History of No. 2
By E.J. Kelley
Featured in the popular television series Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman, No. 2 is perhaps the most famous locomotive on the Pacific Coast roster. But long before her fame, she was a homely tank engine; one of a half dozen or so which switched a Lehigh, Illinois, quarry virtually unnoticed by the general public.
Built by the Vulcan Iron Works of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, No. 2 – formerly No. 800 – served the Lehigh Stone Company for nearly four decades. Retired in 1960, Nos. 800 and 802 were sold to Peter Burno of Spring Green, Wisconsin, who, in 1968, sold them to George Roose, president of Cedar Point amusement park. Roose, who is often credited for saving the venerable Sandusky, Ohio, attraction, from its likely demise, had taken a queue from the success of Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm and added a narrow-gauge steam railroad to the park that same year. No. 802 was rebuilt into a 2-4-0 tender engine and became Cedar Point & Lake Erie No. 5 “Jack Foster.” Later renamed “Judy K,” it remains in operation today at the world-class park.
Arriving at Paramount Ranch. Don Bitz photo
While No. 802 became the property of Cedar Point, Roose would retain personal ownership of No. 800, adding it to his ever-growing private collection.
In the mid-1970s, Roose, intending to lease some of his collection to other parks, opted to have the locomotive rebuilt on spec. At Lakecraft Welding of Port Clinton, Ohio, Sam Conti transformed the rusted hulk into a 2-4-0 tender engine – which, following completion of its overhaul, made shakedown runs on the Cedar Point loopline.
In 1982, the present P.C.R.R. No. 2, along with what is now P.C.R.R. No. 3, was moved to Wild World of Largo, Maryland – today’s Six Flags America. While No. 3 did not operate there, No. 2 saw brief operation until the lease ended and both locomotives were returned to storage. In the late 1980s, the locomotive spent time at the Stuhr Museum in Grand Island, Nebraska, while the usual motive power of the Nebraska-Midland Railroad, former White Pass & Yukon No. 69, was out of service. No. 2 was later acquired by the late Bill Norred of Ventura County, California, and, on its way west, it passed through Shop Services of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, where it received additional rebuilding and acquired the number “2.”
“Quiet on the set?” I don’t think so! Don Bitz photo
A citrus packing warehouse became a stable for Mr. Norred’s iron horses – the present P.C.R.R. Nos. 2 and 3, and a Davenport 0-4-0T-turned-2-4-4 Forney. In 1995, Norred, who aspired to construct a Victorian-era village and steam railroad, traded his Davenport in exchange for the original Disneyland Railroad “Retlaw One” coaches. While Norred’s dream would never come to pass, No. 2, in 1993, was moved to the Paramount Ranch in Malibu where it would gain the dubious distinction of being the only of Norred’s 3’ locomotives to operate under his ownership. It would spend the next five years beside Jane Seymour on the set of Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman, where it steamed into the homes of millions.
After Bill Norred’s death in 1999, his family sought a suitable home for the two remaining locomotives and four Disneyland coaches. The following year, a buyer was found in Rob Rossi, a Central Coast entrepreneur who had recently gained co-ownership of the historic Santa Margarita Ranch near San Luis Obispo. In 2004, the golden spike was driven on Rossi’s private 2-mile Pacific Coast Railroad, where No. 2 has served as the primary locomotive ever since.