EMD NW2, order #6036-1, serial #10598, 1949
Built as Arkansas & Louisiana Missouri Railway #10 in October 1949 by the General Motors Electro-Motive Division (EMD), it was the sole NW2 purchased by the 53-mile shortline railroad which straddled the Louisiana-Arkansas border. The A&LM remained an independent operation until 1991 when the forestry company Georgia-Pacific purchased the railroad using a similarly-named subsidiary company, the Arkansas, Louisiana & Mississippi Railroad, or AL&M. The locomotive was numbered from #10 to #1001 in 1993.
In January 1996, the locomotive was transferred from its home rails on the A&LM to the Georgia-Pacific-owned pulp and specialty paper mill at Nekoosa, Wisconsin. In 2001, the mill and its railroad equipment were sold by Georgia-Pacific to Canadian paper company Domtar. The #1001 retained its number during this transition.
In March 2003 #1001 Domtar had the prime mover rebuilt, increasing the locomotive’s horsepower from 900 to 1200. Low-voltage wiring was also replaced and an AAR control stand was installed in spring 2004. Domtar continued using #1001 at their Nekoosa mill until 2017 at which time switching duties were transitioned entirely to Trackmobiles and the #1001 was listed for sale.
With Mid-Continent Railway Museum’s MCRY #7 locomotive being taken out of service for significant maintenance work, a replacement backup for Mid-Continent’s main duty engine, MCRY #1256, was needed. A museum member donated the $40,000 purchase price plus the cost of shipping the locomotive to North Freedom via rail, allowing Mid-Continent to purchase the locomotive on July 31, 2018. The #1001 arrived at North Freedom on November 29, 2018.
Domtar gave Mid-Continent permission to keep the Domtar name and logo on the locomotive until the locomotive needs repainting, provided no changes are made to it other than adding the mandatory Mid-Continent Railway (MCRY) reporting marks. Although wearing Domtar paint, the locomotive is officially known as MCRY #1001.
Brake system modifications, new batteries, and other work were required before the locomotive would be ready to pull passenger trains at Mid-Continent. The #1001 is expected to make its debut run at Mid-Continent Railway Museum sometime in 2021.
EMD produced 1,145 of the prolific NW2s between February 1939 and December 1949. In the NW2 model designation, the “N” stands for nine-hundred horsepower, the “W” stands for welded frame, and the “2” denotes it as the second in the model line, following the NW1 model.
The power, affordability, and durability of the 125-ton locomotive proved popular. Over 50 Class 1 railroads, plus many smaller railroads and industries purchased NW2s, leading them to be a ubiquitous sight in railyards and industries for decades.