As a rail historian, I have followed the sad tale of Waterville Locomotive 470 for many years.

First, no locomotive or any other piece of machinery should be left outdoors in the weather, especially in harsh climates such as New England. That’s a given.

Second, rather that doing a cosmetic restoration, it has been shown time and again that locomotives fare much better when they are restored completely to operational condition.

Third, finding someone or some organization with deep enough pockets to fund such a restoration is difficult.

With that in mind, let me propose a possible funding source: Timothy Mellon, owner of PanAm Rail System which now operates the former Maine Central and the Boston & Maine railroads.

Mellon is painting several of his diesel locomotives into their original “heritage” paint schemes to mark the prior lines that went into the PanAm System. That leads me to believe he is interested in the history of his “heritage companies” to some extent.

What could be more of a “heritage” locomotive than the 470?

Mellon recently was involved with the unsuccessful search for Amelia Earhart’s plane in the Pacific Ocean. He not only donated money toward the search, but also was a volunteer on the expedition.

His link to the Earhart search was that she was one of the founders of the original Pan American World Airways in the 1930s. Mellon now owns all rights to that name. He could have used a successful mission to promote his current rail company.

If he could be persuaded to pick up the tab for restoring the 470, perhaps in the railroad’s Waterville shops, he would have a real, functional piece of his railroad’s “heritage” to display or perhaps even operate as a public relations tool.

How much more appropriate could you get?

Richard Symmes

Beverly, Mass.

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