Historic 1785 Locomotive

By the mid-1950’s, the diesel electric locomotive became standard for the railroads, and steam engines were being scrapped. Fortunately, some were saved for the education of later generations. In 1957, Woodburn would receive a classic 1902 built steam locomotive through donation by the Southern Pacific Railroad.
 
The SP 1785 and Frank Scheer have become synonymous with each other in the railroad and railfan community. Frank has done a masterful job of restoring the locomotive using Southern Pacific Company erection shop drawings and other source information to ensure that she looks exactly as if she had been released from the SP’s Sacramento Shops in 1955. Every detail has been meticulously restored or rebuilt, and she is in better condition today in the park at Woodburn than most locomotives that are in indoor museums throughout the world. The SP 1785 is an icon of the era that so many people are fond of. Every steam locomotive displayed in a city park needs an advocate and Frank Scheer surely is that advocate for the SP 1785.
 
Frank Scheer, a young local area man came to Woodburn to see the locomotive. Realizing it could become a rusting hulk in the park, Frank took on the responsibility for the care of Woodburn’s SP No.1785. Gaining the town council's blessing, he started what has resulted in a life-long dedicated passion. He was not just looking to complete a new paint job every once in a while. Rather, he wanted to restore the engine to like new appearance.
 
Frank with other volunteers first stopped the locomotive's deterioration, then started the process of cleaning, repairing and replacing missing parts. New sheet metal boiler jacketing along with new cab woodwork has been installed. He solicited help from local businesses and the town council. A beautiful paint job has recently been completed. A fence secures the engine and old railroad signals Frank salvaged now animate the setting
 
His meticulous attention to detail has given Woodburn a beautiful steam locomotive depicting a bygone era. Woodburn can be proud of the efforts of Frank Scheer and those who have helped him. Historians, researchers, students, and teachers come to Woodburn to see the 1785, as it is now an ideal instructional artifact to show the importance of the nation’s railroads.
 
On February 4, 2012, Frank Scheer made a presentation commemorating the 55th anniversary of the SP 1785 to the Woodburn Community.  The video can be viewed below.  
 
 
The 1785 arrives in Woodburn!
 
The locomotive is dedicated in 1957

 

"Woodburn is here because the tracks are here.

We are a railroad town in the most fundamental way possible. Our historic downtown is focused on the tracks that run through our center. Every home in town is within earshot of train whistles.

Engine 1785 is part of our historic core, and part of our railroad heritage. Parts of it date from not long after Woodburn was incorporated in 1889. The 1785 has been part of Woodburn’s landscape and heritage since 1957. In the last 35 years, it has undergone gradual but extensive changes that have transformed it into both a museum-quality exhibit and a living part of our community’s landscape.

Woodburn proudly displays the 1785 as part of our city logo, and salutes Frank Scheer and the other volunteers who have restored it to life."

Kathy Figley
Mayor, City of Woodburn