Thunder at Perris. With just hours left in its final day of operations before going down for it's mandated FRA 1472 inspection, Ventura County Railway No. 2, better known as "VC 2," puts on a show as it charges across Mapes Road and upgrade into the grounds of the Southern California Railway Museum with a towering plume of smoke filling the sky.
Leaning out of the cab on the left, the engineer strains to look down the boiler at the curving track ahead to ensure the rails are clear while the fireman, sitting down at right, gazes up to his water glass and pressure gauge to ensure he keeps up with the demand for steam the locomotive is rapidly using.
VC 2 was built in May 1922 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works and delivered to Cascade Timber as No. 107. Operating across Cascade Timber's rails for 22 years, the engine was then sold to the Ventura County Railway in 1942 where it was then renumbered to its current and final number, No. 2. Falling into the hands of private ownership in 1964 following its time with the Ventura County Railway, the locomotive eventually found its way to the (at the time) Orange Empire Trolley (later Railway) Museum, the No. 2 received an extensive rebuild between 2001 and 2006 where upon it's completion, it returned to active service hauling tourists. Now 15 years later, it's time for VC 2 to return to the barn for its "rebuild" (really more of an inspection), before it can have a fire in it again.