MISSOULA, Mont. - Fort Missoula is home to lots of pieces of history and now one man from Hamilton and his friends are fixing up one of those pieces to showcase the importance of trains in Montana. 

Engine #7 is one of the last trains from the historic lumber companies in both Milltown and Bonner and it even starred in the 1955 movie Timberjack.  

Larry Ingold and other volunteers are two years into renovations. 

"Railroad enthusiasts are a different breed," he explained. 

Trains have been his life for over 40 years. After retiring, his wife hold him it was time to get a project. 

"My wife actually meant a project like paint the bathroom and fix the deck railing, but that's another story," Ingold said.

Instead, the project he is working on is bringing the nearly 100-year-old train back to life. 

"We get literally hundreds of people that stop by and are just curious about it, and talk to us about it," he shared. "[They] take pictures and watch us, and maybe even do some hands on work. Then, they move on about their business."

It's the only locomotive left from the Western Lumber Company and only one of two locomotives left from the Anaconda Lumber Company. 

It may never see its glory days again, but this trail will serve a new, and just as important, mission.

It will be shown off at events at the fort and teach Montanans about the lumber history.

"The whistles from these locomotives, when they were blowing in the woods, meant prosperity," Ingold said. "It meant men were working and things were happening."

Ingold is just one of a few volunteers restoring this piece of history.

The group is slowing down for winter, but they're continuing to find partners to help with costs and labor when the weather picks back up again in spring. 

The group is aiming to complete the full cosmetic and partial mechanic restoration by its hundredth birthday in spring of 2023. 

For more information on how to take part in the restoration, click here. 

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