Sandusky's Journey to Arizona

Arizona & Pacific Railroad


Bringing Engine #2 Sandusky to the A&P RR

          Our acquisition of A & P No. 2 was an adventure in and of itself and one with which most park train enthusiasts can relate if you have ever traveled to pickup one of your acquisitions. We purchased the engine, which was just a shell at the time, through Rod Johnston one of the really great people in this hobby of Corbeil, Canada. Rod agreed to trailer the S-16 to St. Croix, Wisconsin in conjunction with a live steam meet in October and we planned to meet him there, transfer it to a rental truck and bring it to Arizona.

          We had several months to work out the details. Dave and I flew into Minneapolis. We experienced the usual delays trying to find a cab driver who spoke enough English that he could convince us he could find the Ryder Truck facility a few miles away... Everything went according to plan with the rental company and we were quickly on our way over the fifty miles to St. Croix.

          We had planned to meet Rod at a Comfort Inn in St. Croix and after a wrong turn or two managed to locate the hotel. As we prepared to turn into the parking lot, we noticed a blazer with a trailer in tow which held two passenger cars, tender and S-16 engine. It wasn't difficult for Rod or us to quickly determine we were looking for each other. The original plan called for several members of the local live steam club to assist us in transferring the equipment from Rod's trailer into our truck. We arrived in St. Croix slightly later than planned due to English being our primary language and my inability to follow simple driving directions. The local club members were faced with the option of helping us load the train in the dark and wind with intermittent snow or attend a pig roast with copius quantities of adult beverage a few miles away. Needless to say, Dave, Rod and I loaded the railroad equipment ourselves...

          We experienced many sights on the way home that you just can't appreciate from 35,000 feet. Like Clear Lake, Iowa which Buddy Holly, unfortunately, made famous and enough billboards for Stuckey's pecan rolls and "The Thing" to wonder if somehow the two are related... Potholes that could swallow a Volkswagen, motel parking lots not much bigger than the potholes previously described and the hustle and bustle of Sayre, Oklahoma at midnight on a Sunday night remain memorable, but for different reasons...

          We visited most of the gas stations along the way as we bounced and lumbered our way toward home. We didn't manage to pass anyone in our sleek 22 foot Ryder box truck, but at least the air conditioning lasted for a while - until we really needed it... After three long days of truckstop cuisine, fading radio stations and splattering insects we rolled into familiar territory. No one was critically injured during the unloading process, but I am thankful it didn't fall under the purview of OSHA or any other safety minded organizations... Suffice it to say we were tired and it wasn't pretty, but we were home and happy to have A & P RR Engine No. 2 sitting on a temporary sidetrack in the backyard.

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