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Battle-scarred Finn
Locomotive Moved

418 FINNISH WAR HERO - Wood-burning steam locomotive No. 418, which played a heroic role in the Russo-Finnish War of 1940, took to the air Monday to board a truck for its new home in Junction City.

Originally, the locomotive was presented to the City of Portland, which neglected the gift.

Old engine No. 418, a wounded veteran of Finland's Winter War against the Soviet Union in 1940, got a hero's welcome Monday from a delegation of Junction City citizens as it left Portland's Oaks Park for its new home in Junction City.

The wood-burning, 33-ton steam locomotive was hoisted onto one truck and its 27-ton tender onto another while a troupe of Scandinavians in native costumes sang and danced. Engine 418, shot up by the Russians when they tried to conquer tiny Finland 40 years ago, was presented to the City of Portland in 1959 as a centerpiece for the city's proposed transportation museum.

But after it suffered 20 years of neglect and vandalism, Finnish Council John Virtanen (standing on left in below picture) April 28 asked the Portland City Council to give back the historic locomotive. He then presented it to Junction City, which is noted for its annual Scandinavian Festivals.

"We have already raised the $2,500 for the move," said Bob Nelson, chairman of the Finnish Locomotive Association. "We have track laid for the locomotive next to the Scandinavian Festival Park and hope to have an authentic 24-by-60 foot railway station built in time for the annual festival Aug. 8."

During the 20 years the little locomotive sat beside its bigger brothers in the Oregon rain, its brass whistle, its acetylene lights, and some gauges and valves were removed.

But Virtanen happily reported that the whistle, valves and some gauges had been returned Monday morning. He said unidentified city employees who also were railroad fans had remove them to protect them from vandalism.

He said the headlights also had been stored "somewhere" by the city, but could not be found. Nelson said a Junction City volunteer is in Finland now looking for replacement parts.

Virtanen said only 20 of the special wood-burners were built in Finland in 1904 and that the survivors were taken out of service in 1957.

He said the Russians were given Engine No. 293, which had once smuggled Lenin, the "Father of the Russian Revolution," to refuge in Finland. The Russians built a magnificent museum in Leningrad to house that locomotive as a National treasure, Virtanen said.

Tom Grant, who worked on steam locomotives for more than 30 years before retiring from the Southern Pacific Transportation Co., is chairman of a committee to renovate No. 418.

We've got a lot of old-timers in Junction City and Eugene who are going to help," he said. "It won't take too much work to fix her up so we can get up steam - enough to blow the whistle, anyway - by next year," he said.

"Of course, we can't go anywhere with her. She will sit right alongside two main line tracks, but she takes an odd, 5-foot-gauge rail," he said.

By Leverett Richards (of the Oregonian Staff)
Publisher: The Oregonian
May 6, 1980
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