ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An old train part got some much-needed help. It’s a historic locomotive built in 1944 that offers a glimpse into World War II history.
One of the few still-operating WWII locomotives has been located in Albuquerque since the 1950s. Families get to learn its history during a free tour at the New Mexico Steam Locomotive & Railroad Historical Society north of Downtown.
“We’re all volunteers. We don’t get paid. Nobody gets paid a penny, but we love what we do. It’s about the history. It’s being about telling the history to people that want to hear and showing it off,” said New Mexico Steam Locomotive & Railroad Historical Society Vice President Rick Marsden.
This locomotive, AT&SF 2926, was built in 1944; it’s 120 feet long and weighs almost half a million pounds. It was retired to an Albuquerque park in the 1950s, where it sat for decades before the historical society bought it. After more than 20 years of restoration, the locomotive finally operated under its own steam again in 2021, but it still needs maintenance. On Wednesday, expert volunteers came from around Albuquerque to test the boiler.
“We’re filling the boiler and with about 8,000 gallons of water full and then we have to pressurize it with water to test the integrity of the boiler,” said Marsden.
The organization was created 22 years ago. The ultimate goal for the locomotive was to restore it for everyone to enjoy. They’re also working with the city on future projects.
“We are working with the city to restore the old Santa Fe railroad turntable that was used to turn the old locomotives like this around. There use to be a round house there that got demolished, but we’re working with the city to redo the turntable and function ability tracks coming in,” said Marsden.
AT&SF 2926 is the official state steam locomotive of New Mexico. Families can enjoy the free tour throughout the year on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.