TENNESSEE VALLEY RR ACQUIRES RARE “BABY” TRAINMASTER LOCOMOTIVE
Historic Fairbanks-Morse H16-66 Locomotive Adds Sparkle to Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum’s Collection
Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum (TVRM) has proudly announced the addition of an iconic Fairbanks-Morse model H16-66 #F3060 locomotive to their collection, a gracious donation from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). Manufactured in 1958 and affectionately termed the “Baby” Trainmaster, this 1600 horsepower locomotive stands as a testimony to the ingenuity of its time, being a sibling to the more powerful 2400 H24-66 Trainmaster. Fairbanks-Morse’s contributions to the locomotive realm were noteworthy but brief, making this particular model one of the rare remnants of their legacy.
Museum President Tim Andrews expressed his gratitude: “TVRM is deeply honored to receive this invaluable piece from TVA. Our commitment lies in enlightening the public about the pivotal role of railroads in sculpting the Tennessee Valley. And this locomotive is a fitting representation of the harmonious collaboration between railroads and TVA in energizing our local economy.”
Echoing the sentiment, Carol Eimers, TVA’s Regional Vice President for the east region, remarked, “By housing this retired locomotive at TVRM, we’re ensuring the preservation of a vital piece of our history. Our teams at TVA and TVRM collaborated efficiently to ensure a safe transition of the locomotive from the Gallatin Plant to Chattanooga. This will be a feather in the cap during the 60th anniversary celebrations.”
Initially serving at TVA’s Gallatin generating plant near Gallatin, TN, this locomotive was pivotal in transporting coal from the CSX interchange to the plant for almost four decades. However, a shift from train to barge delivery for coal in 1997 marked its retirement.
With a venture into the diesel locomotive market post World War II, Fairbanks-Morse aimed to leverage their unique opposed-piston engine design, which had garnered acclaim during wartime. Despite its early promise, the engine’s specialized needs and high maintenance saw Fairbanks-Morse exit the locomotive arena by 1963.
The Gallatin plant, with its simplistic operations and short, non-challenging route, was an ideal backdrop for the locomotive’s near-40-year tenure. Even after its service, the locomotive remained at Gallatin until 2019, when TVA initiated discussions about its donation and conservation with TVRM. Given the absence of rail connectivity to the plant now, meticulous planning has gone into transporting the locomotive via road to Chattanooga. TVA has extended its support in this endeavor by providing cranes for the transportation logistics.
Anticipation is building, as this locomotive is set to grace Chattanooga just in time for TVRM’s 60th Anniversary celebration, commencing October 14, 2021. Interested patrons can explore sponsorship opportunities to assist with the relocation expenses or partake in the 60th Anniversary festivities via the TVRM website or by reaching out to [email protected].