Locomotive 2132 to hit 35th Bainbridge anniversary

Published 6:13 pm Friday, January 23, 2015

The year was 1980. Athletes around the world were gearing up for the Summer Olympics in Moscow. Georgia’s own Jimmy Carter was president of the United States. Michael Jackson’s fifth album ‘Off the Wall’ was topping U.S. charts.

But in Bainbridge, then-Mayor Bill Reynolds had a vision, according to a Feb. 9, 1980 edition of The Post-Searchlight.

The front page, above-the-fold story is about an early 1900s steam engine that the Bainbridge City Council voted to accept as a donation from the Gulf Power Company in Florida.

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“When the city learned that there was a possibility of obtaining the locomotive for a possible museum in the Earle May Boat Basin, a team was sent to investigate the restoration possibilities,” the report reads.

Before it became obsolete with the invention of diesel-electric locomotives and was moved to Florida in 1951, L&N locomotive 2132 was built and operated in Kentucky.

In a letter addressed to the Bainbridge City Council, L&N Historical Society president Sid Johnson explains the locomotive’s history.

“Locomotive 2132 was actually built in the company shops of the L&N at South Louisville. One of 400 steam locomotives built by the company itself … the 2132 carried construction number 396 when it rolled off the shop floor and first had a fire built and steam pressure raised in late 1922,” the letter reads.

The letter goes on to explain where the locomotive operated: DeCoursey, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Ohio and Corbin, Kentucky.

Bainbridge was approached by representatives of Corbin, which is in the process of building a rail museum.

“More than just a large steam locomotive on display, it will stand as a tribute to the men and women of the company who built, maintained and operated her for so many years. Many of the surviving family members of those L&N employees still live in and near Corbin,” Johnson said in the letter.