Steam Locomotive No. 4039

Steam Locomotive No. 4039 was built November 1942 for the U.S. War Department by the American Locomotive Company (ALCO) of Schenectady, NY (ALCO Construction No. 70421; Corps of Engineers Spec. No. T-1560; Purchase Order No. DA1873). Eighty (Nos. 4000-4079) nearly identical "060-155"-class locomotives were constructed. Their intended purpose was for U.S. military service in the Far East, Africa and Europe during World War II. However, upon delivery to the Army all of the engines were instead used to switch various stateside military bases throughout the duration of the war.

Principal dimensions are as follows:

Overall Length: 60'7"
Boiler Pressure: 190 lbs psi
Engine & Tender Weight in Working Order: 270,500 lbs
Driving Wheel Diameter: 44"
Tender Capacity: 8 tons coal
6,000 gallons water
1,5000 gallons fuel oil

(Note: Locomotive was converted from coal-burning to oil firing in 1966. The conversion was not unusual since several of these Army locomotives were originally fitted with oil-firing systems when built.)

No. 4039 is known as an 0-6-0 "Switching"-type locomotive by the railroad industry. Built for Standard Gauge (4'8-1/2") track, the 4000-series locomotives were designed as a move to standardize parts and interchangeability of equipment. These locomotives were apparently based on a United States Railroad Administration design dating from World War I.
With America's entry into the Second World War, the design was updated to include front-mounted air pumps and a weight of about four tons less than the 1917-1918 version due to lighter materials used. The 4000-series engines were powerful little machines and were capable of high rates of acceleration. Of the eighty engines assembled for the war effort, the first forty-three were built by ALCO in late 1942.
Two years later, thirty-seven more were built by the Lima Locomotive Works of Lima, Ohio. No. 4039 is from the original batch constructed by ALCO.
During WWII, in the midst of a vast war production, the men and women of the American Locomotive Company produced 7,362 Army tanks, tank destroyers, shells, bombs, gun carriages, gun mounts and 4,488 locomotives. Employment increased three-fold to over 15,000 people by 1945.
No. 4039's Army service is, unfortunately, sketchy at best, since most of the information on where these particular locomotives were assigned, etc., was destroyed during the 1960's by the War Assets Administration. Many of the engines were declared surplus in 1946, and several wound up in Norway, but never operated there... instead, they were broken up for parts. Several more operated in Army training status at the Fort Eustis (VA) Military Railroad during the 1950's.

A few, like No. 4039, were eventually sold to various industrial and shortline railroads, including New Jersey's own Raritan River Rail Road, which wound up purchasing 7 of the military veterans.

On February 17, 1947, the War Assets Administration sold No. 4039 as war surplus material to the Virginia Blue Ridge Railway (VBR) of Piney River, VA, where it was used in freight service until the early 1960's.
For the next 15 years, 4039, by now renumbered "5", hauled freight out of Piney River to the Southern Railway connection at Tye River, VA. Throughout the late 1950's and early 1960's, the former 4039 and its VBR stablemates became famous for being amongst the last remaining standard gauge steam locomotives in regular revenue freight operation in the continental United States. The locomotive was officially retired on August 1, 1963 when the VBR made the change over to diesel locomotives.
In late 1965 the VBR sold No. 5 (4039) to the Morris County Central Railroad (MCC), which was operating passenger rail excursions from Whippany, NJ. The engine was shipped to Morristown, NJ for a mechanical restoration that was completed in the Spring of 1966.
It was at this time that the locomotive was renumberd to its original "4039", as well as being converted to an oil firing system. Soon afterwards the engine regularly powered excursions out of Whippany and later, Newfoundland, NJ.
From 1966 through the end of 1980, No. 4039 wore the Morris County Central name on her tender and this is the service she is most remembered for. The locomotive was a favorite of engine crews and had an excellent reputation for reliability and operability.
No. 4039 handled the MCC's last passenger run from Newfoundland to Stockholm, NJ and return on December 14, 1980. It was the last regularly scheduled steam-powered passenger train to operate in Morris County, as well as in northern New Jersey. The engine was then withdrawn from service and has not operated since.
Over the next decade, No. 4039 was stored in the former MCC Newfoundland enginehouse while its ownership changed several times.
In October 1991, the locomotive was acquired by a private collector, and this time it was shipped to Honesdale, PA where the new owner planned to restore the engine to operation.
Through a series of events, the Whippany Railway Museum acquired No. 4039 on May 7, 1994.
On May 11, 1996 the Museum successfully brought the engine back to New Jersey where it was cosmetically restored and placed on public view at the Museum site.
On January 26, 1997 the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders adopted a Resolution designating Steam Locomotive No. 4039 as "The Official Steam Locomotive of Morris County." In December 2001, No. 4039 was entered into the New Jersey Register of Historic Places, and in March 2002, the locomotive was listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the U.S. Department of the Interior.
The Museum's ultimate goal is the preserve and rehabilitate to operating condition this Steam Locomotive that is historic to the region and one of the few remaining in North America. Once restored to operation it will run primarily on local area railroads. Additionally, it will also be available to other organizations throughout the State to promote historic preservation, education and appreciation of various modes of transportation.
No. 4039 has the potential to preserve our State's rich transportation heritage through an active, interpretive, mobile display (the steam locomotive) that will attract very favorable attention and greatly enhance the experience of those visitors who come into contact with this survivor of a bygone era.

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