World’s Smallest Pacific Locomotive Celebrates 110 Years

Little River Railroad 4-6-2 is operating in southern Michigan, just after a 15-year inspection and rebuild that included a new door leaf

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The smallest Pacific locomotive in the world – among standard track equipment – is the Little River Railroad 4-6-2 No. 110.

Little River Railroad No. 110 switches at the Little River Railroad store in Coldwater, Mich. Jim Wrinn photography

COLDWATER, Mich .– The world’s smallest standard gauge Pacific, No.110, is alive and well at 110 years old.

The Little River Railroad 4-6-2 is operating in southern Michigan, after a 15-year inspection and rebuild that included a new door leaf. The works were completed at the end of 2020, the n ° 110 is therefore celebrating its 110th anniversary this year with its latest overhaul and a new operating period of 15 years. The Bloom family, who saved the engine from junk in the late 1960s, also added another twist this fall, repainting and releasing the 58-ton locomotive for the Smoky Mountain Railroad, a short line that housed the engine at from 1940 as its second owner. The first owner was Little River, another short line in eastern Tennessee.

A small black steam locomotive leaves the station.
With the cylinder valves open, the Little River Railroad 4-6-2 No. 110 departs Coldwater, Mich., On October 2, on a private ride to Quincy, Michigan. Photograph by Jim Wrinn

The No.110 is at ease on a regular 12 mile round trip between Coldwater, Michigan, and Quincy, Michigan, on part of New York’s old “Old Road” Central Toledo-Elkhart which is now part of the Indiana Northeastern Railroad. The train consists of a Chicago & Alton combine, two old coaches from Milwaukee Road, and a caboose from Baltimore & Ohio. Occasionally, the # 110 makes a 45 mile round trip to nearby Hillsdale, Mich., As it did on October 3 to celebrate its birthday. The 0-4-0T # 1 is also used for Little River trains.

Around the workshop, n ° 110 shows a lot of character for a locomotive with passenger wheels and the size of a 2-6-2 or a 2-6-0. It drives quietly, smokes easily, and with its 47-inch pilots, it comes out of the workshop with a long, heavy train against it. And now, with a long and rich history behind it, it can lay claim to 110 years, a future as bright as its shiny front license plate.

The cabin engineer of the world's smallest Pacific locomotive takes the little black steam locomotive and its train on an excursion.
Little River Railroad 4-6-2 No. 110 moves intelligently between Coldwater, Michigan, and Quincy, Michigan, October 2, 2021. Photograph by Jim Wrinn

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