A small group of volunteers restoring an old piece of railroad history got a big boost recently in the form of a donation from the International Paper Company. One of the largest pulp and paper companies in the world gave $5,000 to the Heritage Museum in Libby for their restoration of J. Neils Lumber Co. steam locomotive No. 4, which was built in 1906 and was used in Libby until the 1940s.
Now the volunteers tasked with rebuilding the old locomotive are turning their attention to raising an additional $50,000 to rebuild the boiler, according to project head Ron Carter.
The locomotive was built by the Lima Locomotive Works in Ohio and brought logs to the mills in Libby until 1946, when it was replaced by modern equipment. In 1963, J. Neils Lumber’s successor, the St. Regis Lumber Co., fixed up the engine and put it on display in Libby. A decade after that it was loaned to the museum. Years later, it was realized that the engine was still owned by International Paper (which had since taken over the assets of a previous owner) and the company decided to sell the engine to the Heritage Museum for $1. In 2011, volunteers began to restore the engine and they hope to run it one day on a loop of track around the museum grounds.
For more information about the old train visit www.libbyheritagemuseum.org and send donations to the Heritage Museum P.O. Box 628, Libby, Montana 59923. Direct all donations to the Locomotive Project.
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