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Red River & Gulf #106 Cosmetic Restoration

Number Builder C/N Wheel Arrangement Cylinders Drivers Class Cost Fuel Disposition
106 Baldwin 57203 4-6-0 19X26 52" 10-32-D #1303 $29,520.09 Oil Awaiting restoration in Long Leaf

For a number of years, as I have researched the Red River and Gulf RR and the various Crowell lumber railroads, I have often run across a comment or a mention in an oral history about Crowell and Spencer 4-6-0 #300 being transferred to, or sold to the Red River and Gulf as a backup engine for RR&G 4-6-0 #106.

A few years ago, I obtained a photo of #300 in storage, at Long Leaf with a tender parked in front of it lettered Red River and Gulf RR, in faded lettering. Having heard of or heard the stories, I always concluded that this photo confirmed that at one time, it had at least been considered to use the #300 on the RR&G. Of course, this created a conundrum of where did this tender come from, and the conclusion always had to be that it was from RR&G #105 and had been somehow not sold with the engine for scrap in 1945. Photos of #105 by Charles Clegg show this engine sans tender waiting for the scrapper, so this sort of made sense. What we do know is that the engine was last used in December, 1946, and the photos show the engine stored at the same place at Long Leaf in 1948, 1949 and November, 1951.

All of these photos show the engine lettered, "The Crowell and Spencer Lumber Co. Ltd.". Then there is the Gordon Crowell photo of October, 1953. There is a simple explanation for this, but it never occurred to me.

Last weekend, one of our volunteers, Mike Miller, who has been cleaning the tender and cab of RR&G #106, told me that he thought that the current tender on the RR&G 106 is the original tender from the Crowell #300. It seems that during the cleaning process, he discovered shadows of lettering under the Red River and Gulf Railroad on the tender currently behind the 106. The relict lettering and evidence from the oil bunker in the tender, as well as other information convinced me of the simple solution that when the 106 was last repaired in the fall and winter of 1951, the tender from the 106 was deemed to be less serviceable than the tender from the 300, and the two were switched. The 106 was last painted at that time also, and the large numbers on the cab applied at that time. The photos below now tell the rest of the story.

-Everett Lueck

Red River & Gulf Railroad #300 - 1953
Red River & Gulf Railroad #300
Red River & Gulf Railroad #106
Red River & Gulf Railroad #106
Red River & Gulf Railroad #300
Red River & Gulf Railroad #106 - 1950
Red River & Gulf Railroad #106
Red River & Gulf Railroad #300
Red River & Gulf Railroad #106