The ALCO-Brooks Railroad Display can be found at the Chautauqua County Fairgrounds on Central Avenue, Dunkirk, NY.
The display consists of a Boston & Maine locomotive #444, a class G11-B, 0-6-0 locomotive; the 1907 Delaware & Hudson boxcar #22020; and the 1905 New York Central caboose # 19224. Other items include signs and signals, maintenance of way equipment, and Erie Railway phone booth, and a Nickel Plate Road sections shanty.
The locomotive committee of the Society searched for a locomotive made in Dunkirk for 14 years, an effort that included the committee’s locating and researching 43 known ALCO/Brooks steam locomotives in North America. until one was found near Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston & Maine locomotive was built by the ALCO-Brooks Locomotive Works as ALCO order No. B-1423, builder’s number 56532, in 1916, purchased by and used by the Boston and Maine railroad branch lines and yard service; it received an overhaul in the Billerica Shop in 1947, and was then sold to the Fletcher Granite company in 1952 for use in its granite quarry. Its use there was short-lived, only ten months, and it was abandoned on a side spur for some 30 years after being replaced by a diesel switcher at the quarry in the late 1950’s. Paul A. Keany of the Fletcher Company donated the old #444 to the Historical Society of Dunkirk in July of 1986.
The Society worked to raise $20,000 for the cost of bringing the locomotive home. In November of 1986, the 70 ton engine was pulled from the brambles that surrounded it by a diesel locomotive and then to the loading yard. There it was picked up by a 150 ton crane and loaded into a low-boy trailer so that it could be transported two miles to West Chelmsford, Massachusetts, where the same 150 ton crane transferred the locomotive and tender onto two railroad flat cars. The Boston and Maine Railroad pulled the cars to Rotterdam Junction, N.Y., where they were transferred to the Conrail railroad and brought to Dunkirk.
The locomotive and tender reached Dunkirk on February 20, 1987 after a 600 mile trip, and both were taken to the Niagara Mohawk Steam Station for unloading by the plant’s 150 ton crane for preliminary work. In April of 1987, the locomotive was loaded onto a 48 wheel truck trailer from the Higgins Company of Buffalo, NY while the locomotive’s tender, the box car, and caboose were moved by Anson Trucking Co. Dunkirk, to the fair grounds. The four pieces of the display were set on an already prepared 165 feet of track donated by Contrail. The box car was donated by Al Tech Specialty Steel and the caboose was purchased by Historical Society members.
The engine and tender needed a great deal of work to bring it into shape. This work included cleaning, brushing, grinding priming and painting. Some parts needed to be replaced as they were thoroughly rusted away. In addition, the nameplate, bell, headlight, and gauges were missing–all taken probably by collectors who raided the locomotive over the years. All of these items were eventually replaced.
Funding for the display included a “Buy a Railroad Tie” fundraiser, with those donating $100 or more having the donor’s name fixed to a railroad tie. The Society also issued a commemorative railroad stock certificate to donors giving $25-99.
The locomotive committee included Committee Chairman Ray Haines, Roy Davis, Roger Schulenberg, and Gary Anson.
The display is accessible by turning onto Waldorff Road from Central Avenue and entering the entrance into the fairgrounds right off Waldorff.