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Published on Nov 24, 2006
This goes to show that a little engine can make a lot of noise! SOO 353 is an 0-6-0 switch engine, built in August 1920, at the Brooks Works of American Locomotive Company for the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad, commonly known as the SOO LINE. Classified as a B-4 switch engine, the locomotive was equipped with power reverse, Walschaerts valve motion, piston valves, superheaters, and a 5000 gallon tender. It has two whistles, the larger one is a 6 chime and the smaller one is a 3 chime. The locomotive proper weighs 150,000 pounds, and nearly a quarter of a million pounds when filled with coal and water. The two pistons develop 31,200 pounds of starting tractive effort. The boiler operates at 180 PSI. As SOO 353 the locomotive assembled trains in marshaling yards in the Twin Cites and Duluth Minnesota, until it was sold to Koppers Coke in the 1950s. After years of hard abuse in a coking plant, the Minnesota Transportation Museum acquired the locomotive for its collection. Unable and unwilling to restore the locomotive, the MTM sold the locomotive to the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion for 800 dollars in 1972. Over the course of years, WMSTR volunteers painstakingly restored the locomotive to operating condition. SOO 353 operates annually at the WMSTR in Rollag Minnesota, providing free train rides for thousands of passengers every labor day weekend.