Dates Set for Minnesota Steam Locomotive to Return to Service

DM&IR 332 shoots a photo charter in Knife River, Minnesota on Sept. 5, 2019. (Steve Glischinski)

DULUTH, Minnesota — After a two-year hiatus, the Lake Superior Railroad Museum’s North Shore Scenic Railroad will return Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range 2-8-0 No. 332 to service in September The locomotive will pull trains between Duluth and Two Harbors , Minn. September 10-11 and 24-25. Trains will depart Duluth at 10:00 a.m. each day.

No. 332 last ran in 2019; plans to operate it in 2020 were scrapped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Inspections to return the locomotive to service in 2021 led to the discovery of cracks near the mud ring in the combustion chamber. Over the years the locomotive ran on the Duluth & Northeastern Railroad (1955-1964), four cracks developed and were repeatedly welded by D&NE mechanics. A Federal Railroad Administration inspection in the spring of 2021 found that the cracks had reopened.

A joint inspection with Fraser Shipyards of Superior, Wisconsin, which has years of experience working with steam boilers, found the metal around the cracks to be metallurgically sound. Fraser proposed that the cracks be closed by welding and that new metal be welded over the cracks, a plan approved by the FRA. In the fall of 2021, the welding and patching was completed and the engine passed its hydrostatic boiler test. It was then placed in the museum for display during the winter.

This year, the FRA carried out three inspections on the locomotive, including a steam test [see “FRA approves return to service …,” Trains News Wire, June 29, 2022]. With inspections now complete, the set was ready for operations in 2022. In addition to the mud ring cracks, the Lake Superior Railroad Museum steam crew was able to accomplish a list of projects including the reconstruction of an air pump, a fireman’s injection valve and a boiler feedwater valve. . An automatic oiler has been professionally rebuilt and extensive work has been done on the throttle.

“The locomotive is in the best shape of its life,” LSRM executive director Ken Buehler said in a press release. “The volunteers who make up the Steam team have done a fabulously professional job and the financial investment made in the engine by Museum members has been substantial.”

Pittsburgh Works of American Locomotive Co. built the locomotive in 1906 for the Duluth, Missabe & Northern under number 332. The 2-8-0 hauled iron ore and freight for the DM&N and successor DM&IR until in 1955, when it was sold to Cloquet, Minnesota-based Duluth & Northeastern RR as D&NE #28, the locomotive ran until 1964. It was donated to the Lake Superior Railroad Museum in 1974.

In December 2011, the engine was returned to Cloquet, where Bob Purcell and the Cloquet Terminal Railroad, successor to the DN&E, began a cosmetic restoration. They found that the engine was suitable for a complete rebuild and the work was complete at the LSRM shop in Duluth. He resumed service in June 2017.

Tickets for steam journeys are available at www.duluthtrains.com.

Jose P. Rogers