Kearny’s historical locomotive completed

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Robert Anderson completes restoration on Kearny underground locomotive.
John Hernandez | Copper Basin News

Copper Basin News

The renovation of the air locomotive in Kearny has finally been completed. Robert Anderson said he is still working on some detailing but the job is pretty much finished. The compressed air locomotive was built in 1925 by the H.K. Porter Company in Pittsburgh, Penn. The H.K. Porter Company built their first compressed air locomotive in 1890 to be used in an underground coal mine in Pennsylvania. Compressed air locomotives were safer to operate in underground mines as there was no need for a fire to burn coal which was dangerous especially in coal mines and there was no smoke exhaust which also was a danger to underground miners.

The 1925 Porter air locomotive was used by the Kennecott Copper Corporation in the original underground Ray Copper Mine. It was used to haul men, ore and supplies on underground rail lines. It was retired in 1955. Robert Anderson had finished most of the work two years ago but has been waiting for parts which were hard to find. Robert machined a lot of parts and did a lot of welding work. He even used a 105 year old drill press for some of the work. He was able to recreate a pressure gauge and found a headlight for the locomotive. He received the parts just before Pioneer Days and was able to complete the work. Bill Dunn got a piece of timber for him which was badly needed.

Robert said he got a lot of help with donations and the loaning of equipment and wanted to make sure everyone including the town of Kearny was recognized and thanked for their help. “It was a lot of work but it was worth it when people tell me it looks good,” said Robert. “I’m real happy the way it turned out.” You can see this remarkable restoration of this historical locomotive in downtown Kearny.

John Hernandez (436 Posts)

John Hernandez lives in Oracle. He is retired and enjoys writing and traveling. He is active in the Oracle Historical Society. He covers numerous public events, researches historical features and writes business/artist profiles.


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