Vintage steam engine gets new home in Ardmore - - No One Gets You Closer

Vintage steam engine gets new home in Ardmore

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ARDMORE, Okla. -- After seven years of planning, the historic steam engine that once pulled the "Mercy Train" has arrived at its new home.

The explosion that almost flattened Ardmore and killed 43 people happened on another September day 98 years go. The Mercy Train brought help from across the Red River to save hundreds of lives.

Now, the engine has returned home to stay.

"It's very special to me," said an emotional Ardmore native Luther Wooley.

The steam engine found its first home at the Hardy Murphy Coliseum 63 years ago.

"I'm just proud that I got to watch them move it up here," Wooley said. "I kind of wish they wouldn't have moved it."

Ardmore locomotive moved

The move to Ardmore's train depot was controversial to some who worry about the classic engine's preservation. But Todd Yeager of the Ardmore Main Street Authority said the future of the century-old locomotive has been carefully considered.

"It's not one of those things you really want to rush into, and kind of then down the road think, 'Oh, we should have done this, should have done that,'" Yeager said. 

Workers carefully began to move the 115-ton locomotive just after 8 a.m. Thursday.

Slowly, it passed the coliseum and headed east on Springdale Road.

The locomotive arrived at the train depot around 90 minutes later, and by 11, hundreds looked on as its wheels were set down on the tracks.

The Main Street Authority says this project would have cost close to $200,000, but almost all of the equipment and labor was donated.

Moving the steam engine is one of the first steps in re-creating Ardmore's historic train depot.

Ardmore locomotive moved

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