steam locomotive lands in La Grange
engine is on display
as part of new train museum
(September 2011) La Grange, Ky., residents
may notice something new parked in the downtown area next time they
pass by east Main Street. The Flying Duchess steam locomotive
was delivered and perched on a set of track just outside the La Grange
Train Depot, which serves as home to the Oldham County Chamber of Commerce
at 412 E. Main St.
The chamber has moved upstairs to accommodate a new train museum on
the first floor, which will now showcase the train car and a caboose
that will soon arrive to accompany it.
by DeAnna Mavrick
place the locomotive onto a
set of tracks where it will be on
display and dedicated at the Sept. 16-17
La Grange Railroad & Antique Festival.
The Louisville Harrods Creek & Westport Railway Foundation,
owner of the Flying Duchess, recently agreed to loan the steam locomotive
to the Ohio Valley Railroad Historical Foundation Inc. for 20 years
with an option to transfer ownership to foundation at any time.
Dozens of people turned out Aug. 23 to watch workers unload the huge
steam locomotive. On Aug. 24, workers used lifts to set the engine onto
a set of tracks ouside the depot. Foundation members plan to dedicate
the locomotive during the second annual La Grange Railroad & Antique
Festival, set for Sept. 16-17, according to member Bob Widman. Inside
members have set up several model train displays and historical items
about the county's train history. The festival will take place from
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at La Grange City Hall, 301 W. Jefferson St. Vendors
will set up and sell memorabilia.
The steam locomotive 7745 (MEA No. 2) named Flying Duchess
was built in England by the Robert Stephenson & Hawthorne Co. in
1952. Upon close inspection it may seem clear that the Flying Duchess
was built upon the same design as the famous childrens TV character,
Thomas the Tank Engine.
The Duchess is an outside-cylindered side tank locomotive that weighs
about 50 tons. The design became a standard for the British Electricity
Authority for use at its large power stations throughout the United
Kingdom. The BEA had a requirement for locomotives capable of taking
over a 1,000 ton train from a British Railways locomotive for the final
stage of its journey to the coal tipplers.
The Flying Duchess was delivered to the Meaford Power Station and was
operational until it was sold in the early 1970s. The Flying Duchess
left the United Kingdom and was shipped and delivered to the Boyne City
Railroad in Grand Falls, Mich. It is reported that when Boyne City failed,
the Flying Duchess was sold and moved to Tennessee in the early 1980s.
In 2000 the locomotive again was sold and moved first to Indiana and
later to a scrap yard in Louisville, Ky. Now the Flying Duchess has
found a new home in La Grange.
Foundation members say they are confident that the locomotive will serve
as another tourist attraction that will complement the already famous
active CSX rail line that runs through the middle of downtown La Grange
on Main Street.
With the move to La Grange, a fundraising campaign is already under
way to restore the Flying Duchess to its glory days. Anyone interested
in contributing to this effort may contact Widman at (502) 930-9430
or Jim Zimmerman at (502) 599-5101.
Back to September 2011