Ferroequus 2100, a Fully Restored Dual-Tender 4-8-4 Looking for a Permanent Home

by Ken Humphreys

On June 18, 2009 while visiting our son Ken, Jr. in Richland, Washington I was travelling with him when he said, "You will be interested in seeing what is up ahead." I was stunned to see a massive steam locomotive sitting on a siding of the Horn Rapids Railroad Spur of the City of Richland. There in the high desert of Eastern Washington State was a beautiful, fully restored 4-8-4 sitting on an unprotected railroad spur, inviting anyone and everyone to climb and crawl all over her. Other than a derailer in front of the loco, there was nothing to protect her in any way.

According to our son, the loco had been sitting on that siding for quite some time. We enquired at an industrial factory sitting just beyond the loco and was told that "someone" had just parked her there for storage. They didn't know anything else about her or who that "someone" was. We took a lot of photos from all directions and then went to our son's home to do some Internet research. We learned that the loco, now painted with the name Ferroequus (iron horse in Latin), is an ex-Reading Railroad 2-8-0, one of 30 2-8-0s built around 1923 for the Reading Railroad by the Baldwin Locomotive Works. In 1945, Reading needed larger, more powerful locos to pull heavy Pennsylvania coal trains so the locos were rebuilt as T-1 class 4-8-4s. This loco was originally numbered as 2020 but was renumbered as 2100 after the rebuild.

The loco was retired by Reading in the early 1960s and served periodically thereafter in excursion service. There were a number of owners over the next 20 years, one of which was a scrap yard. Fortunately she was not scrapped. Ross Rowland of the High Iron Co. ran excursions with 2100 in the late 60s and 70s. In 1988 a group headed by Richard Kughn of Lionel Trains bought her and restored her at a cost of over $1,000,000.

No railroad was willing to accommodate such a large locomotive and Ferroequus 2100 was put into storage at the Ohio Central Railroad until 1998. Subsequently she was purchased by Thomas Payne Holdings of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and moved to the Elgin County Railway Museum in St. Thomas, Ontario where she was converted to burn oil. A number of other modifications were made to bring the loco up to modern standards. The lead tender shows a fuel capacity of 5,000 gallons with a water capacity of 20,000 gallons. The auxiliary tender, numbered 21002, is much larger than the lead tender. I did not note what its capacity is. With both tenders 2100 obviously can travel substantial distances without refueling.

In 2006 Ferroequus was moved to the Tacoma area of Washington State and ran in excursion service briefly on the Golden Pacific Railroad before being foreclosed by Charles (Chuck) Allard, a prominent Canadian broadcast operator and a former investor in Thomas Payne Holdings, Inc. Some reports state that Allard has turned down offers in excess of $300,000 for the engine. She now (July 2009) sits forlornly on a siding of the Horn Rapids Railroad Spur in Richland, WA. Ferroequus still bears the AAR reporting mark TPHX for Thomas Payne Holdings. Hopefully the owner will arrange for her to be placed back in service somewhere or be given to a major museum more accessible to railfans before Ferroequus begins to deteriorate. Reportedly 2100 will require FRA boiler recertification before she can run again. Where she sits now is an obscure location and, while it is desert and relatively free of rain and severe weather, Ferroequus is an open invitation to vandalism and theft. The bell alone has got to be a tempting target for thieves.

Click on each image below to see its full sized version and related photos. All images are copyrighted by Ken Humphreys.


City of Richland Sign at Horn Rapids Spur
Side of Ferroequus showing her number and name
Right and left side views of Ferroequus 2100
Front views of Ferroequus 2100 showing her number plate, bell and headlamp
Closeup ot the massive driving wheels of 2100
Closeup views of the dual tenders showing their markings
The massive auxiliary tender on Ferroequus 2100

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