4-Ton Whitcomb Electric Storage Battery Locomotive

The Underground Miners acquired our Whitcomb Mine Motor from the Waddell Breaker site near Archbald, PA. It was moved there from the Baumann’s Scrap Yard at some point in the 1990s to be put on display in front of a makeshift mine opening as part of a haunted hay ride attraction. When the breaker site was being scrapped in 2003, the UGM team learned of the mine motor there and its fate to be scrapped along with the rest of the site. After some negotiations, we arrived with a roll back truck and hauled it out of the site. Using the data plate that still existed on the motor itself, UGM was able to track down the history of the locomotive with the help of a few friends! 

The 36” gauge, 4 ton Whitcomb Electric Storage Battery (ESB) mine motor Serial No. 1916 was ordered on 12/8/1925, by Richmondale Coal Co. This operation was just north of Carbondale, Near Forest City, and delivered on 3/5/1926.  This locomotive was rebuilt from an older frame at the factory. In 1932 the Whitcomb was sold to Lackawanna Anthracite Mining Company, also in Richmondale. This was one of two Whitcomb mine motors Richmondale Coal then later Lackawanna had purchased. The two of them eventually ended up in Baumann’s Scrap Yard in Carbondale as did much of the mining equipment of that era. This one we saved the other met the torch. The traction motor delivers 16 horse power to the wheels through 2 worm drive gear boxes, connected with a drive shaft and u-joints. It is quite an advanced design for the time period. An interesting point to this motor is that it operated for a coal company that was at the most northern point in the anthracite field.

We spent several years restoring the locomotive. The electric motor was surprisingly in very good shape, with only the brush holders needing to be rebuilt and new brushes installed, donated by Northend Electric in Scranton. We built a new resistor grid using new, old stock grids. A new drum style speed control was built up for us by American Industrial Mining Company. A friend, Matt Pompey donated space in one of his garages for the use of restoring the locomotive, and for the time we had it running at our rail facility it displayed his families coal company on the battery box. Currently the Whitcomb is in our new Restoration Facility, undergoing its next phase of work.