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New train on its way to Parrish museum

PARRISH -- Engine 3749 has had some journey.

The steam engine was originally build in 1911 and used to switch cars around in various freight yards, one of those being in Pensacola.

It was later sent to state prison in Atmore, Ala., where inmates worked on it and in the late ‘50s it was sold to a scrapper who never got around to scrapping it, according Glen Miley of the Florida Railroad Museum.

It was then placed at the Church Street Station entertainment district in Orlando where it remained for about three decades after a private investor bought it. Now, it is making its way to Manatee County where it will be placed in the Florida Railroad Museum in Parrish next month.

“Jan. 9 it goes before the Orlando city council for final approval on the bid,” said Miley.

The museum is not only getting the engine but three passenger cars as well.

Orlando needed the locomotive to be moved to make way for a commuter train, SunRail.

After taking in several bids from locations around the state the Parrish location seemed like the most attractive spot.

“It was kind of a mixture of the cost being the lowest, keep it in state and the time line,” Cassandra Lafser, spokeswoman for the City of Orlando said.

The total cost of moving the locomotive and all additional fees will be about $160,000, which Orlando will foot.

“Plans will start rolling quickly after the 9th,” said Miley. “It’s a win-win all the way around. It’s the cheaper option and it’s being saved.”

Once everything is approved, getting it to Parrish should take about 17 1/2 days, Lafser said.

When the engine gets to Parrish, it will be placed on display at the museum and will get a paint job and other restorations, Miley said.

The future of the passenger cars is still under works.

But one thing is for sure, the new additions to the museum are expected to more people than ever.

“We would like to truly turn it into a tourist destination for day trippers and people from out of town,” said Ben Jordan, president of the Parrish Civic Association.