Pacific Railroad
Preservation Assoc.

The PRPA is a non-profit,
all-volunteer organization dedicated
to restoring, maintaining, and operating
historic railway equipment of the Pacific
Northwest. We are the official caretakers of
the SP&S 700, a 4-8-4 steam locomotive
that ranks among the largest steam
engines still in operation.

Latest News

Chris McLarney A young Chris McLarney leans against the engine he helped save while the Lady builds up steam for one of the first times under the supervision of the PRPA.
Photo by Ken Johnson, 6/6/1990.
  • The Oregon Pacific Railroad and the Pacific Railroad Preservation Association will be running the Chris McLarney Memorial Train on Sunday, November 29, at 2:00 pm in honor of the late PRPA founder. As is only fitting, the SP&S 700 will lead the train from the Oregon Rail Heritage Center, current home of the Lady, to Oaks Park, in which she rested when Chris first started dreaming of restoring her to service. Seating is limited to Chris's family and close personal friends (who are encouraged to indicate their intention to attend on our facebook page for the event), but the public is more than welcome to share in this celebration of Chris's life and accomplishments trackside.
  • The SP&S 700 comes due later this year for the 15-year/1472-service-day boiler inspection mandated by the FRA's "Steam Locomotive Inspection and Maintenance Standards" CFR49 Part 230. In anticipation of this major project, we take a look at the last rebuild on a new web page. Reach it by clicking here or by going to the Gallery and selecting the "Photo Essays" link near the top (which is also new).
  • The PRPA is proud to celebrate 25 Years in Steam with the SP&S 700! The first steam-up after restoration occurred on May 15, 1990, and the Lady made her first test run to Longview, WA, about a month later on June 13.
  • Several years ago, the SP&S 700 was inspected by a recognized expert in steam locomotive operation and mechanics at the request of Amtrak. Though the engine had been passing the annual FRA certifications for decades (and has continued to do so), the detailed inspection turned up several additional needed repairs. In the ensuing years, the PRPA not only completed all the identified repairs, but also disassembled, inspected, and rebuilt every component of the running gear "back to blueprint." We are happy and proud to announce that in November 2014, the engine was re-inspected by the same individual and declared safe to operate on any railroad. Most of the repairs were related to wear which undoubtedly arose in the locomotive's final years in regular service in the 1950s, so in some ways this effort may be seen as the final stages of "restoration." Without a doubt, the "First Lady of the Northwest" is in the best shape she's been in for more than 60 years!
  • A "v-scale" SP&S 700 model for RailWorks rail simulator has been offered for sale by G-TraX Simulations as part of its "Preservation Series" of offerings. Net proceeds from the sale of this model are donated to the PRPA for the continued preservation of the 700. Even two years after the release of their product, G-TraX continues to be one of the PRPA's top donors based on this program! View the G-TraX website for details or to make a purchase.
View older news items in the archives.