ROCKTON & RION No 19
Number 19 was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works, of Philadelphia, USA in 1906. The locomotive is known as a 2-8-2 "Mikado". The 2-8-2 comes from the Whyte Wheel Configuration of the locomotive's wheels, 1 small front wheel, 4 large driving ones, and 1 trailing wheel. Of course the pattern is the same on the other side, giving the final total of 2 small, 8 large, and 2 trailing wheels, or 2-8-2 in shorthand. Baldwin was the largest locomotive builder in the world, building engines for as far away as Africa, Australia, South America, and Japan. The first 2-8-2 type locomotive was one of those built for export, in this case Japan. The Japanese National Railways ordered it, ceremonially headed by the Japanese emperor, or "Mikado" as he is known in Japanese, thus giving all 2-8-2s, except for the US Army ones built in WWII, the name Mikado.
This specific engine, Baldwin No 29383, rolled out in September of 1906, destined for the Woodward Iron Company of Alabama for use hauling pig iron. After using the engine for 6 years, the Woodward Co. liked No. 19 so much they had the No. 31 built as an exact copy, except for an increase in coal capacity.
After 32 years of service, the Woodward Company decided to purchase one of the newer diesels, and the 19 was sent to a dealer in Atlanta; she still carries the dealer's brand stamped into her frame today. South Carolina's Rockton and Rion Railway, a granite hauling quarry railroad near Winnsboro, SC, purchased her in 1936 and used her into the 1960s, at some point replacing her old riveted tender body with a new all-welded one. In 1961, the Alabama Woodward Company parted with 31, and the Rockton & Rion operated four steam locomotives - the 19, 20, 31 and ex-ACL 712 - some of the last steamers in revenue freight service in America. All of these engines survive today! Sister engine 31 found a home in Waycross, Georgia: No. 20, a small tank engine used as the quarry switcher, found a home in Yonah station, Georgia; while the 712 remained in the Rockton & Rion quarry when it became the South Carolina State Railroad Museum.
However, by 1963, Rockton & Rion succumbed to the new diesels, and put the 19 up for sale. Enter L.B. Adams and Charles Herndon, Jr., along with several other Greenwood are railway enthusiasts. In 1969, Adams and Herndon saw an advertisement for the No. 19 steam locomotive for sale in a Greenville newspaper for the grand sum of $11,000. They purchased the engine and tender to preserve for posterity, and Greenwood's Railroad Historical Center was born!
No. 19 was cosmetically restored in 2014 and sits at the front of the Golden Age of Railways display at 908 South Main Street in Greenwood, S.C., a proud reminder of the immense role the railroad played in the prospering of the Southeast and, indeed, the country, in the late 1800s and the first half of the 1900s.
Something so special is how intact she is, with almost all gauges and knobs present in the loco, or safely stored inside. Visitors are welcome to ring her vintage bell on their tour, and learn about the engine's idiosyncrasies .
^ No 19 pulling a load of Blue Granite from the quarry Near Winnsboro, SC ^ ^ 19 Waiting at the Southern Interchange at Rockton ^
Note the boiler tube "cowcatcher" rather than the wooden switchman's foot boards 19 had when new, which were returned in the 1960s, when 19 entered reserve service.