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
    • Removal of driver wheel tires, repairing and turning of driver centers, and delivery of new tires
    • Partial disassembly of boiler supports (furnace bearers), repair of cross braces, pad-welding of frame to eliminate wear
    • Machining of new parts included tapered bolts for the frame.
  • Boiler (Contracted)
    • Installation of all new firebox sheets, drilling of firebox sheets for staybolts, and riveting of mud-ring to boiler.
1744 driver tire removal via a ‘Ring of Fire’. Performed by NCRy Steam Department volunteers in our Brightside yard.

Our current fundraising for the end of 2022 and into 2023 for the #1744 revolves around the fabrication of the over 1400, yes over 1400, rigid and flexible staybolts needed to secure the 1744’s new firebox sheets in the boiler.   Due to the geometry of the boiler, staybolts must be fabricated in different lengths, and there are a few different configurations.  Since they are used in a pressure vessel, they must be fabricated out of certified materials.  These special requirements mean that a staybolt can cost anywhere between $50 (for a side-sheet staybolt) to $130 (for a flexible corner staybolt assembly).  This means we need upwards of $75,000 for the staybolts alone. 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.  

As of early March 2023, we are just about $12,500 shy of our $75,000 goal. Please see our progress staybolt below.

Figure 6: The inside SP 1744’s new firebox with holes drilled for new staybolts.
Photo courtesy of: Stathi Pappas – Stockton Locomotive Works.

Please consider sponsoring one or more bolts, or please donate 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 – 03/21/2023

Project #2

GN Ranch Car ‘Hidden Lake’

Great Northern Ranch Car ‘Hidden Lake.

The Great Northern Ranch Car arrived Feb 8th 2019 on property. The Interior is in good shape for what the car has been doing; sitting in the weather. It did have a leak in the vent area that caused some damage,but overall, it looks great.

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

MILESTONE 3/1/23 – First GN paint progress on one side of the Kitchen by Howard Wise.
Photo by Howard Wise – 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 the rebuild of the rear Maybach diesel prime mover and any financial assistance is welcome.

Steam Operations

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.

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.