The engine was in serviceable condition and used occasionally for switching. In the past the firm had donated three other engines of the same type; one to the B&O Museum in Baltimore, one to the Museum of Transport in St. Louis and No. 90 to the Ford Museum near Detroit in 1970. Only four of these rare diesels, which are considered to be the first successful diesel locomotives to be built in this country, still survive.
IRM contacted Ingersoll-Rand for a donation of No. 91. Many other railroad museums and organizations also asked for the engine. But in 1984 many years of persistent efforts by IRM finally paid off as we were selected. In an Ingersoll-Rand press release M. William Grant, vice president of manfacturing stated "Because of No. 91's historic significance, we felt that it belonged in a museum. The prestigious Illinois Railway Museum near Chicago had approached us years ago. After checking the museum's credentials, we decided that it would make a good home for No. 91. There, the locomotive will be preserved and appreciated, near the railroading center of the country."
The story of No. 91 actually began around 1915 when Ingersoll-Rand and General Electric both started experimenting with diesel engines. After World War 1, G.E.'s development proved less than it had hoped for so G.E. decided to buy diesels rather than build them. G.E. sent out detailed engine specifications to all active engine builders in the country in 1920 and Ingersoll-Rand was the only company to respond. It was able to modify one of its existing engines in size and output to meet the Specifications and a project was began to assemble a test locomotive in 1922. G.E. shipped an empty car body to Phillipsburg in 1923 for installation of the Ingersoll-Rand diesel. The prototype was tested throughout 1924 and proved successful. In May 1925 serious production began with IngersollRand supplying the engines. The trucks and car bodies came from American Locomotive Co. and final assembly was done at G.E.'s Erie, PA plant. No. 91 was the sixth locomotive off the production line and was purchased by the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad where it worked as No. 3001 from 1926 to 1951 mostly in the New Jersey waterfront area. An interesting story told by Ingersoll-Rand people is that No. 3001 once ran off the end of a pier and wound up at the bottom of the harbor totally under water. Later it was lifted from the water and in a few days was back in service. In 1951 Ingersoll-Rand reacquired No. 3001, renumbered it No. 91 and assigned it to the Phillipsburg plant as a yard switcher. In 1976 it was repainted in a red, white and blue Bicentennial design and that is how it looked when IRM obtained it.
Because of the engine's age and wheel condition it was decided to load it on a flat car for movement to Union. During the last couple of weeks of July a group of volunteers traveled to Phillipsburg to load and prepare the engine for shipment. Bill Browning, and Ray Cook along with his son Steven arrived at the plant on July 24. The next day Duane Tudor and Paul Pierson arrived with Person's truck. On the 26th Ingersoll-Rand ran the engine around the plant for the last time showing us the details of operating it and taking photos and making video tapes. After the railfanning was over Nick Kallas and Bill O'Brien arrived to help with the difficult job of lifting the box cab off its trucks, removing the air tanks and securing the locomotive to the flat car. Ingersoll-Rand allowed us the use of a modern shop building with a rail spur and an overhead crane. Nick had arranged for a flat car to be sent to Phillipsburg but somehow it got delayed and when we located the car on the 27th it was in Allentown, PA bad ordered for an out-of- date light weight. Since our engine was being shipped for free we explained that the weight did not matter and it agreed to release the car. The next three days were spent loading, blocking and securing the engine to the flat with both chain tie downs and banding.
On July 31 Conrail inspected our work and with only a few minor changes approved it for shipment, and on Aug. 1 it left for the 1,000-mile trip to Union.
Much hard work and money went into this project but as Duane Tudor, head of the diesel department said afterward, "it was well worth the effort to obtain such a rare and historic engine to add to our collection." Our biggest thanks go to all the people at Ingersoll-Rand who gave us such great support and helped by furnishing wood blocking, banding material, and permitting us to use its tool and facilities.
Now that the engine is safely stored inside at IRM we plan to return it to DL&W appearance. Mechanically, the diesel is in good condition except for worn traction motors and wheels which will be repaired as funds become available.
This project would not be possible without the support of our corporate benefactors. First of course is Ingersoll-Rand for the donation of the locomotive, Trailer Train Corporation for donating the use of a machinery tie down flat car, and Conrail and Chicago & North Western for donation of transportation. Many thanks to all.
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