Monticello Railway Museum

Southern 401 was built in December of 1907 and was at the time a larger locomotive, built with simplicity in mind. It is a 2-8-0 wheel arrangement, with a total locomotive weight of 82 tons, spread over 4 pairs of driving wheels, and a two wheel leading "truck". This locomotive was purchased by the museum in 1967 from Alabama Asphaltic Limestone, in Margerum, Alabama. It was then shipped on a flat car to Decatur, IL, arriving there in January of 1968. It was unloaded and stored at Decatur until October of 1971, when it and 12 other pieces of equipment were moved by rail to the Museum site in Monticello. It was towed on its own wheels from Decatur to Monticello in 1971. From 1971 to 1995, the locomotive was on display in our collection of equipment, with occasional work being done to stabilize and prevent further deterioration to the locomotive.
In 1995, a donor stepped forward with a proposal to return an operating steam locomotive to Monticello Railway Museum, one not having run here since 1987. To that end, a process was begun to identify what we felt was the best candidate for restoration. After considering several alternatives, it was decided to restore #401 to operational status.
So what do you go through to restore a steam locomotive? Click Next above to start the show.   Already seen this show? Jump to the most recent slides

Here's what you start with.
401 at Decatur in 1968

First step was to start the disassembly.
401 in the back shop with its drivers removed.

More parts removed and the boiler is ready to come off the frame.

We found many parts with quite a bit of wear.

The lead truck has yet to come out.
That's Milwaukee Road 1649 in the background.

The drivers were sent to Birmingham, AL where they shared the shop with some large brethren in remaining days of the NS steam program.

The restoration started with the rear cab support.

Nothing like the smell of a new boiler.
401's boiler at the factory in St. Louis, ready for delivery.

A little frame straightening was needed. Here the burners are setup to heat the frame so it can be bent back into alignment.

It fits! The new boiler is the on the frame.

Boiler supports start to appear as well as cab supports and two sets of drivers are back under the locomotive.

Cab supports start to appear.

The remaining driver sets are installed.

All the wheels are back under and the running boards start to appear.

Handrails start to appear.

Work on the cab begins.

Work continues with walkways and cab supports.

The turret is added.

Injector piping starts to be fitted.

Injectors are mounted.

The cab ready to set on the frame.

Meanwhile, in front of the shop, attention turns to the tender.

It hasn't held water for a long, long time.

Like the engine, the tender is stripped to the frame.
That's 401's old boiler in the background.

The tender frame, or what's left of it.

Tender frame repairs begin. We'll replace the trucks and a major portion of the center sill.

The frame was set upside down of the ground in order to provide better working conditions on the underside. Here the steam connection is fitted.

More fitting goes on and the new roller bearing trucks appear.

New draft gear supplied by Miner Enterprises is installed and we're ready to set it back upright on its trucks.

The completed frame ready to be set upright.

The Bates and Rogers steam crane getting ready to go to work.

Back upright and painted a few days later.

A quick trip over to the car shop gets the wood decking installed on the frame.

The tender is placed behind 401 and assembly begins.
401's cab has been installed.

Tender tank assembly begins.

More tender tank assembly.

The tender tank begins to take shape.

It's not just a big empty space. Baffles and supports makeup the inside of the tender tank.

Work is moving on all fronts at the current time. 401's cab is being outfitted and remaining items on the tender continue.   Continue to the latest slides.


The Monticello Railway Museum depends upon many sources of income to acquire, restore, maintain and operate the museum and we welcome donations. Donors help fund and facilitate many projects at the museum and provide income above and beyond train tickets, gift shop sales and membership dues.

While our volunteers perform the majority of the required labor for restorations at the museum, the need for money to purchase materials and equipment is increasing. Now that work on steam locomotive #401 is complete, the amount of consumable shop materials used is increasing. For example: acetylene and oxygen for the cutting torch; drill bits and cutting tools for the machine shop; grinding wheels and wire wheels for metal preparation and LP gas for heat to allow our volunteers to work during the winter are costing several-hundred dollars each month.

A gift donation towards restoration work would be greatly appreciated. In addition, thoughtful family members, in your name, can make a donation to the museum.

Either way, your donation is appreciated and contributes to our overall financial security and will help us collectively facilitate much needed improvements at the museum. As a reminder, the Monticello Railway Museum is a registered 501 (C 3) not for profit organization and all donations to the museum are tax deductible. All donors to the museum will receive a letter acknowledging the donation.