Locomotive #20

img

Locomotive #20 crosses the Ontelaunee Creek bridge with LNE #512 in tow on December 23, 1979 Photo by Mike Hartman.

img

Locomotive #20 with a special freight charter at North Albany on April 26, 1980. Photo by John Hartman.

Whitcomb #20 was a tiny gas-mechanical industrial locomotive built in the 1930s and acquired by the WK&S in 1964. The Whitcomb was purchased from Equipment Corporation of America in October 1964 for $3,600. The locomotive number was 1871 and the unit was presumably used for yard work and perhaps an occasional charter. There's at least one picture showing little #1871 towing a two car train up the line including a Reading coach (#1474 or #1494) and an LNE gondola (perhaps #729). Pictures of #1871 from the 1960s and early 1970s are scarce. The locomotive appears to have arrived in a primer and rust color scheme. Within a year or two the Whitcomb was painted black with yellow handrails. But the unit does not appear to have had any lettering so the number 1871 may not have been widely known. Around 1975 the unit was given a spiffy new paint job and renumbered 20. The number 20 represented the locomotive's weight of approximately 20 tons. After 1975 the locomotive appears to have played a more important role in WK&S operations in addition to yard switching. Whitcomb #20 and caboose #92936 were known to occasionally pinch-hit for the Berksy Trolley on those summer weekday runs back in the 1970s and early 1980s. It powered some charter trains comprising a caboose or two and maybe a few freight cars. The little engine was even used as an occasional snowplow. By the 1980s #20 had clutch problems and couldn't move much more than its own weight. It was sold off in the late 1990s.

img

The earliest picture I have of #1871 in a combination of primer and rust. Note the whistle.

img

#1871 painted black with yellow handrails and coupled with caboose #92936. The whistle is still there.

img

Now the whistle has been replaced with a horn.

img

North bound charter train stopped south of Steinsville.

img

#1871 coupled with #65. The year is 1972 and the railroad's new 0-6-0 has just arrived.

img

WK&S "plow extra", April 1982.

img

Picture from the early or mid 90s before #20 was sold off.

img

Picture from the early or mid 90s before #20 was sold off.

img

Picture from the early or mid 90s before #20 was sold off.