This Space for Rent

Oooh, I just had an idea!

So I’m kitbashing models of CMStP&P rsc2m’s 576 & 578, and I was wondering whether to paint them in Milwaukee Road colors or PV&T colors. But if they were on the PV&T (actually on the LT&L, since the PV&T is all electric all the time) it wouldn’t make sense to buy a couple of used machines from a collapsing midwestern railroad. But I’ve got a bunch of little subsidiaries and feeders floating around, and one of them is the upstate NY mining railroad PH&W (Plaster Hills & Western; officially a common carrier but it primarily serves a gypsum mine in the Adirondacks) that was still using steam up through the 1960s.

So, if the PH&W followed every other steam holdout (the LT&L kept steam up until the early 1960s, so there was a fairly close backshop that the PH&W could send locomotives to when they needed work) into diesels at the end of the decade, it would have started leasing Alcos from the LT&L (which had spare locomotives because they’d abandoned their direct route from Quebec to Portland) they would have continued the same arrangements of having the LT&L servicing the leased units, but would have eventually wanted something more powerful than the S1s they’d been leasing, but with a similarly light footprint for their increasingly ancient route up to the mines.

So, enter the Milwaukee Road, which also had a line (the Viroqua branch) that needed light-footprinted engines, and which, by happy coincidence, was thinking about retiring their rsc2m’s. When the 576 came up for sale, the PH&W – and not PNC – purchased it and shipped it out east, and several years later when the Brillion & Forest Junction fell over dead they – and not Peter Smykla – grabbed 578 as a spare.

So, both locomotives stayed in the last Milwaukee Road paint scheme, but with PLASTER HILLS AND WESTERN patch-lettered over the previous railroad name and 578 renumbered back to 578 (from Kettle Moraine/B&FJ #5) and kept running up to at least the 2010s (or whatever date the gypsum mines ran out) before falling into the hands of a historical society that had enough secure storage to keep them in to prevent them from being vandalized and scrapped.