OR&N 197 History
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OR&N 197 History
The OR&N 197 is a 4-6-2, or "Pacific" type steam locomotive built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1905. Originally built to pull passenger trains on the Oregon Railroad & Navigation Co., a predecessor to the Union Pacific Railroad in the State of Oregon, this locomotive served successive companies for half a century. The engine was eventually renumbered to 3203, and was finally retired by the Union Pacific in the 1950's

After retirement, the locomotive was saved from scrapping and donated to the City of Portland, Oregon. The 197 was placed on display near Oaks Amusement Park in SE Portland, where she sat near the larger, more modern, 4-8-4 type locomotives SP 4449 and SP&S 700.

In 1975 the SP 4449 was removed from the park, restored, and returned to operation for pulling the American Freedom Train. A celebration of the U.S. Bicentennial that toured the nation and had over 7 million visitors. In 1990 the SP&S 700 was removed from the park, and underwent a restoration of its own, leaving the 197 as the only locomotive left in the park.

Due to a parking lot expansion, the 197 was moved a short distance from her original 1950's resting place at Oaks Park. Otherwise she sat almost forgotten until late 1995, when a small group of individuals banded together to consider returning her to operation.

It took several months of negotiations and several more months of mechanical work to prepare the engine for movement, but by early February 1996 she was almost ready to move for the first time in nearly 40 years. On February 10, 1996, she was finally removed from Oaks Park.

The day just happened to coencide with the height of severe flooding in the Portland area after a series of winter storms. The Willamette River was lapping at the embankment where the engine sat.

The East Portland Traction Co. (now Oregon Pacific), owner of the nearby railroad right of way had to clear several mudslides the preceding day, but the engine was moved without incident. The 197 was taken to the Southern Pacific (now Union Pacific) Brooklyn Roundhouse in southeast Portland where she once again sat along side the SP 4449 and SP&S 700.

The OR&N 197 was built by The Baldwin Locomotive Works in May, 1905 as the last of an order of four identical locomotives. Of the four (Union Pacific class P-2), the 197 is the only survivor. One similar UP locomotive, the 3206, still exists and is located in Spokane, Washington.

The OR&N was controlled by E.H. Harriman at the time, who was known for developing standardized designs for the equipment on his railroads. As a result, the 197 bears a strong resemblance to Southern Pacific locomotives of the same era, although the SP did not purchase any identical engines.

The 197 was originally built as a four-cylinder compound (double-expansion of the steam) locomotive with Stephenson valve gear, having the high pressure cylinders located between the frames. These high pressure cylinders drove the second driving axle which was of a crank design, similar to an automotive crankshaft. The low pressure cylinders received exhaust steam from the high pressure cylinders, and were located outside of the frames. These drove the second axle more conventionally, with external main rods driving crank pins on the driving wheels.

In a 1923 rebuilding at Union Pacific's Albina Shops in Portland, the engine received new cylinders, converting her to simple (single expansion) two cylinder operation. The valve gear was also converted from Stephenson to Walschaert, which was becoming common on modern locomotives.