Huckleberry Railroad 2 (ex-Alaska Railroad 152)


This three-foot gauge 4-6-0 was built by Baldwin in 1920 for the United States Government, for use on the former Tanana Valley Railroad.  This was bought by the Alaskan Engineering Commission and used in the construction of the standard gauge Alaska RR.  It then operated until 1930 as the ARR's Chatanika Branch.

ARR 152 was held for sale after the Chatanika branch was shut down.  Eventually it was transferred to the U. S. Army for use on the White  Pass & Yukon but I have never been able to determine if it actually operated there.

After WWII ended the 152 was shipped to the Auburn, WA military facility for disposition. At some time it wound up purchased by Hal Wilmunder for use on his Camino, Cable & Northern tourist line over the right of way of the Michigan-California Lumber Co. I don't believe it was ever operated there as the only photos I have seen of it there show it with no cab or deck.

Sometime in the mid to late sixties I believe the 152 was sold to the Huckleberry Railroad and returned to operation. In the early nineties it under went "a complete and thorough overhaul."

Today, as Hucleberry Railroad's no. 2, the little ten-wheeler hauls tourists on the Huckleberry Railroad in Flint, Michigan.

Photo by George Thelen

Thanks to John Henderson for providing the information in red


From the Huckleberry Railroad's website (8/7/11):

Currently, the Huckleberry Railroad owns seven locomotives. Of the seven locomotives, #2 and #464 are the primary locomotives that serve the Huckleberry Railroad. At this time, the #2 locomotive is out of service as it is undergoing renovations. The Huckleberry Railroad #2, formally known as #152 locomotive, is a 4-6-0 (wheel arrangement) built in June of 1920 by Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for the Alaska Engineering Commission (AEC). The AEC purchased #2 and the Tanana Valley Railroad to further its task of building the Alaska Railroad.

The Alaska Railroad was a three-foot gauge railroad and ran out of Fairbanks to the coal mines of Nenana, and the gold rush town of Chatanika. Once the standard gauge main line of Alaska Railroad was completed, the AEC dissolved, and its property transferred over to the Alaska Railroad.

In 1943, #152 was transferred from storage at the Alaska Railroad to the U.S. War Department in Seattle, Washington. Later, #152 was sold to the Davison Scrap Company in Stockton, California. It was purchased by Hal Wilmunder, relocated to the Antelope & Western in Roseville, California, and renumbered as #2. In 1963, #2 went to the Camino, Cable, & Northern. When Camino, Cable, & Northern shut down in 1974, Mr. Wilmunder sold #2 to Keystone Locomotive Works. In 1975, the Genesee County Parks and Recreation Commission purchased #2 and began the restoration process.

After restoration was completed on #2 locomotive in 1976, it was put into service at the Huckleberry Railroad. The primary locomotive for the Huckleberry Railroad is #2. Of the locomotives operating since the beginning of the Huckleberry Railroad, #2 is the only locomotive still in active service.
After proudly serving the Huckleberry Railroad for 14 years as the primary locomotive, #2 was in need of a major repair and overhaul. In January of 1990, #2 went down for service, and the newly rebuilt locomotive #464 went into service.

There were several changes made to the #2 locomotive. New windows were cut and installed in the front of the cab. The cab was stained with a deeper color to give it a more realistic look, and the red paint on the locomotive was changed to black to give the locomotive cab a more traditional appearance. After four years of repair and restoration, #2 began regular service in December 1994. The locomotive is currently out of commission, as it is undergoing additional renovations.

From Railpictures.net (8/7/11):

U.S. 152. Tucked away in the engine house at Michigan's Huckleberry Railroad is one of the prettiest 10-wheelers in existence. This narrow gauge beauty was built in 1920 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia, for the Alaska Engineering Commission (AEC). It was used in building the Alaska Railroad, when that railroad was 36" gauge. When the line was later rebuilt to standard gauge, she became surplus and was placed in storage. In 1942, she was acquired by the US Army for use on the White Pass & Yukon. While she was apparently shipped to Skagway, she was never offloaded and never actually used there. With just 10,000 lbs of tractive effort, she'd have been pretty light for that line. After the war, she changed hands several times, before finally being acquired by her current owner, the Huckleberry Railroad in 1975. The "Huck" is a tourist operation in Flint, Michigan that hauls passengers out of Crossroads Village and along the shores of Mott Lake. She is pictured here at rest in the line's engine house in 2009, just prior to going down for a 1472-day inspection. The folks at the Huckleberry Railroad maintain her in her military green, US Army paint scheme as US 152. Photo taken with the kind permission of the Railroad Superintendent.


Huckleberry Railroad Engine House, Flint, Michigan, USA, August 28, 2009




Huckleberry Railroad 4-6-0 #2 (former Alaska Railroad #152) has just departed the village depot. Flint, Michigan, August, 1982