Mystery Large Scale Live Steamer

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Kimball McGinley
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Mystery Large Scale Live Steamer

Post by Kimball McGinley » Wed Aug 17, 2011 7:28 pm

Found on another site today: West of Medford, Oregon, on the Old Stage Road/route 20, sits this relic. Anyone enlighten us?

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Re: Mystery Large Scale Live Steamer

Post by Miserlou57 » Wed Aug 17, 2011 9:24 pm

I wanna say the name 'Bert Beecher' comes to mind with this. Also, I think the property had a smaller gauge loop of track rusting away nearby or something, but it's been over a decade since I've been there and I can't remember.

It sure is a cool piece of equipment. Crawling in the cab, it appears as though the thing was intended to actually run. Not sure of the history though, or if it ever did...
Last edited by Miserlou57 on Wed Aug 17, 2011 9:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Mystery Large Scale Live Steamer

Post by Dick_Morris » Wed Aug 17, 2011 9:25 pm

This is a good resource for tracking down surviving steam locomotives.

Rob Gardner
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Re: Mystery Large Scale Live Steamer

Post by Rob Gardner » Wed Aug 17, 2011 10:10 pm

Yes, Bert Beecher built this locomotive. It is a 24" gauge model of an SP GS-1 4-8-4. I understood that it did operate when first built but obviously hasn't run in a while. Not a bad looking model. Should be under cover and dressed up at least to look complete.

Would love to hear more about the history of this engine. THere has to be one heck of a story behind. Maybe he didn't want Ralph MacAllister's monster 14" guage 2-8-8-4 to be the biggest miniature steam locomotive ever built?

Bert also built an 18" gauge 2-6-0 that ran on the Meadow & Lake Kathleen RR in Deadwood, Oregon. Not sure if it is for sale along with the RR or not.

Rob Gardner

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Re: Mystery Large Scale Live Steamer

Post by Harlock » Wed Aug 17, 2011 10:47 pm

Rob Gardner wrote: Bert also built an 18" gauge 2-6-0 that ran on the Meadow & Lake Kathleen RR in Deadwood, Oregon. Not sure if it is for sale along with the RR or not.

Rob Gardner
The engine at the Meadows & Lake Kathleen is a Coffman. If not it was reconstituted from Coffman parts. I visited there in 2009 as part of my triennial trip.

Oscar Coffman produced park trains first in Los Angeles and then later from Flagstaff, AZ. The other Coffman I have had contact with is a 2-6-2 from the former Snug Harbor Railroad in Coos Bay. That one is rusting away in Healdsburg, CA in an outbuilding on a winery vineyard. Note the identical cylinders. The M&LK Coffman is considered to be the best preserved example.
M&LK 2-6-0 Coffman in 2009
M&LK 2-6-0 coffman in 2009
Former Snug Harbor Railroad Coffman 2-6-2 Prairie in 2009.
The Snug Harbor Coffman in better days.
snug1.jpg (70.09 KiB) Viewed 1957 times
The Snug Harbor engine in 1987 with former owner Aldo Alberigi, on his ranch.
Last edited by Harlock on Thu Aug 18, 2011 2:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mystery Large Scale Live Steamer

Post by Doug_Edwards » Wed Aug 17, 2011 11:50 pm

The northern was built by Bert Beecher and his father. I never met his father, I think he had passed away by the time I met Bert in the middle 60's. At that time the boiler had not yet been attached to the chassis.

Bert used to run the loco south of Ashland, where the loco could be seen from the freeway.

The loco may have been inspired by the GS-1 class, but it has Baker valve gear, while the GS-1 had Walchearts.

The mogul that Bert has was purchased from the late Jack Berry of the Albany-Salem area. I don't remember the history of the engine before Jack, if I ever knew.

Bert could probably be reached through someone at the SOLS, or So. Oregon chapter of the NRHS. Bert was a charter member of both organizations, and I understand shows up on occasion at the Medford RR park where both entities have a presence.


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Re: Mystery Large Scale Live Steamer

Post by jcbrock » Tue Aug 08, 2017 9:26 pm

I saw the Northern today, I don't know any of the how/who/why but the where is now the Blue Heron French Cheese Company on Hwy 101 just north of Tillamook, OR. 2001 Blue Heron Dr, Tillamook, Oregon. Sitting in a field displayed with other miscellaneous unrestored antique equipment. It definitely is large, and I was surprised all 4 drivers were flanged.
John Brock

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