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History of the Old Steam Powered Locomotive at Westbrook Factory Stores - Fireless Porter Steam Loco

Updated on May 4, 2012

The last steam train to operate in CT

Front view of the Porter Fireless
Front view of the Porter Fireless
The Porter Fireless on display at the Westbrook Factory Stores outlet mall.
The Porter Fireless on display at the Westbrook Factory Stores outlet mall. | Source

How did a historic Porter locomotive end up at a outlet mall?

A Steam Locomotive

If you've ever taken a trip over to the outlet malls in Westbrook, CT, you might have noticed the old locomotive they have on display and wondered what its all about. Here is the history of this old Porter "Fireless" locomotive and how it came to be displayed at a shopping mall.

A History

The steam locomotive was built in 1930 by the H.K. Porter Company of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. The purchaser was the Huron Milling Company, which used the locomotive at its milling plant at Harbor Beach, Michigan.

In 1947 it was sold to the Connecticut Coke Company and was used at that company's plant in New Haven to haul coal and materials around the work yard. Connecticut Coke Company was sold in 1950 to the Koppers Company, which continued to operate the fuel company.

In 1952 this steam locomotive, which had provided its worth over two decades, was rebuilt. With a new, all welded boiler built by the Bigelow Boiler Company, the locomotive continued in operation, hauling freight around the plant yard until 1960. Records show that this was the LAST STEAM LOCOMOTIVE TO OPERATE IN CONNECTICUT in regular freight service.

The Restoration

Very few Porter Fireless steam locomotives were built and sold. Their scarcity, and this particular steam locomotive's history as the last steam locomotive to operate in regular freight service in Connecticut, make this a unique restoration.

The Valley Railroad Company (a tourist train attraction in Essex, CT) received the Porter Fireless as a donation. It was stored on the property until, through the help of the Friends of the Valley Railroad, a nonprofit group dedicated to preserving trains, funds could be raised for restoration. Because this locomotive's significance to Connecticut, Westbrook Factory Stores underwrote the project.

The locomotive received a new cab and new boiler jacket. It was chipped free of rust and old paint, primed and repainted. The cab work includes new woodwork, windows and doors. The new sheet metal boiler jacket gives the locomotive its original smooth appearance, protecting its insulation and hiding all the seams and rivets.

Valley Railroad, Essex CT

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    • peanutroaster profile image
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      peanutroaster 3 years ago from New England

      Cool!

    • profile image

      George lee 4 years ago

      My uncle. Charley lanZA ran that train

    • peanutroaster profile image
      Author

      peanutroaster 6 years ago from New England

      Thanks Ruby - Kids love to see trains up close - They can't believe how big they really are in real life.

    • Ruby H Rose profile image

      Maree Michael Martin 6 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

      I LOVE trains, everything about them. Thanks for the great hub.

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