seemed well suited.  This model is an early Bowser with a cast brass boiler.  A real heavyweight.  It has a Northwest Short Line can motor.  It has pulled 55 cars up the West Central’s 2 percent grade with no problem.



A West Central N-1 Class 4-8-4 blasts its way up Andrews Hill and across the Redwood Gulch trestle. These powerful locomotives had 70-inch drivers and were used mostly for fast freight.  These were the larger of the West Central's two classes of northern-type steam locomotives, but still not considered large in comparison to many other 4-8-4s of the time.  The West Central had 35 of these and they were used heavily during WWII and the Korean conflict.  They were retired at the end of steam operation in 1959 and 1960, all of them having at least two million miles of service.  AHM brass model (B&M 4-8-2) converted to 4-8-4, it was painted by member Dennis Hamilton.


More Steam on the WC

Diesels on the WC


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