Steam locomotive back on track in Duluth

DULUTH, Minn. “Who doesn’t like a big old steam engine?” Well, there’s one back on track in Duluth this month.

The North Shore Scenic Railroad crew has been busy and excited as they prepare for a big day. Number 332 is over 100 years old, but it’s chomping at the bit to get back on track after a two-year hiatus amid COVID.

General Manager Ken Buehler said: “This is our 332 steam locomotive. It was built in 1906 for the Duluth Missabe Northern Railway. It became part of the DM&IR. It is not in the collection of the Lake Superior Railroad Museum. And we’re going to have it two weekends in September, the 10th and 11th, and the 24th and 25th. So what we’re doing today is just a test shot to make sure that when we release it on the main line it will be safe and reliable, and our people will have a great time riding behind an authentic steam locomotive.

In its two years off the track, the old 332 received a lot more than spit and polish. Members of the so-called “Steam Team” worked on everything from the oiler to the throttle. And they make sure it can handle the heat generated by the coal furnace.

” It’s very hot. You hear that locomotive rolling over there. We use a fan to create an air current to heat up faster. It’s slow but gets very hot. Our firestop is certified for 3,000 degrees. But it’s probably 1800 degrees. As you go down the rail it gets very hot here just from operations. And you char it and put water in it, says shop foreman John George.

The locomotive will make trips to Two Harbors and back over two weekends, starting September 10. Train lovers wasted no time getting on board, all tickets are sold out.

Jose P. Rogers