Built by the AMERICAN LOCOMOTIVE COMPANY at their Dunkirk (N.Y.) works in August 1920, No. 40 has had a long and interesting career. It was one of an order for three identical units constructed for The Portland, Astoria & Pacific Railroad and hauled train loads of logs and lumber. Later it was sold to the Minarets & Western Railway for similar service. When that railroad could not pay its debts, the locomotive was given to the Southern Pacific Railroad, which sold it to a used locomotive dealer which in tum sold it to The Aberdeen & Rockfish Railroad in North Carolina.
On the A&R it pull freight and passenger trains until about 1950 when it was retired and stored in a small shed. Here it remained until it was discovered by an employee of the Valley Railroad. It was purchased in 1977 and loaded onto flat cars for it's trip to Essex and a new career pulling trainloads of tourist for the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat.
No. 40 is one of less than 200 steam locomotives in the United States which remain in operable condition. It burns about 2 tons of low sulfur coal for fuel each day and evaporates about 6000 gallons of water pulling a 400 ton train a total of 50 miles. It takes two people to operate a steam locomotive: an "engineer" to run it and a "fireman" to shovel coal into the firebox and maintain the proper level of water in the boiler.
The original Connecticut Valley Railroad was built in 1871. Today the tracks are owned by the state of Connecticut and leased to the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat, which provides the traveling public with a historic and enjoyable means of experiencing the Connecticut River valley.
J. David Conrad