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CATCHING STEAM: Effort to save, resurrect classic Tulsa locomotive

Dierks 207 locomotive Tulsa Expo Square.png
Posted at 10:10 PM, Jun 23, 2024

TULSA, Okla. — If you've ever visited the Tulsa State Fairgrounds, you've seen the Dierks Forest 207 steam engine locomotive, which was built during World War I sitting at the Expo Square.

It's been there since 1983. You might have also seen its new caretakers, the Oklahoma Heritage Railway Association.

Led by co-founder Mike Massey, the volunteer group recently got the go-ahead from county commissioners to restore much of the engine's wear and tear before moving it to a different location, assuming they get the money to pay for it.

"We first would like to clean it up cosmetically and then try to find a new home for it," Massey told 2 News. We're guest-imating about a year."

It wouldn't be Massey's first restoration project. He said he already worked on the facelift of the Frisco Meteor 4500 locomotive at Red Fork Depot.

But for the 207, the group wants to see actually it boil up and run again to pull passengers along the Tulsa-Sapulpa Union Railway.

"That is, if the boiler will pass inspection," Massey added.

It's not just a pipe dream. Fellow volunteers Dominic Korzelius and Mose Weinstein are just as passionate about the idea. They helped Massey launch a GoFundMe to raise $80,000 in hopes the plans will catch steam in order to catch steam literally.

"I think the general public is really interested and intrigued by what we're doing as an association," Weinstein said.

"Railroad history is Oklahoma history, and in turn is Tulsa history," Korzelius added. "The men and women that worked on these railroads, that built these towns - that history, I believe, fully deserves to be honored and displayed for all to see."

While the group is still waiting for an investor or sponsor to come around, Massey believes preserving and resurrecting the engine is on the right track. After all, his passion is already shared by younger generations each day visiting the site.

"My dad is not with me anymore, but I'm sure he's seeing it from a totally different perspective, and he's going, 'Yeah, put her back in service! Let's see what she'll do,'" Massey said.

See also >>> Federal Railroad Administration considering Tulsa to OKC train route

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