Steam Locomotive 4039 Fundraiser

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The Whippany Railway Museum has started on the rehabilitation to full operational status of its Historic Steam Locomotive No. 4039.
The engine was built by the American Locomotive Company of Schenectady, NY in November 1942 for U.S. Army World War II service. Two-and-a-half decades later, this same locomotive pulled thousands of passengers onboard the Morris County Central Railroad excursion trains that ran out of Whippany from 1966 to 1973 with sister MCC locomotive 385 now also located at the Museum. The pair then moved to Newfoundland, NJ and continued their duties from 1974 to 1980. No. 4039 dropped her fire on Dec. 14, 1980 for what many thought would be the last time, marking a sad end to the Morris County Central Railroad
Morris County Central Railroad Locomotives 4039 and 385 lead a double-headed excursion train out of Whippany, November 1966. Earle Gil Photo

Photo Credit Carl Perelman
In 1994 the Whippany Railway Museum acquired the locomotive and returned her home to Whippany. The Museum received a grant in 2001 for approx 70% of the project; the grant, while substantial, would require the Museum to raise well over $100,000 on their own.
Early in 2010, the Museum's Board of Trustees approved the decision to begin the restoration of No. 4039.
At the same time, the Museum took on a large loan, thus proving its full commitment to the task. Restoration expert, Transportation Innovation Specialists was awarded the contract and the project began on September 22, 2010.

Now with your help we have the opportunity to enable families of today experience the exciting sights and sounds their own parents and grandparents witnessed first-hand behind this same locomotive in the 1960’s and 70’s. Please help us return this wonderful piece of New Jersey Transportation History to full operation for future generations to enjoy as so many of us did in the past.

No. 4039 was declared a National Treasure in 2002 and is listed on both the New Jersey and National Register of Historic Places by the U.S. Department Of The Interior.

The Museum is launching their 2011 Buy-A Bolt Fundraiser and is asking for your help to reach its goal of raising $100,000 to cover the cost of the fire box stay bolts. Like all steam engines, No. 4039’s firebox is held in its boiler by over 900 stay bolts. These bolts cost approximately $35 each or $100 each installed.

View from inside No. 4039's firebox. The rounded studs along the firebox walls are the staybolts.
Original Rusted Staybolts


The Whippany Railway Museum is a 501 (c) 3 not for profit entity; your donations are 100% tax deductible.


Make a Donation Online

Or mail your donations to:

Whippany Railway Museum
Buy A Bolt Donation
P.O. Box 16
Whippany NJ 07981-0016

Help Restore a Real Piece of Railroad History

4039 Buy-A-Bolt Fundraiser


pic2 The sights and sounds of a working steam locomotive can invoke vivid memories of our nation's past. It is the mission of the Whippany Railway Museum to preserve the heritage and history of the railroads. The Museum and its historic equipment, provides an educational experience for all who visit. A working steam engine will provide economic growth to Hanover Township and the surrounding communities, and allow for working collaboration between other historic societies, museum, and non-profit groups within New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
While the Whippany Railway Museum was awarded a $300,000 TEA-21 Enhancement Grant in August of 2001, the Museum still seeks an additional $100,000. That will commence the restoration Steam Locomotive No. 4039 for use by the general public as a historical transporation artifact which will provide educational opportunities for people of all ages. In addition, the restoration of No. 4039 will benefit the local community of Whippany, located in Hanover Township in Morris County, New Jersey,
by providing a unique historical attraction which will be accessible to the millions of people who live in New Jersey, eastern New York and Pennsylvania areas. Restoration will allow for the preservation of original features of the locomotive which will provide a historic link from the transportation systems of the past with those of our modern day.



This project will allow for the restored locomotive to be fully utilized, by providing daily viewing by schools, youth programs, senior citizen programs and other civic groups. In addition, specific local excursions operating over the Morristown & Erie Railway will take place,
granting the public a unique opportunity to encounter a live, fire-breathing machine, capable of transporting them back in time, where they will experience the power and beauty of a steam locomotive. Also, off-line excursions throughout northern New Jersey will be made possible, which will allow the Museum to further reach out to the millions of people who live in the Tri-State area.


Steam Locomotive No. 4039, a 135-ton 0-6-0 swiching locomotive, was built in November 1942 by the American Locomotive Company of Schenectady, NY, as one of eighty "155 Class"-type engines built for the United States Army. Its commissioned purpose was to switch various stateside military bases during World War II.


Declared surplus after the war, No. 4039 went to work for the Virginia Blue Ridge Railway in 1947, where it operated in freight service for the next fifteen years.


Late in 1965, Steam Locomotive No. 4039 was purchased by the Morris County Central Railroad where, for 15 more years, it operated out of Whippany and Newfoundland, New Jersey. It was the last steam locomotive to operate a scheduled passenger train in Morris County, NJ, and is presently the only steam locomotive to be found in Northwest New Jersey.


Over the following decade, the engine went through several ownership changes until May 1994, when the Whippany Railway Museum purchased the locomotive (then stored in Pennsylvania) and returned it to its former New Jersey location. In 1997, No. 4039 was granted the title "The Official Steam Locomotive of Morris County" by the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders. In December 2001, No. 4039 was entered into the New Jersey Register of Historic Places, and in March 2002, the locomotive was listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the U.S. Department of the Interior. The Museum's purpose in obtaining the locomotive is to return it to full operation, so that a new generation can experience the stirring sights and sounds of these thrilling machines.


The restoration of No. 4039 to operational status will contribute to the preservation of an existing historic transporation facility and provide a physical link to the past which will in turn provide an opportunity to educate the populace of the region while helping to increase tourism.


Currently, the Whippany Railway Museum attracts between a few hundred to several thousand people each week. Many are fascinated by the historic aspects of railroad transporation and our nation's heritage. Others come out of curiosity. But all leave with a greater appreciation of the impact that the railroads have had on the development of our nation. The restoration of No. 4039 will provide people of all ages with the unique experience of riding behind an original steam locomotive, which will in turn increase the local and regional awareness of the need to protect historic resources in our local communities as well as on a national level.

Benefits of restoration of this historic locomotive include:

  • Preservation of one of the last steam locomotives in the nation
  • An increase of tourism business opportunities in the area, as steam locomotives have proven to be very successful and popular attractions throughout our nation
  • Being a unique living historical attraction in the State
  • Education on using public transportation to reduce traffic congestion and improve our quality of life
  • Education on railroad grade crossing safety and dangers of trespassing on the railroad for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists
  • Increase the local and regional awareness of the need to protect our historic treasures
  • Enhance the visitors' experience at the historic Whippany Railway Museum
  • Provide a memorable connection to the rich railroad heritage of the County and State
  • Nearby connection to NJ Transit trains and buses (in Morristown)
  • Nearby connection to the Traction Line Bikeway (in Morristown)
  • People of all ages are attracted to steam locomotive operations
  • The power and beauty of a steam locomotive in operation - a unique experience
Unfortunately, as time passes the number of steam locomotives in America is getting smaller. This is an unusual, innovative, and exciting project with a wide variety of public benefits.

Contributions to this worthwhile project are respectfully requested:

The Whippany Railway Museum is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Educational Organization. All donations are tax-deductible.

4039 Buy-A-Bolt Fundraiser

Make a Donation Online

Please send your tax-deductible donation to:

Whippany Railway Museum
P.O. Box 16
Whippany, NJ 07981-0016

Make checks payable to Whippany Railway Museum. Be sure to include your name, address, and phone number!

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The Whippany Railway Museum is a member of the Association of Tourist Railroads & Railway Museums
and the United Railroad Historical Society of New Jersey.
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Whippany Railway Museum
P.O. Box 16
Whippany, NJ 07981-0016
(973) 887-8177

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