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The General's Sister?

1856 Baldwin loco used by Bray Lumber, Valdosta

From: "Ancient Locomotive Still In Service," The Locomotive, October 1925, p. 242-43:

A veteran locomotive truly deserving the name is in daily operation in logging service at the saw mill of J.N. Bray & Co., Valdosta, Ga. It was built in 1856, sixty-nine years ago, and still bears the original name plate on the front with the inscription M. W. Baldwin, Philadelphia, 1856.

The early history of this engine is apparently lost. The present owners purchased it as a second hand locomotive about 43 years ago. , but all records of the sale have become lost so that any previous owners are unknown. The present owners state that it has been in their possession so long that it is regarded with much the same affection as an old family horse. It has been operated by over 100 persons, including all of the women of this family. Several efforts to purchase it have therefore been unsuccessful.

The cylinders on this engine are 12 inches in diameter by 22 inches stroke. The driving wheels are 54 inches in diameter. The original crank pins, rods, straps and keys are apparently still in use. The left front cylinder head has been replaced but the right cylinder is intact and the pistons are said to be the original ones placed in the engine when it was built.

The boiler is 36 inches in diameter by 15 ft. 6 inches long. It is jacketed with brass, as are also the steam chests. Patches and replacements have been made around the firebox, but the crown sheet is believed to be the original one. There is no record or indication of any repairs ever having been made to the barrel.

In 1923 this locomotive was engaged for a time in hauling logs on a short main line and consequently had to pass an Interstate Commerce Commission inspection. Accordingly it was given a hydrostatic test and approved for operation at 120 lbs. pressure, and the safety valve is now set for 120 lbs.

This veteran is said to be a sister engine of the famous locomotive "General," and a comparison of pictures of the two seems to bear this out. The "General" is now on permanent exhibition in the Union Depot at Chattanooga, a bit of military adventure having won for it retirement, whereas old Number 2 must labor on.

(The photo above accompanied this article and was captioned "Photograph by Courtesy of The Baldwin Locomotive Works.") Georgia's Railroad History & Heritage. © Steve Storey

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