How can I help?

Your generous donation and support is vitally important. Without your help we are limited in our ability to restore vintage Locomotives and Passenger Rail Cars.

We have several critical projects that we are fundraising for, but we welcome general donations as well.

Our current major fundraising projects include:

Project #1

Southern Pacific #1744

#1744 in service for its previous owner.
Image courtesy of Jim Wrinn

In 2020, the Pacific Locomotive Association (PLA) purchased a native Bay Area steam locomotive, the Southern Pacific #1744.  In that same year, we returned most of it to our Niles Canyon Railway to be rebuilt for operation. The boiler stayed behind at a contract shop in Colorado for work, however, that contractor & our boiler will soon be relocating to Northern California where the work will be completed.  

The 2-6-0 Mogul built by Baldwin in 1901 operated for many years out of Oakland on the SP Western Division and in California’s Central Valley where the Moguls were fondly called “Valley Mallets” (pronounced “Malleys”) by their crews. In later years the now famous locomotive operated on several of the last steam railfan excursions on the Southern Pacific. After retirement from service on the SP in 1958, the locomotive operated at the Heber Valley Railroad, moved to Texas and was restored for a brief period of operation in New Orleans. Iowa Pacific bought the locomotive and ran it on the San Luis & Rio Grande over Colorado’s La Veta Pass in tourist service during 2007 until it was sidelined with boiler issues. The locomotive was disassembled, boiler work started and then stopped. The locomotive has sat disassembled since 2008 with the boiler moving from Alabama to Texas and then back to Colorado during this time.

The PLA’s commitment and plan to return the #1744 to service will not be a quick or inexpensive proposition but we are looking forward to the future when she will once again steam on the Niles Canyon Railway. After many years of operating around the United States, the #1744 has returned home at a cost of over $30,000 alone to once again operate through Niles Canyon on the last leg of the Transcontinental Railroad.  Preliminary cost estimates for the entire project are over $500,000.

To date, the locomotive has seen a lot of active restoration including:

  • Frame and running gear (Volunteer & Contracted)
    • Cleaning (by needle gun), inspection, and priming of frame
    • Removal of drivers, main axle boxes, and spring rigging for inspection and repair which is ongoing with a contract shop.
    • Removal of driver wheel tires, repairing and turning of driver centers, delivery of new tires, installation of the new tires, and repainting of the drivers in preparation for re-install
    • Partial disassembly of boiler supports (furnace bearers), repair of cross braces, pad-welding of various parts of the frame to eliminate wear
    • Machining of new parts included tapered bolts for the frame and frame cross-member.
  • Boiler (Contracted)
    • Installation of all new firebox sheets, drilling of firebox sheets for staybolts, and riveting of mud-ring to boiler.
    • Fabrication of all staybolts for the boiler, including flexible caps and sleeves (partially funded by our generous donors and the Emery Rail Heritage Trust)
1744 driver tire removal via a ‘Ring of Fire’. Performed by NCRy Steam Department volunteers in our Brightside yard.
Two of three sets of SP #1744’s with new tires and new painting waiting their time to be reinstalled under the locomotive.
Photo by Chris Hauf – Used with permission.

Over the course of 2023 to date, we have raised just over $68,000, but we need to get to our stretch goal of $125,000! Our current fundraising for the end of 2023 and into 2024 for the #1744 revolves around the installation of the over 1400, yes over 1400, rigid and flexible staybolts needed to secure the 1744’s new firebox sheets in the boiler.   Additionally, we will finish paint the frame, start the re-assembly of the running gear, and rebuilding of the pilot truck. This is where we need your help as we want to raise not just $75,000, but would like to stretch to raising $125,000 for this part of the fundraising.  

SP #1744’s newly machined flexible staybolts.
Photo courtesy of: Stathi Pappas – Stockton Locomotive Works.
The inside SP 1744’s new firebox with holes drilled for new staybolts.
Photo courtesy of: Stathi Pappas – Stockton Locomotive Works.

Please consider a donation in any amount you see fit.   All donations are tax deductible.   You may donate online via the links to PayPal or ClubExpress.

We gladly accept donations by mail.  Please make checks payable to Pacific Locomotive Association (PLA)

Mail to: Pacific Locomotive Association,SP#1744 Restoration,  P.O. Box 515, Sunol,CA 94586-0515

For more information about online donating and future updates please visit our Facebook page and the 1744’s page our our website here. 

Your financial support is greatly appreciated as we work to welcome home this iconic historic treasure for the world to see.

Current progress – 11/27/2023

Project #2

GN Ranch Car ‘Hidden Lake’

Great Northern Ranch Car ‘Hidden Lake.

The Great Northern Ranch Car arrived Feb 8th 2019 on property. In that time, interior restoration has been started including an extensive cleaning and restoration of the kitchen. Many subsystems like refrigeration have been worked on and windows are undergoing rebuild.

On the side of the car show, all new steel was installed along the roof edge along with new steel at the bottom at the sill along with extensive steel replacement under the kitchen window and the western-most window on the car. Full GN paint and lettering has been applied to this side of the car and steel restoration is underway on the other side as of 6/1/2023.

More help is needed to keep the progress of putting the Hidden Lake back on the road.

Estimate Cost Restoration Summary:

  • Roof: $1500
  • Running Gear: $5000
  • Interior: $5000
  • Windows: $4950
  • Exterior Metal repair: $5000
  • Exterior Painting: $20,000
  • Kitchen: unknown
  • Electrical & Mechanical: $10,000
  • Reupholster and new flooring: $20,000

Total including all known restoration: $71,450.00

We gladly accept donations by mail.  Please make checks payable to Pacific Locomotive Association (PLA)

Mail to: Pacific Locomotive Association, Ranch car Restoration,  P.O. Box 515, Sunol,CA 94586-0515

Steel work underway on the opposite side from the painted side. This work is still in progress as of 7/16/2023
Photo by: Christopher Hauf – Used with permission

Project #3

Southern Pacific #9010

The SP9010, a Krauss-Maffei diesel built for Southern Pacific is being remanufactured by PLA/NCRy. This is the only Krauss-Maffei built for SP left in the world, and an International team has assembled the information and help needed to be successful. The team is currently focused on completing the reinstall of the rebuilt of the rear Maybach diesel prime mover and any financial assistance is welcome.

SP #9010 running under its own power for the first time with its rebuilt prime moving on 5/15/2023.


Clover Valley Lumber Co. #4 rolls over our Farwell Bridge pulling a period photo freight during a recent photo charter.

Donations for use in the PLA/NCRy Steam engine program. Used to maintain and restore the various steam engines at PLA/NCRy. The donor may specify a steam engine, other wise these funds will be used for all the restoration and repairs in the Steam operations at PLA/NCRy.

Car Department

Our open car, ‘K.C. Bones’, starting to receive new paint in July 2023.

Please consider a donation to our Car Department to support the maintenance and restoration of our passenger cars. Funds will aid in maintaining and improving our operating train set while also investing in the restoration of our historic passenger cars for use on special trains and our Train of Lights.

Facilities fund

Yosemite Valley Railroad #330 after receiving new paint in our car shop. Good facilities enable successful projects like this.

Please consider a donation to build out our facilities on the NCRy. Current projects include a Locomotive Maintenance Building and improvements to the Car Shop building seen here to allow our volunteers to work safely and efficiently.

General fund

Quincy Railroad Co. #2 switches in Sunol under the watchful eye of some of our visitors.

Pacific Locomotive Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving California’s rich railroad history.  Please help us continue our mission for current and future generations.

Mail your donation instead…

We gladly accept donations by mail.  Please make checks payable to Pacific Locomotive Association (PLA) and please make sure to mark your check if you wish the funds to go to a specific project or the general fund.

Mail to:
Pacific Locomotive Association
PO Box 515
Sunol,CA 94586-0515

Pacific Locomotive Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving California’s rich railroad history.