the Real Lil’ Leroi

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The “Real” Lil’ Leroi Lives in Durbin, West Virginia

Lil’ Leroi’s Life

In 1936, Lil’ Leroi was manufactured by Whitcomb Engine Company as model #20GM24. This design model #24 has a 20-ton gasoline mechanical engine. The United States Quartermaster Corps first purchased him, and numbered him #13214. For the United States Army, he moved passenger and freight cars in railyards during WW II. Later he was sold to the Dundee Cement Company and numbered #105 where he served as a yard engine. The Coe Railroad purchased him for use as a tourist train, Number 105. Lil’ Leroi was finally named by the Durbin Greenbrier Railroad. He was very important to this railroad as the first lead engine of the Durbin Rocket Ride — a tourist train ride on the beautiful Greenbrier River and the Durbin Railroad Station yard is home to LIl’ Leroi. Lil’Leroi was replace d by a steam engine #3. Now he is a yard engine again, but the best yard engine ever. (You can bring Lil’ Leroi to life by clicking HERE!)

The Story Setting

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The setting of this story is a real location. The Durbin Rocket, its tracks, and the trains of the Durbin Greenbrier Valley Railroad do exist as presented in Pocahontas County, West Virginia. The pristine, quaint environment inspired the fictional characters and helped to make the color of the tale.

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The trains make up a large track system traveling the highlands of the Monongahela National Forest and the Cheat Mountains. A variety of diesel, Shays, and steam trains run the routes. Beginning in the early 1900’s these tracks were used to transport harvested timber then latter carried coal, and today they host popular West Virginia Railroad tourist attractions.

Check out The Durbin Greenbrier Valley Railroad web site, for beautiful rides over our high mountains and low valleys, cascading rivers and the high falls of Cheat River. This company features the Polar Express ride from the Elkins, WV station and it was acclaimed for a premier presentation of the favorite Christmas story.


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