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World War II locomotive headed to Netherlands from Mason City
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World War II locomotive headed to Netherlands from Mason City

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MASON CITY | A Dutch Railway Museum is about to receive a 160,000-pound gift from Lehigh Cement in Mason City.

In 1947, Lehigh purchased an old Whitcomb diesel locomotive, used in World War II, and put it to use at the cement plant for about 60 years. It remained at the plant but has not been in use for more than 10 years, said plant manager Tom O'Neil.

The Dutch museum has been searching for years for a Whitcomb locomotive as part of a World War II exhibit. When museum officials discovered Lehigh had one, they made contact and arrangements were made to move it to its new home.

Workers using a crane began hoisting the train Tuesday morning in preparation to have it shipped to the Netherlands museum.

O'Neill said Lehigh was happy to cooperate with the museum. He said the locomotive had been covered in cement but has received a thorough cleaning and is ready to go.

The Whitcomb was built in 1944 in the U.S. and was shipped to France in 1945. The Dutch Railways purchased 20 Whitcombs to start up a railway company after the war but most all of them have been scrapped.

A museum spokesman said the locomotive will be fully restored so thousands of tourists can see it. The hope is that someday, tourists will be able to take a ride in it.


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