Dawson County Historical Museum gears up for several summers of locomotive restoration | Local News


In 1978, the city of Lexington transported the locomotive to the Dawson County Historical Museum on the condition that the old steam engine be relocated. Several ideas were thought up on how to do this, including extended rails to the museum on Highway 30 and Taft Street.

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In 1979, the president of the Historical Society, Henry Orthman, contacted Butch and Gary Williams of Hastings, who were moving home and had moved a locomotive to Kearney that year.

The move to the museum took several steps, including moving the Willow Island depot to the museum grounds to serve as a backdrop for the locomotive and its tender load. Prior to the move, Union Pacific crews painted and welded to partially restore the 485 engine.

The painting was to cover a quarter of a decade of exposure to inclement weather, the exuberance of youth, and a bit of vandalism.

In November 1980, the 485 engine was lifted off the rails by two eight-wheeled 75-ton jacks. He was then beamed, shackled and rigged onto an overweight trailer. The two semi-trailers carrying the locomotive and its annex were guided by local law enforcement, going so slowly, “that it even registered on the speedometer,” recalled a person involved in the move. .

The 18-block trip took about two hours.

While not under his own strength for the latest move, a Dawson County Herald article reported that Johnson Lake resident Charles Pope, with 38 years of railroad experience, has restarted the fireplace using old air chambers and a few flares. .

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Patrick F. Williams