Clover Valley Lumber Steam Engine No. 4

By Joe Rosato Jr. • Published March 25, 2024

When it comes to railroad history, the Bay Area has a number of places where train enthusiasts can roll back time. But as time marches on, those museums are finding it difficult to keep these historic trains going. NBC Bay Area’s Joe Rosato Jr. reports.

In an unusual sort-of time-traveling-industrial-kinship, a historic Bay Area train steam engine in need of new parts is getting a helping hand from an equally historic gold country foundry. The history-inducing connection — brake shoes.

The Niles Canyon Railroad’s historic steam engine — Clover Valley Lumber Steam Engine No. 4, which this month turned 100 — was in need of new brake shoes, an important feature for a hundred-ton behemoth.

“We wouldn’t be able to stop,” said Alan Siegwarth, a volunteer engineer with the railroad. “So we wouldn’t be able to run this locomotive without new brake shoes.”

As you might imagine, vintage steam engine parts aren’t the kind of thing you can just roll down and pick up at the local auto parts store. And these days, the kind of iron foundries that would’ve crafted such a part back in the day are exceedingly rare. Therein lies the rub.

“There’s very few places we could get them,” said Siegwarth.

This is where Sutter Creek’s Knight Foundry saves the day!

See full article here.