Railroad Buff Leaves Iron Legacy

By WISE Web News

June 18, 2010 Updated Mar 28, 2009 at 5:18 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Indiana (Indiana's NewsCenter)--

Joy: He was very proud of his father. I think he worshiped his dad being on the train, I really do.

JIM GREW UP WATCHING HIS DAD CLIMB ABOARD 5362, A K-4 PASSANGER LOCOMOTIVE, AND STEAM OFF TO DISTANT CITIES AND TOWNS. AFTER HIS DAD DIED JIM DECIDED TO BUILD HIS OWN WORKING ONE-EIGHTH-SCALE STEAM ENGINE. JIM WAS A MACHINIST BY TRADE SO HE KNEW HOW TO DO IT, AND HE PICKED HIS DAD'S TRAIN, OLD 5362, TO MODEL HIS ENGINE AFTER. EIGHT YEARS OF METICULOUS WORK, AND JIM'S STEAM LOCOMOTIVE WAS FINISHED.

Joy: It's a man's machine. It was his baby.

AND IT IS A SPECTACULAR WORK OF ART, A COMPLETE WORKING COAL-BURNING STEAM ENGINE, EVERY PART A MINIATURE WORKING COPY OF HIS DADS LOCOMOTIVE.

Joy: He was so proud of that, Everybody that came here, if I had anybody, my furnace man, anybody that came out, my sewer man, they all had to go out to see Jim's train. They all marveled at it.

BUILDING MINI-5362 WAS ONLY HALF OF JIM'S FUN. HE'D HAUL IT TO TRACK LAYOUTS ACROSS THE MIDWEST AND FIRE IT UP…PLAY ENGINEER, AS HIS GRANDKIDS OR ANYONE ELSE WHO WANTED TO, RODE IN BACK.

Joy: Just about every weekend he'd take it to some track. I mean I was a railroad widow!

JIM DIDN'T HAVE LONG TO ENJOY HIS TRAIN. HE WAS DIAGNOSED WITH ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE SHORTLY AFTER IT WAS FINISHED, AND DIED LAST OCTOBER. BUT NOT BEFORE HE WILLED HIS BELOVED LOCOMOTIVE TO HIS DAUGHTER, INSTRUCTING HER TO SELL IT AND USE THE MONEY FOR HIS GRANDKIDS COLLEGE EDUCATIONS. THE GENEROUS ACT OF A SKILLED ARTISAN AND LOVING GRANDFATHER…IN THE FINEST TRADITION OF AMERICAN RAILROADING. ERIC OLSON OUT IN YOUR COUNTRY




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