Atlanta and West Point 290
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|Atlanta and West Point 290|
A&WP 290 in Southeastern Railway Museum shops as of December 2009.
Atlanta and West Point 290 is a steam locomotive built in 1926 by the Lima Locomotive Works for the Atlanta and West Point Railroad. The engine is a 4-6-2 Heavy Pacific-type steam locomotive, remarkably similar to Southern Railway's Ps-4 class. With sister locomotive No. 190 built for the Western Railway of Alabama, the 290 pulled the Crescent passenger train from Atlanta, Georgia, to Montgomery, Alabama, until the engine's retirement from revenue-producing service in 1954.
When the locomotive was taken out of service in 1954, fans of 290 established the "290 Club" which succeeded in persuading the Atlanta and West Point Railroad to preserve the locomotive rather than sell it for scrap. 290 remained on static display for several years before it was donated to the Atlanta Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society in 1961.
In the late 1980s, the New Georgia Railroad, an Atlanta-based steam excursion railroad, needed another locomotive and 290 was quickly restored. Under steam again for the first time in 1989, 290 pulled regular excursions in the Atlanta vicinity and made several longer excursions to other cities including a historic trip to Montgomery in 1992.
In 1991, 290 traveled to Norfolk Southern Norris Yard Steam Shop in Irondale, Alabama, for running-gear maintenance work to resolve hot-running bearings. Work was largely done by New Georgia personnel led by mechanic Bill Magee, utilizing Norfolk Southern's shop equipment. Shortly thereafter, the New Georgia Railroad stopped operating steam locomotives when the state government discontinued its funding. 290 operated for the last time under steam in 1992.
As of 2017, 290 was undergoing preservation at the Southeastern Railway Museum. There have been no legitimate opportunities to operate the locomotive in such a manner that justifies restoring her to operation. Therefore, she will be placed on display until such an opportunity presents itself.
The locomotive was the subject of Pentrex's New Georgia Steam Excursions: A&WP #290, a film appealing to railfans covering a ceremonial run between Atlanta and Montgomery over 290's home rails. The engine itself also made a cameo appearance the motion picture Fried Green Tomatoes.
- Hanson, Robert (2007). The West Point Route: The Atlanta & West Point Rail Road and The Western Railway of Alabama. TLC Publishing. ISBN 0-9766201-4-6.
- Llanso, Steve; Duley, Richard. "Western Railway of Alabama / Georgia Railroad / Atlanta & West Point / West Point Route 4-6-2 "Pacific" Type Locomotives". SteamLocomotive.com.