WASILLA — Locally owned Central Environmental Inc. has made a $46,500 in-kind donation in the form of asbestos abatement services to the Engine No. 557 Restoration Co., an Alaska nonprofit corporation established to restore to operating condition one of the Alaska Railroad’s former steam locomotives.
To facilitate the safe restoration of the once proud steam locomotive, CEI’s professional abatement workers spent more than a week on this project. CEI removed asbestos-containing boiler insulation, pipe wraps and other miscellaneous asbestos-containing materials. With the asbestos removed and the engine cleaned, the hard working volunteers can resume restoration work.
“It’s amazing how much progress the volunteer crews have already accomplished on locomotive No. 557 in just two months of work. It was important for us to see these dedicated individuals have a safe working environment and keep the momentum going,” said Stuart Jacques, president of CEI. “With the continued support of the community and volunteers, it won’t be long before we see old Engine No. 557 under steam again.”
Before the Parks Highway or Seward Highway existed, locomotive No. 557 and others like it served the state transporting goods and people between the ports of Seward, Whittier and Anchorage and the Interior. There is a lot of history with this steam engine and the state. Engine No. 557 was built for the U.S. Army Transportation Corps and arrived in Alaska in December 1944. It was retired in June 1963 and sold to a scrap dealer in Washington in 1964.
For more information regarding Engine No. 557’s history, background, mechanical specifications and to continue following this project, visit alaskarails.org and review the Engine No. 557 pages.
Tax-deductible contributions to support the Engine No. 557 restoration effort may be made to: Alaska Community Foundation Engine 557 Restoration Fund, 400 L St., Suite 100, Anchorage, AK 99501, or online at alaskacf.org.