Steam engine in
Coronado Park is set to be displayed in proposed Wheels museum.
By Lloyd Jojola
Journal Staff Writer
It won't be the speeding locomotive it has been in
years past, but "Old 2926" the steam engine and city landmark that has graced
Coronado Park for more than 40 years will be returning to the tracks.
The New Mexico Steam Locomotive and Railroad Historical Society bought the black
locomotive from the city last summer. On June 23, a Texas-based contractor hired by the
group will begin the task of moving the approximately 625,000-pound engine, its tender a
separate car that holds water and oil and a caboose from the Second Street and Interstate
40 park to the old railroad repair shops south of Downtown, society president Frank
The locomotive is set to be displayed at the site of the proposed Wheels exposition center
and transportation museum near Second Street and Coal. The organization also plans to
refurbish the locomotive to working condition, although that work could stretch on for
years, he said.
"The driving force (behind the move) is that the locomotive is going to be an
obstacle in the reconstruction of I-40," Gerstle said.
The mammoth project also is expected to briefly snarl traffic.
Second Street will be blocked off as more than 30-foot increments of temporary track are
laid to move the locomotive across that street onto Indian School Road.
Trucks with side booms will move and steady the engine, which eventually will be passed
under the freeway and placed on siding on the north side of I-40. From there it will be
towed by another train engine south to the old railroad yard.
All lanes of Second Street at I-40 will be blocked off starting at 9 a.m. June 23. It was
unknown how long the move would take.
Messer Construction a Texas company that specializes in returning derailed trains back to
the tracks will perform the work, Gerstle said.
Manufactured in the early 1900s, Locomotive 2926 is believed to be one of four engines of
its kind remaining in the country, Gerstle said. The 16-foot-high, 120-foot-long engine
and tender, when fully loaded with water and fuel oil, weigh about 1 million pounds. It
had been clocked at speeds of more than 110 mph.
The locomotive was placed in the park in 1957 and designated a historic landmark by the
city in the 1980s, said Mary Piscitelli, staff to the Landmarks and Urban Conservation
Piscitelli said selling the locomotive will benefit the city.
"They (the historical society) have the ability to rehabilitate the train in a way
the city can't do," she said.
Some asbestos associated with the locomotive will be cleaned up, she said.
The Landmarks and Urban Conservation Commission will hold a public hearing at 3 p.m.
Wednesday at the Plaza Del Sol public hearing room to discuss the move.
"Part of the issue with the public hearing is moving the train and how that move
affects the landmark status," she said.
The society will have a premove party for the locomotive from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday for
people interested in taking a last look at the engine at its park location,