Medco No. 8 Builder's Photo
Medco 8
Medford Corporation's Baldwin S-8 switcher

   The No. 8 is an S-8 switcher (cn.75481) built for the Medford Corporation (Medco) by Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton in 1952.  Built to move loaded log trains downhill, the No. 8 is the only Baldwin S-8 equipped with dynamic braking.   The No. 8 remained in regular service with Medco for less than 10 years.  Medco ended its railroad operations in 1961.  The No. 8 was sold to the Magma Arizona Railroad in 1968. As Magma Arizona Railroad No. 8, it operated out of Superior,  Arizona,  hauling copper ore concentrate for Magma Copper for 26 years.  In September, 1992  the No. 8 suffered a catastrophic failure of the main generator and was taken out of service.

    The Southern Oregon Chapter of the National Railway Historical purchased the No. 8 from the Magma Arizona Railroad in July, 1995.  The purchase included a used "running take out" replacement generator and a new axle and wheels.
   The locomotive was separated from its trucks to reduce the weight and loaded on a flat car for shipping to Albany, Oregon where the Willamette & Pacific Railroad had offered to provide shop space and technical assistance for the needed repairs.  The trucks, the axle, and the replacement generator were shipped in a gondola car. No. 8 loaded on flatcar at Magma AZ waiting shipment.

All of the rail transportation was donated by the Magma Arizona Railroad, the Southern Pacific Railroad, and the Willamette & Pacific Railroad.
No. 8 at Willamette & Pacific engine house, Albany, OR.      Working in Albany, with the generous assistance of the Willamette & Pacific Railroad, chapter volunteers installed the replacement generator, replaced the last friction bearing axle with one that was roller bearing equipped, serviced the air brake  system, and repaired several minor defects to bring the No. 8 into compliance with Federal Railroad Administration safety standards.

   The initial recovery and restoration of the Medco No. 8 locomotive was funded in part by with a grant from the Oregon State Lottery through the Regional Strategies Fund administered by the State of Oregon Economic Development Department.

  The planned mechanical work for the restoration of the No. 8 was completed in February, 1997.  After some testing in the Willamette & Pacific Albany yard a combination road test and fan trip was planned with cars provided by the the Willamette & Pacific and the No. 8 as power.

   The locomotive performed well in the beginning.  Unfortunately, when the engineer throttled up to track speed the replacement generator shorted out.  The Willamette & Pacific Railroad brought out another locomotive to finish the trip but the No. 8 needed to have the main generator replaced again.
No 8 on fan trip on Willamette & Pacific

The original generator was sent to Eastern Electric in Portland, Oregon for rebuilding.   An additional grant was secured to partially pay for the rebuild but it was necessary to utilize most of our remaining operating funds to cover the balance.  The Chapter is still trying to raise $6,000 to replace the funds spent for the generator rebuild.

    On July 11, 1998 the Medco No. 8 locomotive was returned to Medford, Oregon, its original home, for the first time in 30 years.  It was transported at no cost from Albany to Medford by the Willamette & Pacific Railroad and the Central Oregon & Pacific Railroad.  It was shipped dead in the train since the generator had not yet been replaced at that time.

    Using volunteer labor and donated equipment, the generator was replaced in Medford, wiring and electrical tests were completed, a bronken equalizing spring was replaced and final testing and inspections were done.  No. 8 was again pronounced fit for operation.

    On May 17, 1998  the former Medford Corporation No. 8 Baldwin S8 locomotive made its first successful test road trip since being brought back to Oregon in 1995.  The trip was made on the Central Oregon and Pacific Railroad (CORP) with CORP engineer Bud Shirley at the throttle.

    There was an initial short run at Tolo in which the dynamic brakes were tested  light engine.  The #8 then traveled light engine from Tolo to Medford, Oregon where a CORP GP38-3 rebuild was coupled on.  The #8 then traveled up grade to Ashland with the GP38-3 in tow.  Top test speed was 25 mph.  The #8 performed with no problems.  An empty box car was picked up in Ashland for the return trip to Medford.  The dynamic brakes were tested again on the down grade run with the GP38-3 and box car providing additional weight.  The dynamics performed flawlessly.  We discovered that the dynamic brakes were capable of bringing a light train to an almost complete stop without the application of the air brakes, while burning off several years accumulation of dust, spider webs and what-not from the brake grid.

    After 3 years of effort by Society volunteers with a lot of help from many private contributors including major assistance from the Southern Pacific Railroad, the Willamette and Pacific Railroad, and the Central Oregon and Pacific Railroad, THE NO. 8 IS BACK!

Photos of No. 8's run on May 17, 1998  (click on picture for larger image)

No. 8 in Ashland, OR Medco 8 towing a CORP GP-38-3 arrive in Ashland, Oregon to pick up the box car on the adjacent track.  The Geep was along just to provide a load for the Baldwin and to help with the switching.  (Well, okay, we would have used it to get No. 8 home had problems developed.)
No. 8 switching in Ashland, OR The CORP unit backed into the siding and coupled onto the boxcar while No. 8 looked on.  Next, 8 would couple onto the Geep for the trip back to Medford.  The combination of the trailing locomotive and boxcar gave 8's dynamic brake a good workout.
CORP Engineer Bud Shirley at throttle of No. 8 Central Oregon & Pacific engineer Bud Shirley at the controls of No. 8 on the return run to Medford.
No. 8 at former SP passenger station in Medford, OR. Medco 8 and train pause in front of the former Southern Pacific depot in downtown Medford.  This bulding served as CORP's Medford base for about a year.  Now it is a restaurant.

On June 6, 1998 the former Medford Corporation No. 8 Baldwin S8 locomotive made another excursion onto the Central Oregon and Pacific Railroad (CORP).  CORP agreed to test the No. 8 as a yard switcher in the Medford yard.  This was the first opportunity that the No. 8 has had to REALLY work since its return to Oregon.

CORP engineer Bud Shirley was surprised as the No. 8 easily handled cuts of loaded cars weighing as much as 1125 tons on the 0.6% grade in the Medford yard.  He later stated that the old Baldwin handled the yard service as well as the GP-40's and GP-38's that usually handle the duties.

Once again the old girl has proved herself.

The #8 is currently stored serviceable on the tracks of the White City Terminal Railroad, along with several other pieces of Chapter rolling stock. 

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This consist first built on March 14, 1999
And last classified on March 14, 1999