VC-2

Baldwin 'Prairie' 2-6-2

The Ventura County Railway No. 2 is Orange Empire Railway Museum's operating steam engine. During special events throughout the year, you can ride a train behind the VC2 and experience the excitement of an operating steam locomotive.  You can also operate this locomotive.

VC-2
Car Specs
Car Number: 
2
Type: 
2-6-2 Prairie
Builder: 
Baldwin
Built / Retired: 
1922
Notes: 
Ventura County Ry

History

The Ventura County No. 2 was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1922 as No. 107 for the Cascade Timber Company of Reliance, Washington. The engine was designed to burn coal, but as a logger she probably burned wood as well. Cascade Timber rail operations ended in 1942.

The looming clouds of World War II increased the importance of the Naval Construction Battalion (Seabee) supply base at Port Hueneme, California, so the Ventura County Railway (which connected this base with the Southern Pacific at Oxnard) acquired additional locomotives. Renumbered as No. 2, the small 2-6-2 logger served impressively, helping to move war supplies needed for construction in the Pacific. She received some modifications, including a water-tank extension and reinforcement of the old arch-bar tender trucks.

After WWII, in 1947, the locomotive was sent to Southern Pacific's Bayshore Shops near San Francisco and extensively rebuilt. Most noticeably, the worn-out wooden cab was replaced with a salvaged metal one. After additional war activity in the 1950's and the emergence of diesels, the VC Railway disposed of its other steamers but stored the No. 2 serviceable. She saw occasional service thereafter in the late 50's and early 60's. She was steamed at Port Hueneme for the last time in February 1972, and was shipped on two flatcars to the Museum in November 1973.

At the Museum, the locomotive was put back in service, pulling passenger trains for special events and excursions. In 1981, the tender was re-equipped with heavier arch-bar trucks, and its old wood underframe was rebuilt with steel beams. In 1995-96, the Museum's Steam Crew performed an extensive inspection of the boiler shell, repairs to staybolts and rivets, manufacture of a new boiler jacket, refurbishment of the cab and external appliances, and a complete repaint job on the engine. During 2001-2006, the locomotive underwent its most extensive rebuild since probably its 1947 shopping. It returned to steam in 2006 and is presently in operation on the Museum Railway.

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