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Imagine the Vulcan “Bruser” back on the old Narragansett rails at the engine turn in West Kingston

Imagine the Vulcan “Bruser” back on the old Narragansett rails at the engine turn in West Kingston!


The Friends of the Kingston Station, founded in 1974, is a 501(c)(3)

organization devoted to the preservation and improvement of the Kingston Railroad Station,

(which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places). A second mission is education about

the history and technology of railroads, especially those which have had significance in Rhode

Island. Toward that end, we will be opening a railroad museum in the South waiting room of

Kingston Station on 22 June (flyer attached).

Early this year, we received unsolicited offers of donation of two pieces of

full-sized railroad equipment-a locomotive and a caboose. Both are presently located on the

premises of the Seaview Railroad in North Kingstown. Because neither meet Amtrak safety

standards, nor can they be economically brought up to those standards, they will have to be

trucked to a location we have selected at the head of the South Kingstown bike path, on the old

Narragansett Pier Railroad, about a quarter-mile from Kingston Station. This will not be a trivial

enterprise, as the locomotive weighs 130,000 pounds.


The caboose was built in 1943 for the Pennsylvania Railroad. It is very

similar in design to the New Haven Railroad cabooses that traveled through Rhode Island. It will

need some cosmetic exterior repairs, a sandblast to remove the lead paint, and a new paint job.

The engine is a 65-ton Vulcan switch engine, also built in 1943, for the

Navy. After its Navy service was over, it was sold to the Warwick Railroad, where it was known a

"The Bruiser", because even though it is tiny by locomotive standards, it was larger than anything

else the Warwick had. It was then sold to the Seaview Railroad in North Kingstown, where it is

presently located. It has not been used for many years, and although it is mechanically restorable,

as we have only 100 feet of track available, it will be for static display. It will also need a sandblas

restoration of a few vandalized parts, and a painting. Fewer than a dozen engines of this type were

made by the Vulcan Iron Works in Pennsylvania, and only two survive; "The Bruiser," and anothe

in unsalvageable condition in North Carolina. "The Bruiser" is thus a significant (and unique)

example of American technological history-the light industrial locomotive, which made possible much of the manufacturing in New England. The engine is the same model as the last engine owned by the Narragansett Pier Railroad in South County-the only difference is a paint job. It is thus of great historic significance in Rhode Island. We are asking for Hasbro's help to restore and move this equipment, because kids love trains, especially lovable trains like this. Friends of Kingston Station The Friends have both the experience and the expertise to handle this project. The group was first formed to do a citizen restoration of the station, a process that was completed in 1976. A near-fatal fire at the station in 1988 reactivated the group, and we began a complex, ten-year process involving federal, state, local, and private interests that resulted in a complete restoration in 1998. In that year, we organized a completion ceremony that featured an 80-year-old steam locomotive, and Amtrak's newest and finest engine touching noses in front of the station, as the governor, Rhode Island's congressional delegation, and 3,000 people cheered. We have received previous grants from APC Inc., Arnold Lumber Inc., the RI Foundation, and the State of Rhode Island. Our membership includes people familiar with government contracting, governmental interagency liaison, and full-sized railroad construction. We also have railroad historians, model railroaders, and Amtrak employees on our roster. The Move There are six stages to this project: A) Preparation of track. Approximately 100 feet of old Narragansett Pier Railroad track still exists at the head of the South Kingstown bike I path. The old rails will be moved to one side, the old ties removed, a surface layer of ballast applied, new ties laid, the rail replaced, and a final stone ballast applied. There are local railroad contractors who have the expertise and equipment to do this, and have indicated a willingness to do the job. B) Sandblasting and painting. As the equipment is painted with lead paint, it will be sandblasted and painted in place in the industrial area where it is located. Detail painting and mechanical restoration will be done by our group after the move. We have found a local contractor who has experience in painting railroad equipment. C) Moving the equipment. Not an amateur project. It will involve huge mobile cranes and massive lowboy trailers. We have found two local heavy equipment movers who have the equipment, the expertise, and the interest in doing the job. Both will give us a "turnkey" contract in which all work-security during the move, laying down matting for the lowboy trailer, etc. will be covered by a single price. D) Constructing a fence. A four foot high vinyl covered fence with a gate will be constructed around the display. This is standard work and can be done by any fencing company. E) Wireless security. As there is no electricity in the area, and it is dark at night, a wireless perimeter alarm system will be installed to reduce the incidence of vandalism. F) Construction of a shelter. To preserve the equipment from  |JV the elements, a simple roofed shelter will be built over the tracks. Although it would be desirable to begin this project immediately, it could be done as a "phase 2", and we have so indicated it on the budget.


Possible Caboose Uses


The interior of the caboose is in reasonably good shape. It would be possible to restore it and have it open to the public, but there would be serious issues of handicapped access. There are possible alternate uses, however. It could be used for office and or g^ storage space by our organization and its local affiliate. Operation Lifesaver, a railroad safety group ^ that provides speakers to schools, driver ed classes, and civic groups who discuss cars, trespassing, ^^ and railroad safety. Operation Lifesaver served approximately 1,000 children in the last year. The ?"" main value of the caboose, however, is simply-as a caboose. Now that the railroads don't use     m! them any more, they are becoming increasingly rare. They have strong associations in American   sos folklore, and it is important that at least some of them be preserved for children of the future,      s^, Railroad Museums in Rhode Island There are no other railroad museums in Rhode Island. The Friends of Kingston Station provides a small railroad display in the South County Museum, and the Heritage Harbor Museum will have a large model railroad when it opens, but the model's main purpose is to explain the industrial history of the Blackstone Valley. Budget The following are ""worst case" estimates. A competitive bidding process might be able to bring the price down somewhat, but these prices will assure safe and timely completion of the project.


Track Preparation                        $6,840 Fencing                                  3,310 Sandblasting, lead removal and painting     16,000 Moving                                 24,000 Security system (vandalism protection)       1,605 Total                                    51,755 Shed construction                        21,600 Best regards,

Frank Heppner, Ph.D., Chairman Board of Directors Phone: 874-4399 email


Download the Vulcan bruser flyer .pdf by Mike Monahan design


Text prepared by Frank Heppner, President of FOKS

Images preparted by Mike Monahan, FOKS History & Technology Committee

Webpage prepared by Jack McCabe,, rec/sec of FOKS Inc.