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Shay Locomotive

The boiler of the Shay locomotive, stripped of the bulk of its hardware, sits on a trailer in December 2010 waiting for the refurbished pieces to come back together for its place in a park.

The historic Shay locomotive will be reassembled at the engine's former site on the Longview Library lawn probably in late February or early March.

Longview businessman John Chilson has spent years painstakingly restoring the circa-1924 locomotive after exposure to weather and thieves reduced it to a rusting hulk. In October, the City Council approved putting the engine back at its old spot. Chilson now is preparing a site plan for review by the Longview Historic Preservation Commission, the city Parks Board and the state.

Chilson, 69, said he needs to build a railroad bed with ties and rails for the 64-ton engine to rest upon so it won't sink into the earth. The engine will be surrounded by a stamped walkway for public viewing.

Meanwhile, City Manager Bob Gregory wants to round up money from service clubs to pay for an overhead cover to protect the locomotive from the rain, said Chilson, who is trying to find some of the old plans the Pioneer Lions created years ago for such a cover.

Long-Bell Lumber Co. donated the logging locomotive to the city in 1955. It sat on the library lawn until 1996, when Chilson dismantled it for restoration.

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