|SAN DIEGO — The Pacific Southwest Railway Museum has purchased Modesto & Empire Traction General Electric 70-tonner No. 613 from railroad equipment dealer Sterling Rail. The engine will run on former home rails, those of San Diego & Arizona Eastern, where it started life as No. 5119.|
M&ET operated a fleet of nine 1950s-era 70-tonners. It began replacing the aging units in 2006, and now operates with SW1500s and gensets. Because M&ET used state grant money to buy the gensets as low-emissions replacements for the 70-tonners, the California Air Resources Board planed to destroy the units’ engine blocks. However, the museum helped convince the board to reconsider.
Pacific Southwest operates excursions out of Campo, Calif., 50 miles east of San Diego. Museum officials believe No. 613 is the last surviving San Diego & Arizona Eastern 70-tonner of a fleet that once numbered seven units. Plans call for trucks to move it from Modesto to the museum
A trio of Modesto & Empire Traction 70-tonners (center) congregate beside SW1500s (right) and a genset. The Pacific Southwest Railway Museum will preserve 70-tonner No. 613.