That's not all; Ward had even closer connections to the Venice Railway. He was a personal friend of the McCoy family, which purchased VMR #1 after the 1968 closing of Stream-Land Park in Pico Rivera. When Don McCoy and his sons, Mike and Jeff, rebuilt the locomotive, Ward took care of painting her. Both locomotives were originally constructed with a Russian Iron boiler jacket, which was long since removed and unavailible (has been that way for years). The paint Ward used imitates a blued steel effect close to resembling the color of Russian Iron. The locomotive operated near Legg Lake in El Monte at the Whittier Narrows Recreation Area, on a formerly-15" gauge pike run by Seymour Johnson. That equipment is now in Traverse City, Michigan. The #1 and her train of two coaches, along with the 2-spot's original tender (the 1's had already been scrapped when the locomotive was sold to Al Smith of, coincidentally, San Gabriel), are still in the McCoy family. The 1 is stored, operable, in that same stunning paint.
Part 1 of the Venice Railway Centennial article can be found in the On Track Webzine; Spring Issue, with Part 2 to follow for the Summer edition in late-June. The 2-spot will be in operation for the Summer Season at the BJWRR on weekends (possibly only Saturdays), with a 100th celebration planned in the park for May. First time in 11 years, and the Winter will see one of the winter work sessions from the good old days. Her running gear still requires significant work as most of the time was devoted to reboilering her, which should not have included having to manufacture all those new parts if it had been ordered to the proper dimensions of the original, which had nothing wrong with its design. When the boiler arrived, it wouldn't even fit the saddle, due to it being about an inch wider in diameter at the smokebox, and an inch narrower down the length of the barrel. It's probably one of few locomotives with Vanderbilt (cylindrical firebox) boilers still in existence, since the primary user was the SP (designed specifically for oil-fired locomotives), and those have all been scrapped off.
After 10 years, I can tell you for a fact SEVERAL locals (with the exception of the old-timers and of course BJWRR volunteers) have forgotten of her very existence. Darn are those guys on the Creek Trail going to be surprised to wait for HER to pass through...new grade crossing there, too.