557 Restoration Co.
The Last Steam Locomotive on the Alaska Railroad
Engine #557 was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia, PA. Owning the builders' serial number of 70480, she was built for the United States Army Transportation Corps (USATC) to become their U.S. No. 3523, as equipment and preparations were being made for the US entry into WWII. Twelve locomotives were sent to be in service in Alaska and No. 3523 arrived in December 1944 to become Alaska Railroad (ARR) #557.
The Alaska Railroad continued to use these steam locomotives after the end of the War. As the end of the steam era came closer and closer to an end, these locomotives were mostly used in the event of flooding or special excursion trains. #557 is well known to have been the savior when the town of Nenana, AK flooded by the Tanana River. #557 was used to transport the trains through the high waters to limit delays for shipments north to Fairbanks.
At the end of the Alaska steam era, #557 was tucked away into the Whittier Engine House in August of 1957. She sat unused until 1964 when Monte Holm purchased the locomotive for scrap and prepared for her '65 move to Everett, WA.
In December 2011 #557 was saved from scrap and returned to the Alaska Railroad once again on condition that the locomotive be restored and return to service in Alaska. Volunteers in the community lined up to help and the locomotive was moved to her current home of the Engine 557 Restoration Company shop. The nonprofit organization was formed to research and restore the locomotive, and with the partnership between the ARR, work to develop an Operations Plan is underway.
Today the volunteers of the 557 Restoration Co. meet year-round each week to take on the next steps in the project.
Volunteers, railfans, enthusiasts, and visitors are always welcome at the 557 shop.
557 Restoration Company
Wasilla Shops Cir.
Wasilla, AK 99654
P.O. Box 875360
Wasilla, AK 99687
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