The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Top Stories

June 23, 2013

SLIDE SHOW: Restoration in full swing on historic steam engine

CARONA, Kan. — Eight tons of sand on the ground near a historic Kansas City Southern steam engine means restoration is in full swing.

Engine 1023, built in 1906 and thought to be the last of its kind in existence, was moved last September from Schlanger Park in Pittsburg, where it had been on display since 1955, to the historic Carona Depot and Train Museum Complex.

Volunteers, businesses and members of Heart of the Heartlands rail club have been working to breathe new life into it, restoring and fabricating parts that had been vandalized, stolen or fallen into disrepair.

“Wednesday and Thursday, it was sandblasted, which explains all the sand laying on the ground around it,” pointed out Larry Spahn, a member of Heart of the Heartlands who took a day off work Friday to watch the progress.

Chris Helt, of Helt Construction Services in Cherryvale, began at 6 a.m. Friday applying gray primer. Wind gusts up to 25 mph necessitated stopping the primer work before it was finished. Helt said he plans to continue this week, then he will begin applying the exterior coat of glossy black.

Spahn said the sandblasting revealed parts and pieces that hadn’t been seen in a long time. He pointed out brass components and metal fittings that for decades had been hiding under rusted and faded black paint and layers of grime and oil.

“These are the air tanks, and there are the drive rods. Here’s the boiler,” Spahn said. “You don’t really get a true feeling for the size until you get up to it like this. And people haven’t been able to do that for a long time.”

At Schlanger Park, the engine and tinder car had been surrounded by a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire.

Spahn’s late son, John Spahn, a train enthusiast and an engineer with the Watco transportation company of Pittsburg, was the driver of the effort to get the engine and tinder car moved to Carona.

The decision was not without controversy: Opponents believed it should stay in Pittsburg, but the city didn’t have funding to repair and maintain it, so Heart of the Heartlands stepped in to direct its resurrection.

The younger Spahn died unexpectedly at age 34 last August, so he didn’t get to see the engine moved or the restoration work under way. But his father said the decision to move it was the right one, and he believes naysayers will be amazed at the transformation and their ability to access it up close when the work is complete.

The club plans to build a set of stairs up to the engine and a roof over it to protect it from the elements. Most likely, Spahn said, future visitors will be able to climb into the cab of the engine, where replacement windows soon will be installed and bright red paint will be applied to primed valves.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Spahn said. “It’s exciting to see some progress.”

1023 history

ENGINE 1023 was last used as a switcher in the Kansas City Southern rail yards in Pittsburg. Larry Spahn believes that before that, it was used on a line from Kansas City to Shreveport, La.

Text Only
Top Stories
  • 041814 EPA projects5_72.jpg Contaminated mine tailings could be used on west bypass

    About 500 acres of former mining land at Wildwood Ranch have been reclaimed by contractors working for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. More than 1 million cubic yards of contaminated mine tailings in the form of chat and waste rock have been consolidated in a surface repository that someday could be part of the roadbed for a limited-access highway that transportation planners hope to build on the west side of Joplin.

    April 20, 2014 4 Photos

  • Joplin City Council to hear baseball plan details

    Proposed redevelopment plans for Joe Becker Stadium will be discussed with the Joplin City Council in a work session at the end of its regular meeting tonight. The WLD Suarez partnership has obtained a franchise of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball that succeeds the El Paso (Texas) Diablos.

    April 20, 2014

  • Money to area lawmakers slows down but doesn’t stop

    With the Legislature back in session, the flow of campaign cash to local candidates has slowed. But in this election year, the money did not completely stop. All members of the local delegation to the Missouri General Assembly are on the ballot this year, but only two lawmakers are facing opposition.

    April 20, 2014

  • 041914 Wedding1_72.jpg VIDEO: Cancer patient walks down aisle in wedding thrown by friends

    A year ago, Schandera Jordan was diagnosed with a rare form cervical cancer. And months after a radical hysterectomy, doctors confirmed the worst: The cancer had spread to her lungs and pancreas.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • r041614giregabby.jpg SLIDE SHOW: Teen with cystic fibrosis finds widespread support

    When the Nevada Show Choir performs its spring show on stage, it’s impossible to pick out the student with cystic fibrosis because there are no outward clues.
    Gabby Gire, 18, is just another performer. She sings, she dances, she smiles for the audience.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • Enrollment open for Joplin summer school

    Enrollment is now open for the Joplin school district’s summer school session, which will run Wednesday, June 4, though Tuesday, July 1.

    April 19, 2014

  • r041814capbus4.jpg Funding shortfall could hinder public transportation in Southeast Kansas

    For the past two years, Pittsburg State University sophomore Travis Cook has been using public transportation to get to and from his classes. He began using the bus his freshman year, when he didn’t have a vehicle to drive even to the grocery store — which is said to be the case for many who use the service.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bruner denied change of venue for murder trial

    Circuit Judge Gayle Crane has denied a change of venue for a defendant charged with fatally shooting an assistant football coach at Missouri Southern State University. The attorney for Jeffrey Bruner claimed pretrial publicity as the reason for seeking a change of venue in Jasper County Circuit Court.

    April 18, 2014

  • Russell family sues city, Joplin police

    Family members of a teenage girl whose suicide a year ago brought them into conflict with police officers and emergency medical technicians are suing the city and the Joplin Police Department. Kevin and Julissa Russell and their son, Brant Russell, are the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in Jasper County Circuit Court. The action filed on the Russells’ behalf by Kansas City attorney Andrew Protzman names the city, the Police Department and Officers Austin Wolf and Tyler Christensen as defendants.

    April 18, 2014

  • Kansas Regents stick with social media policy

    After directing a committee to study a controversial social media policy and make recommended changes, the Kansas Board of Regents appears to not be changing the policy at all. It’s left some in academia baffled by why it appointed the work group in the first place.

    April 18, 2014