Almost ready to move — Railroad company working out how to transfer engine to Florida

Published 6:51 pm Friday, February 23, 2018

Jason Sobcynzski, of Next Generation Rail Services in Avalon, Kentucky, said things are going well with the eventual move of Louisiana & Arkansas No. 503 locomotive from Bryan Park in Port Arthur to Florida.

He started a GoFundMe page this week to raise funds to move the locomotive. As of 5 p.m. on Friday, $66,694 was raised. The goal was $65,000.

He added that it was “spectacular” that more than 1,240 people donated to the cause.

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The past couple of days Sobcynzski has been figuring out transportation logistics.

“It will be a challenging scene to get the locomotive out from where it is,” he said. “The ground has a high water table level. You can’t walk on the grass without mud shooting out.”

However, crane companies are accustomed to working in all kinds of conditions. Perhaps the tender will be rolled out more toward the street so cranes can get to it or make other adjustments.

Prior to moving to Florida, the 503 will be temporarily housed at the Texas Railroad Museum in Rusk. The locomotive will be operational on a tourist railroad when it reaches Florida.

The 503 suffered from 60 years of exposure to the elements, especially salt air. Concerns about the engine arose most recently in connection with Hurricane and Tropical storm Harvey, mostly because there was a fear that flooding would carry asbestos and oil into neighboring yards and houses.

He further thanked Jed Landrey with Inland Environments who was originally hired by the city of Port Arthur to scrap the locomotive.

Sobcynzski said Landrey didn’t have to give Next Generation additional time to move the locomotive but they did anyway.