never received an answer from Mr. Russell, but one fine day she was
pumping gas at the O.K. Kelley Service Station, which she and her
husband still operated, when customer Richard Torres, who was also a
dear friend, said to her: 'Anna, can you keep a secret? You're
going to get your engine!" As Anna related to interviewer Kathy
Barnes, Richard, a section crew foreman over at Kearsarge, had just got
orders from SP headquarters to go through all his track and pull the
oldest rails and oldest ties: 'You see, the rails are dated; the ties
also. When they are put in the ground, there is a special zinc nail that
has the year on the head; that tells foreman and crew how old the tie is.
They weren't pulling them for anybody else; they were pulling them for
engineering of that project, getting engine #18 into its now-familiar
location in Independence's Dehy Park, was the "most fun thing I
ever did in my life."
engine was sitting at Owenyo when the order was given to turn it over to
Anna. First, the Southern Pacific "loaded it on a broad gauge
flatcar and took it to their car barns in Bakersfield and gave her a
real good cleaning and a good paint job and then loaded her on another
flatbed and brought her back to Lone Pine."
now? Where to put the train? Anna went to see Sid Paratt of
the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, which owned the land at
Dehy Park: 'I've got a problem. I've got a narrow gauge locomotive on my
hands but I don't know where to put it." The decided where in the
park the train should go; the railroad supplied a crew from over at
Kearsarge station and another form Lone Pine. "I arranged to use
the County's low-bed truck and tractor to pull it. There was a winch
with a lot of cable... I went to Jimmy Nick (Nikolaus) in Big Pine; he
had a low-bed like the county's... so he loaned it to me."
fell into place; Anna had all the people, machinery and good will she
did it all
in one day. The track was already in because Richard Torres and his crew
had done that. After the locomotive was in, Kelley (Anna's husband)
brought the tow truck and hooked the cable on to the front of the
locomotive and gently pulled it to the front where it belonged."
there today sits old engine #18 on its narrow gauge tracks, for all who
pass to see and admire - and wonder. The Slim Princess lives again!
ALBUM Times & Tales of Inyo-Mono Vol. IV, No.4 pp.22-23