Former student helping return 1896 locomotive to the rails

Michael Percifield ‘93, a former Texas A&M environmental design student, is leading an effort to put a 19th century steam locomotive back in service in North Texas.

Percifield oversees rail operations for the Grapevine Vintage Railroad, which operates passenger train rides from Grapevine to the historic Fort Worth Stockyards in vintage passenger cars.

In the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Dec. 19 issue, writer Steve Norder detailed how Percifield, the GVR’s trainmaster, and its mechanics are determined to get Engine 2248, named “Puffy,” back on the rails; its been out of commission since February 2011, when one of its two piston rods flew apart.

"We are putting a plan of action together to attack the issue," he said. “It's almost like working on something alive. It sounds like it's breathing, because of the mechanical aspects.”

Although Puffy awaits repairs, Percifield hopes to see it toting passengers on the GVR’s stockyards run again soon.

“There are a lot of factors involved,” he said. “Once the piston situation is taken care of, I don't see why we won't use her on a regular basis."

posted January 9, 2012