The repainting of the locomotive on display in Brit Spaugh Park has started, but Mother Nature is delaying the restoration, said Scott Keeler, Great Bend public lands director.
“The wind has hampered their spraying,” Keeler said. Komstad Painting of Great Bend has power washed old Engine 3416, treated the rust and started the painting, but is at a standstill until the gusts subside.
“That’s quite a project,” Keeler said. There are a lot of pipes and other intricate parts that need treatment.
It was estimated that the work would take a week or a week and a half, but that may change now. After the locomotive and the tender car are painted, the gray detailing and white numbers and letters have to be redone.
“It will look very, very nice when its finished,” Keeler said. The train has been repainted once before, about 15 or 20 years ago.
On Sept. 8, the Great Bend City Council approved a proposal from Komstad for $5,425. City Administrator Howard Partington said the city had sought other proposals but this was the only one received.
The funds for the project were given to the city by an anonymous donor.
According to information from the website rgusrail.com and the Barton County Historical Society, the Baldwin Company built 50 3400-class Pacific-type locomotives for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad between 1919 and 1924. Designed by John Purcell, who became the AT&SF’s head of motive power in 1912, they were the last Pacifics bought by the Santa Fe.
Number 3416 was built in 1919 at a cost of $69,800. It hauled passenger trains on the Illinois and Missouri divisions of the Eastern Lines, but also on all divisions on the Western Lines and the Northern Division of the Gulf Line.
The 3400s were built for coal power. But from 1935 to 1941, the AT&SF’s Topeka shops rebuilt them as oil burners.
The engine Weighs 319,794 pounds and the tender weighs 253,720 pounds with a 20,000 gallon water and 7,000 gallon oil capacity.
Retirements of the 3400s started in 1950. By 1955 only five were left, all of which were saved for display.
From 1919 until it was retired in 1953, Great Bend’s 3416 traveled over 2.2 million miles. It was donated to the City of Great Bend on Sept. 18, 1956, by the AT&SF.