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Local News -

March 31, 2008

Ford Museum buys local locomotive

COOPERSTOWN JUNCTION _ One of two, rare electric locomotives that for years sat rusting along state Route 7 in the town of Milford is getting prepped for one last ride on the rails.

A temporary building was erected last week around a GG-1 purchased from the Leatherstocking Railway Historical Society by The Henry Ford, one of the nation's premier history and culture museums.

The locomotive is being cleaned of asbestos by contractors and will have its transformer removed, said Bruce Hodges, president of the Leatherstocking Railway Historical Society.

"I think it's fantastic. I can't think of a better home to go to than the Ford Museum," Hodges said.

The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Mich., has the Rosa Parks bus, the Wright Brother's bicycle shop and Abraham Lincoln's chair from the Ford Theater among its collection.

It also includes Greenfield Village, which has nearly a hundred buildings dating from the 1600s to the present, many of which are staffed with costumed interpreters.

The GG-1 purchased by The Henry Ford is one of 16 surviving examples of a locomotive class of the Pennsylvania Railroad that originally numbered 139 engines, said Christian Overland, vice president for museums and collections at The Henry Ford.

Most of the GG-1s were sold for scrap, but the one purchased by The Henry Ford, PRR 4909, and a sister-engine that remains with the Leatherstocking Railway Historical Society, PRR 4917, are among the survivors.

The nearly 80-foot-long locomotives weighing nearly 240 tons debuted in the mid-1930s at the apex of steam power and helped usher in a new era in railroad locomotives, Overland said.

That era lasted until the mid-1980s with the decommissioning of the last GG-1s, Overland said.

"That's unheard of in the world of locomotives," Overland said.

The GG-1 will be restored to the deep burgundy with gold pinstripes the locomotive was originally painted with as part of the

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