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WWI-era steam engine restored in Arroyo Grande to mark Armistice Day

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Posted at 9:49 AM, Nov 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-11 12:49:14-05

Local train enthusiasts have restored a piece of WWI history, just in time to mark Armistice Day or what we now call Veterans Day.

Peter Nott bought a nearly 100-year-old steam engine a few years ago with a goal to fix it up and get it running on his full-scale train track that weaves through the vineyards of his Arroyo Grande property.

"It's been a huge amount of work, especially sourcing some original parts that are very hard to find. Some of them we just had to make from scratch and it's taken several years," Nott told KSBY.

The locomotive was originally built in Davenport, Iowa. It was intended to go to France to support the trench warfare of WWI. However, it was not finished before the Armistice was signed on November 11, 1928, effectively ending the Great War.

So, the engine sat in storage for much of the last century until Nott purchased it and brought it back to life on the Central Coast.

Local railroad historian Karl Hovanitz says the steam engine is one of only three of its kind in the world and it is the only one operating.

"It's a very rare piece of history of the Great War. Not much large equipment survived," Hovanitz said.

Nott's goal is to open his property to visitors sometime in 2021 as a working museum so people can learn about historic trains and go on rides.