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Soo Line 2719
Soo Line No. 2719 steams into Two Harbors, Minnesota on September 20, 2009
Power type Steam
Builder American Locomotive Company (ALCO)
Serial number 64314
Model H-23
Build date May 1923
Total production 6
Configuration 4-6-2
UIC classification 2′C1′ h2
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Leading wheel diameter 36 in (914 mm)
Driver diameter 75 in (1,905 mm)
Trailing wheel diameter 50 in (1,270 mm)
Wheelbase 31 ft 10 in (9.70 m)
Length Loco: 46 ft 7+12 in (14.21 m),
Loco & tender: 82 ft 6+34 in (25.17 m)
Width 10 ft 5 in (3.18 m)
Height 15 ft 3+12 in (4.66 m)
Weight on drivers 172,400 lb (78,200 kilograms; 78.2 tonnes)
Locomotive weight 281,080 lb (127,500 kilograms; 127.50 tonnes)
Locomotive and tender combined weight 497,080 lb (225,470 kilograms; 225.47 tonnes)
Fuel type Coal
Fuel capacity 35,000 lb (16,000 kilograms; 16 tonnes)
Water capacity 12,000 US gal (45,000 L; 10,000 imp gal)
Boiler pressure 200 lbf/in2 (1.38 MPa)
Feedwater heater Worthington SCA-2A
Fire grate area 52.75 sq ft (4.901 m2)
Heating surface: Flues 3,172 sq ft (294.7 m2)
Heating surface: Firebox 207 sq ft (19.2 m2)
Heating surface: Total 4,639 sq ft (431.0 m2)
Superheater area 1,260 sq ft (117 m2)
Cylinders Two, outside
Cylinder size 25 in × 26 in (635 mm × 660 mm)
Valve gear Walschaerts
Valve type Piston valves
Tractive effort 36,833 lbf (163.84 kN)
Factor of adhesion 4.68
Number in class 2 of 6
Locale Wisconsin and Minnesota, United States
Delivered May 1923
Retired June 21, 1959 (revenue service)
September 2013 (excursion service)
Restored 1996–1998
Current owner Lake Superior Railroad Museum
Disposition On static display, based in Duluth, Minnesota
Soo Line Locomotive 2719
Location Duluth, Minnesota
Built by American Locomotive Company
NRHP reference No. 93001453
Added to NRHP January 10, 1994

Soo Line 2719 is a 4-6-2 "Pacific" type steam locomotive built by the American Locomotive Company (ALCO) for use on passenger trains operated by the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railway ("Soo Line"). The 2719 was used to haul the Soo Line's last steam-powered train, a June 21, 1959 round-trip excursion between Minneapolis, Minnesota and Ladysmith, Wisconsin. It was then displayed in Eau Claire, Wisconsin until 1996. It was restored and operated in excursion service from 1998 until 2013 when its boiler certificate expired. Today, the locomotive remains on display in Duluth, Minnesota.


No. 2719 was built by the American Locomotive Company (ALCO) in May, 1923 in Schenectady, New York. It was one of 6 H-23 Pacific class steam locomotives built for the Soo Line. It operated until the mid-1950s when it was overhauled and put into storage. It was brought out of retirement to haul the last steam trains on Soo Line's tracks in 1959. It is estimated that the 2719 traveled more than 3 million miles during its time on the Soo Line. The locomotive was then donated to the City of Eau Claire, Wisconsin and displayed in Carson Park until 1996.

Excursion career

Soo Line hauling a passenger excursion in 2007.

On May 23, 1996, a fundraising dinner, entitled "An Evening in the Club Car", was held at the Holiday Inn Convention Center in Eau Claire, WI to benefit the restoration of 2719. The restoration was undertaken by the Locomotive and Tower Preservation Fund, Ltd. After a very aggressive restoration schedule, the inaugural running was on September 19, 1998, running a "triple-headed excursion" with Northern Pacific class S-10 328 and Soo Line 1003. 2719 did not have a museum and excursions occurred over different tracks belonging to different railroads.

In June 2000, 2719 was moved to the Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad in Spooner. It operated during the summers in Spooner until the purchase of the Wisconsin Central by Canadian National Railway in 2001. It returned to the roundhouse in Altoona, Wisconsin for the winter.

With the last excursion run in 2003 and with the Altoona, Wisconsin roundhouse being razed on June 1, 2004, 2719 was facing a bleak future. 2719 was stored outside, exposed to the elements until the end of 2006.

On December 17, 2006, 2719 was moved to the Lake Superior Railroad Museum. The museum operates the North Shore Scenic Railroad. After extensive work during the summer of 2007, the engine was test fired on August 24, 2007, and made a successful round trip test run from Duluth to Two Harbors, Minnesota on August 25, 2007. Soo Line 2719 ran a regular excursion schedule from 2007 to 2013.

In May 2013, it met Milwaukee Road 261 for the first time. Soo 2719 pulled special excursions for that weekend (National Train Day).

2719's FRA boiler flue time was to expire on July 31, 2013, but its flue time was extended so that it could operate into late summer of 2013. It pulled its final excursion on September 14, 2013, and afterward, Soo Line 2719 was to have gotten its 15-year rebuild. However, because of ownership disputes, it was drained to the Lake Superior Railroad Museum for display instead. In June 2015, the 2719 was purchased by the LSRM.

Historical significance and preservation

The 2719 was used to haul the Soo Line's last steam-powered train between Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Ladysmith, Wisconsin, on June 21, 1959.

2719 was also able to have the distinction of being the last steam-powered engine to operate out of Ladysmith, Wisconsin, on former Soo Line trackage in 2001. The locomotive was stored again in 2003, but in 2005 discussions were held to move the locomotive to the Lake Superior Railroad Museum in Duluth, Minnesota. With assistance from the L&TPF, Ltd., the museum relocated the locomotive in December 2006. The museum leased the locomotive and operated #2719 through its affiliate, the North Shore Scenic Railroad.

Since 2013, with 2719 no longer in operation, it is displayed at the Lake Superior Railroad Museum. In 2019, the 2719 was displayed outside for the first time (not under the parking ramp) along with Duluth and Northern Minnesota 14 to welcome Union Pacific 4014 during its midwest tour stop in Duluth.

Ownership changes

After deciding to restore the D&NE #28 back to operation, the museum abandoned plans to restore the 2719 back to operation. This sparked the L&TPF to seek other options for the 2719. On February 21, 2015, the Locomotive & Tower Preservation Fund approached the City of Eau Claire, WI, and offered to sell 2719 back to the city for $1, with the city also covering the cost of the $135,000 shelter to house the locomotive. It came at great surprise to the Lake Superior Railroad Museum, as they were unaware of the talk to move the engine back to permanent outdoor display. The L&TPF weren't interested in renewing the lease with the LSRM, which expired in 2015.

The LSRM was originally seeking $305,000 in 2011 to restore it back to operation after its 15-year limited expired in 2013. However, after 2719's last run, the museum announced it was restoring a different steam locomotive (that the museum owned) to operation in time for the 2016 season, postponing hopes of 2719 return to steam.

The city of Eau Claire attempted to raise funds to return the locomotive but was highly unsuccessful. The L&TPF announced that if the city didn't want the locomotive back, it would look for offers elsewhere.

On February 24, 2015, the city decided it wanted up to two months to make its decision on 2719. It was likely that the city would buy 2719 for $1, then sell it back to the Lake Superior Railroad Museum for $2, as the city council seemed to agree they'd rather have 2719 be restored to operation in the future than sitting on permanent display.

The city, however, wanted this time extension to explore all options available. Representatives from the Lake Superior Railroad Museum were present at the meeting and promised if 2719 stayed in Duluth, it could possibly run again.

On May 11, 2015, the city of Eau Claire held a community meeting to debate what the city's intentions for the locomotive would be. Some community members argued the locomotive should be returned to its home in Eau Claire, while others suggested that the Lake Superior Railroad Museum would make a better home for 2719.

The city council discussed 2719's fate on May 12. The council could not reach a majority, and another debate was planned for June. The council wanted the first right of refusal should 2719 be sold by the Lake Superior Railroad Museum sometime in the future.

On Tuesday, June 9, 2015, the city of Eau Claire, WI, the Locomotive & Tower Preservation Fund, and the Lake Superior Railroad Museum agreed to an immediate sale of the locomotive from the city to the LSRM. The city of Eau Claire was given repurchase rights of the locomotive for 3 years if the city decides they want the locomotive back. The Lake Superior Railroad Museum, as part of the deal, would pay for and design signage for the city where the locomotive was once displayed.

Eau Claire's "buy-back agreement" lasted three years for the city to find any way to restore and return the locomotive to the city.

In June 2018, the city of Eau Claire voted for an extension to 2019 for the right to repurchase the locomotive and return it to Eau Claire, the city then purchased the locomotive back from Duluth for $4 in August, and explored options to return the locomotive to Eau Claire from Duluth.

However, in April 2019, the City of Eau Claire decided to open leasing and/or purchasing options for the locomotive after realizing the substantial cost to relocate and protect the locomotive. LSRM in Duluth and city council members began new negotiations to keep the locomotive in Duluth and to alternate operating cycles with D&NE 28.

On October 22, 2019, the Eau Claire City Council voted to sell the locomotive back to the Lake Superior Railroad Museum for $8, with the hope that the museum will return her back to steam again.

Other H-23 class locomotives

There were six H-23 class locomotives built in May 1923. 2719 and 2718 are preserved.

  • 2718 - On display at the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay, Wisconsin
  • 2720 - Scrapped at United States Steel, July 19, 1951
  • 2721 - Scrapped at Purdy Company, November 13, 1950
  • 2722 - Scrapped at American Iron & Supply, December 28, 1954
  • 2723 - Scrapped at Purdy Company, November 13, 1950

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