Archive for Thursday, May 20, 2010

Lawrence’s historic locomotive No. 1073 — in Watson Park — to get fresh coat of paint this weekend

Engine No. 1073 in Lawrence is scheduled to get a new coat of paint this coming Saturday. Volunteers will paint the old steam engine that has sat in town for more than 50 years.

May 20, 2010


After chugging for more than 870,000 miles during 44 years of service, then standing up to harsh winters and scorching summers for more than a half century, a retired train locomotive near downtown Lawrence will get a little freshening up Saturday.

The old No. 1073 prairie locomotive, parked in Buford M. Watson Jr. Park since the 1950s, will have its black surfaces repainted from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday by about a dozen members of Lawrence Breakfast Optimists.

Using black paint provided by Lawrence Parks and Recreation, volunteers will restore the massive engine’s original look, said Roger Steinbrock, a department spokesman. The “1073” and other details will be taped off, reserved for fresh white paint later.

“The last time the locomotive had been painted was about 10 years ago,” he said. “It’s just like a house. You want to repaint it every once in a while, so the luster is still there.”


Shockem211 8 years ago

I wish they would open it up again for children to go inside and pretend to drive the train. My 2 year old was upset when I told him that it's closed for good. They could at least open it one day a month or something.

EarthaKitt 8 years ago

Last time I was there it was open. Unless they've changed it recently, the train is fenced completely except for access to the cabin area -- or whatever the driving place is called on a train. That's the good news. The bad news was that there were some pretty obvious signs that somebody had been in it sleeping, eating and...ahem...well...what happens later, after you eat. On a brighter note, Parks and Rec is really good about hosing it out on a regular basis!

Shockem211 8 years ago

I called Parks and Rec last month and was told it will be locked shut forever, unless arrangements are made with Parks and Rec for field trips, etc.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 8 years ago

I would imagine that the locomotive cab is secured from climbers has to do with liability issues. In this day and age where lawyers can find any sort of reason to sue anyone, it is probably and sorrowfully necessary.

I am also glad for this maintenance, far too many steam locomotives that were donated to communities by the Santa Fe Railway have sat unmaintained for too many years. Vandals will find reason to damage and steal anything not welded on. Some localiies have found that this liability issue is too great and sent the old locomotive to scrap, the fate of most all of these old engines when they were replaced by diesels in the 1950s and 60s.

These old historiic steam locomotives were the engines of enterprise that helped build this nation and should be preserved and respected. There will never be any more made. My gratitude goes out to those who have volunteered to do this repainting!! Thank you very much from an old railfan!!

BigPrune 8 years ago

Did they close it off to the public for safety reasons or health reasons?

Fred Whitehead Jr. 8 years ago

Probably safety. These things operated before there was much concern about safety, no OSHA or any thing else. If you had to get out on a moving locomotive, there was a narrow walkway down the boiler and a handrail on the (hot) boiler jacket. Labor was cheap back then and if someone got hurt or killed, they just sent another warm body. It was not as romantic as a lot of historians like to paint it. Some kid crawling on the outside of the cab along the boiler could fall and get hurt. See my previous about lawyers.

royjuju 8 years ago

who is they all you have to do is vote them out put in some one that s for the people its your park

Zachary Stoltenberg 8 years ago

I think this probably has less to do with safety or kids walking rails than it has to do with the nearby shelter and the inebriated/influenced patrons of it who reside in the park using it as a toilet. I was in it when it was open. Fenced, but open. The inside has already been stripped, and there really wasn't anyway to get outside of it or past the fence. Yet another fallout of the great Mr. Henderson. Too bad Good Morning America didn't cover this, or the library, or the community center, or downtown, or southpark, or...

Janet Lowther 7 years, 12 months ago

Back in the '70s or '80s, they performed an asbestos abatement on ATSF 1073.

They promised to restore it to it's previous appearance, but never did.

They removed the boiler shroud to remove the asbestos boiler lagging, and rather than putting it back, maybe with foam spacers or something, they just painted the boiler black, replacing a mild asbestos hazard with the mechanical hazard of all the boiler stays sticking out, which were originally covered by the shroud.

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