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Geo D. Whitcomb Company was founded by George Dexter Whitcomb (1834-1914), Chicago, Illinois, who started a modest machine shop in 1878 and began the production of coal equipment, laying the foundation for the concern that became known as the Whitcomb Locomotive Company. The latest news about locomotive transport was filled with cultural value.
A unique locomotive that helped transport troops, ammunition, and other significant cargoes in support of the liberation of Europe is to return to our spiritual home in the Netherlands.
Work of the museum
After years of fundraising and attempts to find one of the historic trains, the Mobile Museum Stoomtrein Goes Borsele (SGB) received, funded, and organized one of the locomotives to return to Europe, as reported by SGB magazine (one of the SGB media resources).
On November 7, the locomotive will be unloaded in Antwerp after a two-week flight from the States where it will remain in the SGB collection.
According to the SGB, the locomotive is one of many built by the allies during WW2 to advance troops in support of the liberation of Europe.
Trains were delivered to Europe from the US by ship, but then many were sold to European railways.
Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) in the Netherlands bought Whitcomb diesel locomotives from army dumps to rebuild its ravaged railroads. However, these trains were destroyed in 1960. The remaining locomotives “Liberation” were returned to America in 1946 and sold to private companies. Although many of them were also revised in America, SGB found a Whitcomb locomotive in Iowa in 2016, which was donated by the Lehigh Cement Company, which used a locomotive between 1947 and 2005.
Expensive transportation of the locomotive became possible thanks to sponsors, heritage, and successful training. The locomotive was acquired before the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Europe in 2020.
The last locomotive Whitcomb Locomotive Company, produced in Rochelle, was sent on January 4, 1952 (construction number 61189). It was a 25-ton diesel-electric locomotive delivered to the Central Agency for the Acquisition of the Transport Corps.
The production of the Whitcomb Locomotive Company line, with the latter under the name B-L-H, ended in March 1956 – after the production of approximately 5,000 locomotives.