The #1070 was part of a order of Class L-9 0-6-0's the Northern Pacific ordered from Alco. Coincidentally, it shares the same number as a loaned S-1 diesel, another ALCO product.
Around 1925, 1070 was moved to the Tacoma Division. In May, 1950, #1070 was converted from burning coal to burning oil.
It ended its career with the Northern Pacific in 1958 at McCleary, as the last steam locomotive retired from active service. Around March the same year, the engine was leased by the NP to The Simpson Lumber Co. in McCleary, WA and then was sold to them around May, 1958. The locomotive was seen pulling lumber cars at the plant in 1959. 1070 was also seen pushing a bunk car and a log loader to carry some logs deeper into the tall timbers of northwest Washington state.
It was moved to The Puget Sound Railway Historical Association (P.S.R.H.A) in Snoqualmie, WA and stored there until 1972 when they bought a ex-NP branch line from the Burlington Northern that they renamed to The Lake Whatcom Railway.
In 1988, the locomotive ventured briefly on Burlington Northern trackage, carrying oil tankers. In April the same year, Burlington Northern Railway had a track washout south of Wickersham, WA due to flooding. They hired 1070 to haul their cars back to Acme, WA. It was because of her that Burlington Northern ended their steam ban.
The locomotive is based at the Lake Whatcom Railway where it worked hauling passenger excursions and occasional freight trains.
Today, NP #1070 still resides at Lake Whatcom Railway but has been out of passenger service for over a decade due to expired boiler tubes (according to the Federal Railway Administration). Up until recently, it was regularly steamed in storage for the sole purpose of heating the railway's fleet of heavyweight Pullman passenger coaches for winter excursions. Lack of adequate funds have indefinitely ended this practice, the railway instead using a more efficient, smaller steam donkey.
In 2018, a documentary film crew hired NP #1070 and the LWRR's coach fleet for a period film shoot. While the engine wasn't steamed-up, the railways diesel engine (Alco SW1 NPTCO #30) was used to push and pull the train for moving and effect shots.
- This is the only operable steam locomotive on the Lake Whatcom Railway.
- This locomotive featured in the film "The Grey Fox", "Trainsongs", and its wheels make a brief appearance in "Hard Hat Harry: Trains".
- This locomotive holds the distinction of being the only surviving US-built steam engine that has operated every decade of the 20th Century.