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Museum loco for locomotive

March 22, 2005|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

HAFERSTOWN - The "Dinky" locomotive at St. Lawrence Cement is more than 50 years old, is worn by time and has, in essence, outlived its usefulness.

Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum President Robert "Bob" Tracey Sr. said he is so ecstatic that the museum will soon have it that he's getting ready to pop some champagne.

St. Lawrence Cement has agreed to donate a 1948 locomotive that had been used at its Hagerstown plant to the museum, plant general manager Gary Batey said.

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Batey said railroad transport of cement has not been used there for about one year, though it had been the only mode of transporting the product for many years. The 1948 locomotive was used to place rail cars on the tracks as they awaited shipping trains. In time, it was replaced by another piece of machinery.

Batey said "Dinky," nicknamed for its odd and small design, outlived its usefulness after more than three decades of use, and the local railroad museum seemed like a fitting place for it.

"We ended up disposing of a piece of equipment and they'll get usefulness out of it," Batey said. "Besides, who wants to cut up a nice piece of iron like that?"

Tracey said he had been needling Batey about the light blue-and-white locomotive, which still runs, for years.

"Every once in a while, I would nudge Gary and say, 'That would look nice behind the Roundhouse,'" Tracey said.

The Hagerstown Roundhouse museum is dedicated to promoting awareness of railroad history in the Hagerstown area through restoration, preservation, entertainment and education, according to information released by the museum.

Tracey said the locomotive will stay in Hagerstown because it represents support from local industry.

Tracey said the locomotive is rare because, though it runs on dual diesel engines, it looks and acts like a steam engine. It also has side rods that act as counterweights to aid with traction.

Tracey said he hopes the new addition to the museum will translate into increased attendance at this year's Railroad Heritage Days in June and beyond. He said the locomotive already has caused a stir with some enthusiasts.

"Everybody's really excited about it. The railroad community is running crazy with this one," he said.

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