Help save historic steam engine 503

$67,439 of $65,000 goal

Raised by 1,264 people in 3 months

Help us save historic Louisiana & Arkansas steam locomotive no. 503 from imminent dismantling in Port Arthur, Texas!

Read below for recent updates and background on our project.

UPDATE 3/7: Video update - we need your voice!

UPDATE 3/3: Ross Rowland letter of support

UPDATE 3/2: "City Council fairy tale of 503"

UPDATE 3/1: Click here to read our open letter to the City of Port Arthur!

We've met our goal, but let's keep going! Click here to view our most recent update!

We had inititally priced the scrap value for no. 503 at $20,000. After Inland Environments performed their own appraisal, the value of the locomotive and tender is actually $35,000!

Broken down, our projects costs are now:

• $35,000 to Inland Environment for the purchase

• $10,000 to Over-the-Top Construction for trucking

•$20,000 for cranes

Our deadline for raising funds is now February 28th! Plans originally called for a purchase agreement for the locomotive will be signed on February 21st and we are now waiting for city council to approve the contractor's sale of the locomotive to us.

OUR IMMEDIATE GOAL: We're raising $65,000 to purchase the locomotive from the city's contractor and move it to the Texas State Railroad for interim storage. The locomotive is currently slated for demolition and scrapping in the next few days! The locomotive and display site must be disposed of by March 6th, 2018.

1) purchase the locomotive from the contractor hired to perform the demolition and fund the move of the locomotive out of Port Arthur.

2) place the locomotive under the care of a non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to its ongoing rehabilitation.

3) finalize arrangements for the use of a restoration facility and restore the locomotive operation via funding provided through donations and from The Royal Palm Railway Experience which is operated by the Orlando and Northwestern Railroad in Florida.

4) move the locomotive to Florida for long-term operation with the Orlando and Northwestern Railway. This is a campaign to save a locomotive that does have a future! These funds will accomplish the purchase from the scrapper and the initial move from the park to the Texas State Railroad.  

I, Jason Sobczynski, will handle the disbursement of the funds raised to the owner of the locomotive for the purchase of the artifact, to the trucking company for the transportation of the artifact to the Texas state Railroad, and to the crane companies which will be utilized to load and unload the locomotive and tender.  Following the creation of the trust which will care for this locomotive, ownership of the locomotive will be transferred  to the trust for $1.  

Any left over monies from this campaign will be given to the trust along with the locomotive. If we are unable to fund the immediate purchase and movement of 503, all donations will be refunded or forwarded to a railroad preservation organization of the donor's choice.  The locomotive is currently the property of the environmental remediation company contracted to conduct the demolition.

The owner of the company does not desire to see the locomotive cut up anymore than those preservationists among us, but he is bound by the terms of the city contract and the associated timeline. Asbestos abatement has been completed, and this is a now or never opportunity to be a part of saving the locomotive for future display or a return to operation. Thanks for your interest in and consideration of this project!

WHO WE ARE: We are a group of qualified railroad preservationists currently employed as contractors, rebuilding a locomotive in Grapevine, TX. This locomotive rebuild project positioned us, geographically, to be able to immediately act towards the preservation of Louisiana and Arkansas 503.  

We began and continue this fundraising campaign as volunteers to intervene on this historic locomotive's behalf and have decades of experience evaluating, restoring and operating historic railroad equipment.

Learn more about our work in the industry here:


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We’ve submitted our proposal to save 503 to the City of Port Arthur. Click here and select “download our proposal” -
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A glimmer of hope from Port Arthur: “A group of 1,259 train enthusiasts from across the nation came together and raised nearly $70,000 dollars in just a few days. Heck, we can barely get that many registered voters to the polls on Election Day. Let those that truly want the train, have the train.”
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Video update:

We're again asking our 1,200 donors, and everyone interested in seeing the 503 saved for restoration to email your letter of support to all of the city council addresses below. Be sure to copy us ( so we have a record of your e-mails having been sent. Over 120 have been sent so far!
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All is not lost - but now we need your voice! City Council and city leaders members NEED to hear from all of us who have contributed and worked to save the 503 from scrapping. We are copying the relevant emails below. Copy and paste these into an email of support and include us at!,,,,,,,,,

Check out our recent update here:
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Read a Previous Update

$67,439 of $65,000 goal

Raised by 1,264 people in 3 months
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