Photo of the Week
September 22, 2019

This week we are continuing with two photos from the collection of Fay H. McCain.  Here we have what looks like a American Locomotive (Cooke) I.C.C. Class 201-300 which is the same type that Ole 299 was.  These locomotives were the work horse of the canal construction.  Unfortunately the photo is of poor quality and I can't see the locomotive cab number to positively identify it.  The coal tender still has U.S. painted on the side which was on these tenders early on and then changed to I.C.C. for Isthmian Canal Commission.

Well this wasn't a very good day for this locomotive as you can see in the photo.  Apparently the foundation base for the track it was traveling on couldn't hold the weight and collapsed. Everyone is standing around waiting for a wrecking crane or two to show up to right this locomotive.  Above on the track is one of the old French Belgium locomotive and a dirt spreader.  The large cranes are the type cranes used in the construction of Miraflores and Pedro Miguel Locks.  These cranes were used for everything from hauling dirt, supplies, equipment, but most important fresh mixed cement that was carried to specific locations filling and building lock walls.

The photo below is the same wreck and day.  A small steam crane has shown up to do whatever it could, possible positioning track for a larger crane.  This little crane could not do this job.  It will probably take two 75 or 100 ton wreaking cranes to get this locomotive and tender straight and back on the track.

The photos are not identified as to location, but since the crane above was used at Miraflores or Pedro Miguel and by the looks of the terrain, I believe this is taken at Miraflores lock construction site.

More of Fay's photos in the next few weeks.


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