Southern #1509 "Maud"
A Dive in the Archive: Southern #1509 "Maud"by Paul Grether
Prior to 1903, switch engines of the Southern Railway were numbered in the 1300 and 1400 series. In 1903 a renumbering took place, and various locomotives of the switcher type were grouped together in the 1500 series of 0-4-0's, 0-6-0's, and shop goats. Unfortunately records from locomotives prior to this renumbering are sketchy, incomplete, and conflicting. What we do know is that the locomotive with the number #1509 was converted from an early mainline locomotive of questionable ancestry into a shop goat for Atlanta's Pegram Shops. She was built by Baldwin between 1880 and 1883(?) and rebuilt in 1925 into what the Southern called a Class A locomotive. This was most-likely the year that the back-shop building at Pegram was completed, thus a switcher was needed.
The locomotive is an 0-4-0T Forney - type. She received the name "Maud" from the employees of Pegram, who held a special place in their hearts for her. There are many legends and stories surrounding "Maud", including the claim that she ran out of steam when her engineer kept blowing her whistle on the occasion of the election of Grover Cleveland to the presidency in 1884. There are also claims that her second nickname was "Whiskers". In 1949, Southern management decided that she had outlived her useful life and relegated her to the scrap line at Inman. The six craft unions of Pegram, under the Federated Shop Committee met all night and wrote a letter to E. E. Norris, then president of the Southern in which they stated: "Old-Time Railroaders have an affection for this engine. We are appealing to the officials of the company to save her..."
This effort singlehandedly saved Maud and she was placed on a pedestal outside of Pegram until she was donated to the Southeastern Transportation Museum at Lakewood (which later became part of the Atlanta Chapter NRHS) by the shop workers of Pegram in 1960. She is, by a long shot, the oldest locomotive in our collection. There is an effort being put forth by our Board of Directors to receive a grant from the National NRHS to restore and reassemble "Maud" for display.
Many thanks to members Bill Purdie, Jamie Ried, Dave Swanson, and George Weber for providing info and first hand insights for this article!