Thursday, April 17, 2008

Steam Page

Note: all of these pictures are going to be displayed at small size to save space. You just have to click on each one to see the full size.

NKP 765 - 1980

On May 6, 1980, this Nickel Plate Berk, based in Ft. Wayne, was in Peoria to pull a revenue freight train for the TP&W, since I guess they were short of power. Norm Krentel, Jeff Brady, Jon Fenlaciki, and I drove down there to see the show, along with several hundred others!

Unfortunately, when we got there they'd found a problem with the exhaust nozzle, so the Ft. Wayne guys were busy welding inside the smokebox.

That was going to take several hours, so we drove around and visited various other things in and around Peoria, including the Rock Island Pacific "886" behind its fence.

After we spent a few hours visiting other sites in the Peoria area and eating at Von Achen's Junction, the 765 had been fixed and pressure was starting to build:

Then it went to the turntable to be turned:

And then it had to travel quite a distance through the yard to pick up its train:

By the time the freight train got on the road, it was getting dark. So my pictures of it in motion didn't turn out too well. Here it is blasting up the hill east out of Peoria, crossing over the IT. A huge caravan of railfans chased it all the way to the state line. US 24 is a two-lane road through the country; we had two solid lanes of traffic alongside the train, both heading east. Anybody coming the other way had to get off the road!

CB&Q 3001

This Burlington Hudson is on display at Ottumwa, Iowa, beside the depot. It appears to be well maintained. The word "Museum" on the building refers to a genealogy museum inside.

CB&Q 3003

Another Hudson is similarly on display in Burlington, Iowa, near the depot. It also is well maintained and stored outside behind a low fence.

CB&Q 3006

Another in the same series is on display in Galesburg. It also is well maintained.

CB&Q 3007

IRM's Hudson is stored inside, so it's protected but normally hard to photograph. Here it was being switched out on July 26, 2009. Photo by Frank.

For details, we'll start in the cab. The backhead is in good condition.

The engineer's position to the right....

And the fireman's to the left.

I thought this sign on the front of the tender was amusing: "Do Not Step In Conveyor." I would have thought that if you need to be reminded, you shouldn't be working here.

Under the left-hand side of the cab is the injector, and behind it the levers for the grates.

Under the other side is the triple valve and air tanks.

And finally, the two cross-compound air pumps.

CB&Q 4000 - 1979
("Big Alice")

This locomotive was built by Baldwin for the Burlington as #3002 in 1930. In 1937 it was rebuilt at West Burlington into the stainless-steel streamlined locomotive "Aeolus" and operated for the next few years mostly as protection for the Zephyrs.

The shrouding was removed about 1941, and it returned to its original appearance, more or less. It has been on display in a park in La Crosse, Wisc. since 1963, with a Milwaukee Road waycar. It's now under a roof.

These pictures were taken in 1979. Of course, it was cloudy and wet that day....

Some details, such as the injector.

CB&Q 637

The 637 is a ten-wheeler built by Rogers in 1892, (class K-2) and is the second oldest locomotive at IRM. After it was withdrawn from service in the early fifties, it was put on display in a park in Aurora for many years and was somewhat vandalized, but is now safely under cover. The tender has suffered structural damage and is stored outside. Above is a photo taken by Frank several years ago when it was still outside.

Pictures of the whole locomotive are difficult to take inside the barn, but I was able to concentrate on some interesting details.

Here's the cab and backhead. The most notable feature of this design is that the cab straddles almost the entire Belpaire-style firebox, and the engineer and fireman sit on opposite sides. When seated, they cannot see each other, but I suppose the fireman didn't spend a lot of time sitting down! Each half of the cab has a door to the backplate, as seen here.

Here is a view of the engineer's side of the cab. The seats are missing, but you can see the Johnson bar and brake valve, and what's left of the other valves and gauges. The throttle is mounted horizontally above the top of the firebox.

To the right, looking across the top of the firebox we see the throttle mechanism and an injector. The locomotive was certainly heavily rebuilt during its long years of service.

A view of the engineer's compartment from farther back.

And here is the fireman's side of the cab.

To the left, the cross-compound air pump. To the right, behind the rear driver is another injector, and behind it is a vertical brake cylinder.

CB&Q 4963

This is a class O1a Mike built by Baldwin in 1923. IRM managed to rescue it from the scrapper after the death of Richard Jensen left it in limbo. It is generally in better condition than the 637, at least cosmetically.

That's the main rod lying on the running board, by the way.

The cab is laid out in the familiar pattern for later locomotives. Here are the two sides of the cab.

The butterfly doors still work, so let's look inside the firebox. Here are the brick arches. I've never figured out how these could ever hold together when the locomotive is actually operating, considering the heat, draft, and vibration.

(L) Some details below the cab. At lower left, the injector, and at upper right, the ends of the cylinders for the stoker motor.

(R) The Worthington feedwater heater, mounted alongside the boiler.

GW 90 - 1979

My father and I paid a visit to Strasburg in September, 1979. The Great Western 90 was the power that day.

N&W 578 - 1980

This Norfolk & Western Pacific still looked pretty good at the Ohio Railway Museum in Worthington in May 1980, although it had been out of service for several years. It's still there.

J. Neils Lumber #5 (Shay) - 1968
This was the first steam locomotive to operate at IRM, in 1967. Here it is in August, 1968. At that time it appears it was not lettered at all - I remember it as being KL&L #5 in the 1970s. Location is station track 1 east of the depot, where we now have a loading platform. Photos by Allan Hicks.

N&W 1218 - 1988

The Norfolk & Western Class A (2-6-6-4) visited Chicago in June 1988. I'm afraid we won't ever see this under steam again.

I believe on this occasion I brought Frank along for the first time to actually chase trains.

N&W 611 - 1994

These pictures were taken the last time the 611 visited Chicago. According to reader John Csoka, this was in August 1994 for an NRHS convention and some excursion trips. Thanks for the update!

It was based out of NS's 103rd St. Calumet Yard.

NKP 639

This Nickel Plate Mike has been on display in Bloomington (Ill.) at Miller Park since 1959, when it was donated by the railroad.  It is surrounded by a high chain-link fence, making photography difficult, but protecting it from vandalism.  It appears to be in excellent condition.

Everything you could want to know.

So mostly what I can show you is a set of details, taken through the fence.  The jacketing was removed, which is good.

Behind it is a steel SP caboose, for some reason.

And next to it are these whistles from the Chicago and Alton shops in Bloomiington -- pretty impressive!

UP 3985 - 1993

The Challenger visited Chicago in July of 1993.

This shot is pretty impressive if I say so myself. The cylinder cocks are open and it's accelerating a heavy train for all it's worth. By the time it reached the city limits we couldn't keep up with it.

For views of 3985's visit to St. Louis in 2010, click here.

North Freedom - 1993

C&NW 1385, a Class R-1 4-6-0. This used to be Mid-Continent's main service locomotive, but it has been out of service for several years. Here it is southbound approaching the road crossing at LeRoy.

Saginaw Timber Co. #2. Now also out of service. I don't remember the details, but this engine was at IRM for a few years under private ownership, I believe, before being sold to North Freedom in 1982


UP 844 - 1996

Here's the 844 in Proviso Yard on Sept. 1, 1996. It had pulled the UP business train. The train was making a visit to IRM, but the 844 could not be used due to concerns about the bridge over the Fox River in Elgin.

And here's the 844 on August 24, 2008, in Denver for the Democratic National Convention. My brother is not a railfan, but he lives in Denver across the street from the convention center, so this is two blocks away. Photo by Brian Hicks.

Update 8/29: Brian adds:
The 844 had a passenger car derail yesterday when it was backing up to
switch to a different track. The cars were blocking 15th Street, a main
street one block from my home. A few hours later they got the car back on
the track and headed off into the sunset. It was quite exciting for awhile and blocking a lot of traffic from the Democratic convention.

ACL 1504 - 1998

Nice USRA Pacific on display at the Jacksonville Convention Center in early 1998; it's still there as I understand. My one visit to Florida and it was cold and overcast.

IC 2501

Built during World War II by the IC shops in Paducah, KY, this locomotive is a combination of a boiler from a 2-10-2 and an entirely new cast steel frame. These locomotives ran mainly on the Chicago to Memphis mainline, but also ran on the Kentucky Division.

Photo by David Wilkins, taken on Friday, February 27, 2009 at Fairview Park in Centralia, IL.


LACKAWANNA 952 - 1999

In the fall of 1999, the 952 was still stored outside in an inaccessible location on the hillside, at the Museum of Transport in Kirkwood, Mo. (near St. Louis). It has since received an excellent cosmetic restoration and is on display under cover.

The Road of Anthracite referred to engines of this type as double-cab locomotives, which seems a more professional-sounding term than "Camelbacks" or "Mother Hubbards." And suffice it to say that ownership of this locomotive is still in dispute. The Hicks Car Works legal department will be glad to fill you in on the details....

Mammoth Cave #4

This little 0-4-2T steam dummy, an 1888 Baldwin, and its car were used to carry visitors to Mammoth Cave from the nearest railroad station. It's on display under this roof near the park hotel. Photo by David Wilkins. This equipment was restored by the Kentucky Railroad Museum while he was there.

This is the only steam locomotive I know of with Van Dorn couplers. But the railroad installed pin lifting mechanisms like you find on MCB couplers, which prevents the coupler from moving radially. It's truly a bizarre feature.

Update: These pre-restoration pictures date to April '99. Because the equipment was (and is) behind a fence, detailed shots were difficult.

To the left is a close-up of the coupling between locomotive and car. To the right is the coupler on the far end of the car; it has no pin lifter. The wooden post was holding up the platform.

David adds: "The MCRR was a run-around operation. The locomotives would operate front-first from Glasgow Junction on the L&N to the Mammoth Cave Hotel, near the cave entrance. When the 4 made the last run in the 1930s, there was no run around, and the train was placed on display right on the former main line. After removal for restoration, park officials decided it was a good time to do a "run-around" and have the train look as if it was running into the park.

"The combine was built by Ohio Falls Car Company (ACF Jeffersonville) It has 4 different wheelsets from 4 makers. I think the car even has 2 to 3 different brands of journal box covers."

Another interesting feature is that it has vacuum brakes -- the arrow points to the brake cylinder. This is really 1880's rapid transit technology.

Locomotives from Thompson Winery - 2008

Coronet Phosphate #9 was stored at the Thompson Winery for many years - I can remember we visited that place when I was in high school. This is a 1925 Porter, and it was moved to Union on November 10, 2008.

This is Lee Tidewater Cypress #18, a 1920 Baldwin 2-6-0. It's had several owners, info here. Unfortunately, I'm told the pilot truck is missing.

Texas & St. Louis 18

This 2-6-0 was built by Grant in 1888 for the narrow-gauge Texas & St. Louis, part of a short-lived narrow gauge Midwestern network. It has been substantially rebuilt over the years and is now standard gauge.

More on its history can be found at this link. It has changed hands several times, and was resold by the Hicks Locomotive and Car Works!

It is now stored on the Sanfilippo Estate near Barrington, and is kept clean and polished, as seen here. It is serviceable and is occasionally operated over a couple hundred feet of track on the estate.

The tender is lettered "Victoria Junction" as are the two cars in the collection.


Southern #401 - 2008

This is a 1907 Baldwin. A new boiler has been constructed for it, and reassembly is proceeding rapidly. Plans are for first operation sometime in 2009.

Southern Pacific 4449

This, of course, is the famous GS-4 now in its Daylight paint scheme. I last saw it in person when it was pulling the Freedom Train through Downer's Grove in 1976. Here it is, photographed on its way to Chicago on July 18, 2009, at Sugar Grove. The train was running at track speed which made photography challenging, to say the least.

SP 4449 at Alma, Mich. during Steam Fest 2009. Photo by Linda Evans.

MILW 261 - 2004

On June 26, 2004, the 261 was running a fan trip to Bureau Jct., of all places, where it was wyed for the return trip. It usually isn't too hard to talk my wife into taking a ride in the country. And then: "Hey, look, there's a steam train! Who would have thought?"

As you might have noticed, my view of steam is generally the bigger, the better!

In another few years, these railfans could join IRM!

What better to way to end a Milwaukee Road train (or these pictures) than with the Skytop Lounge Cedar Rapids?


Moscow Camden & San Augustine - 1971

I recently found these slides amongst the thousands my father took. Since I wasn't along, I can't tell you very much about what we're seeing.

When I found these slides, I guessed that the three locomotives shown here were probably doomed. But no! They have all been cosmetically restored, at least, and are on display. They look much better now than they did in 1971!

MC&SA #201 (above, left) was restored to operating condition at Eureka Springs, Ark. but is now in display status. MC&SA #6 is on display at San Antonio. Carter Bros. #5 is on display at the Polk County museum in Livingston, Texas.

My parents went for a ride, but there's no picture of the locomotive. This is evidently the 1898 wooden combine that was used for revenue passenger service until 1973. Does anyone know what happened to this car?

Colorado Railroad Museum - 1962

A visit to the CRRM at Golden in July, 1962 provided us with these shots of narrow-gauge steam. This is D&RG 318, which was built for the Florence and Cripple Creek. It's not clear to me how many of these were operable at that time. This one seems to have since been disassembled, judging from the picture at

And here is D&RG 346.

That's what we need at IRM: a three-way stub switch!

Finally, RGS #20, also built for the F&CC.

Reader Railroad - 1968

This 2-6-2 was sold in 1976 to Conway Scenic; it is currently held for restoration in Sulfur Springs, Tex. by the Rannoch Corporation. I'm not sure what the current status is.

Taylor County Lumber #2

This little 2-6-2 wood-burner is a 1913 Baldwin. By 1970, when this picture was taken, it had been bought by the city of Bradenton, Fla., where it last worked, and lettered for the city. It's now under cover in the "Manatee Historical Village." See this link. Photo by Allan Hicks.

Black Hills Central - 1970

These views of the Black Hills Central date to Sept. 1970. I see this tourist line is celebrating its 50th anniversary. But this Shay, lettered Black Hills Central #7, is evidently no longer on the roster, and I don't know what might have happened to it. Can anyone help?

This little toy train is a German locomotive now at Prairie Village in Madison, S.D., and still operational.

Golden Spike National Historic Site - Promontory Summit, Utah - 2008

Three views taken recently by the General Counsel to the Hicks Car Works, David Wilkins, while he was on vacation in Utah. The site has two replica 4-4-0s, one of Union Pacific 119 and one of Central Pacific 60, also known as the "Jupiter." These handsome and accurate locomotives were built in the 1970s by O'Connor Engineering of Costa Mesa, California.


Brooklyn, Wisc. - c. 1900

My great-uncle was a C&NW station agent for many years in the little town of Brooklyn, Wisc. I scanned this picture from the original glass plate negative, and think it turned out pretty well. Anybody want to try to narrow down the date of this photograph?

Worcester County Electric Company #1 - 2008

This elderly 0-4-0T was built by Porter in 1902 for National Steel in Mingo Junction, OH, was sold to the U.S. Army during World War I and was later bought by WCE in 1920. In 1963 Nelson Blount purchased it for the Steamtown collection, and it was moved to Bellows Falls, VT and later to Scranton, PA before being sold to an individual who now stores it in Oaks, PA. Information from

Nashville Chattanooga & St. Louis #576 - 2010

The only survivor of 25 modern 4-8-4's that the NC&StL christened "Dixies" rather than "Northerns" is 576, built by Alco in 1942. It's preserved under a roof in Centennial Park in Nashville and seems to be in good condition. It has been in Centennial Park since it was donated to the city by the railroad in 1953, more than five times as far in the past as the duration the locomotive actually saw use.

Port Huron and Northwestern #1 - 1954

This is a 3' (narrow gauge) 2-4-0 built by Porter in 1878. It was put on display at Traverse City, and here I am checking out the valve gear about 1954. Since that time it has moved around but is now in the Port Huron museum, and under cover. See this link for more info. (Photo by Allan Hicks)

Illinois Midland #4 - c. 1954

This was a really short shortline (about three miles) between Millington and Newark, with one locomotive. We happened across it, and the engineer invited me up for my first cab ride. (Photos by Allan Hicks)

Wabash #706

This is a beautiful streamlined Hudson. The photo itself appears to have been sent by Mr. A. L. Veith, the Wabash Asst. Super of Motive Power, to Maury Klebolt, and it came into our possession when the IT business car 234 was donated to IRM.

Mystery Locomotive

Here's an old postcard that belonged to one of my in-laws. The back says only: Schnupp & Son, Mountain Grove, Mo. What a weird locomotive - notice the cut-out for the valve gear in the side tank. And who ever numbered a locomotive P91? Notice the trolley wire supports in the background - we're guessing this is Kansas City. Can anybody identify this engine?

Update: Consensus seems to be that this is actually Havana, Cuba. "U" and "UH" stand for Unidos de Habana or words to that effect. Dave Conrad suggested it first. Good work!

Frisco Consol #1241

Here's another in-law postcard, but this one I can tell you more about. It was mailed (with a 1 cent stamp) from Enid, Oklahoma on April 14, 1914. And look, there's the engineer's wife! Isn't that sweet? There's a long message to "My dear Parents" on the back; part of it says: "Clyde went to Tulsa this A.M. on big engine like one on other side. He was six times out last night and didn't expect to be called but only a few of the extra firemen are qualified to go on these engines so he was called on that account. They called another first and he got sick at round house and could not go."

As I study this picture, I think: What a way to make a living! There's no stoker, no power reverse, nothing to make life easy, nothing but a huge iron machine that has several ways to kill you if you're not careful. Those men really had to be tough!

Frisco Pile Driver - 1914
Two views of a work train replacing a collapsed trestle somewhere in Oklahoma, I guess. The messages on the backs of these two postcards say nothing about the pictures.


Wisconsin Railfan said...

Excellent page on the steam locomotives Randy. You have some great images here! Thanks for sharing.


David Wilkins said...

Well, Mountain Grove, MO is directly south of Ft. Leonard Wood, in southwestern Missouri. I don't think there was a streetcar or interurban operation there. I think Springfield had a streetcar system for a while, but can't be sure.

My guess is "lead mining." Missouri had a lot of lead mines, and I don't know why, but I'm pinning my guess on my assumption that the locomotive is somehow related to that.

Anonymous said...

I think you are off by a few miles, I think this might be from the Ferrocarriles Unidos de la Habana, or The United Railways of Havana, which reporting marks "UH" would make sense. Also if you follow the attached link and look at the first photo that appears to be the same bridge

Richard Wilkens

David Wilkins said...

I think the MC&St.A combine was originally built for the Long Island Railroad. I wonder what happened to it.

Unknown said...

For details about the MC&SA, see my story, Iron horses put out to pasture, at

Anonymous said...


According to a Chicago Chapter NRHS flyer I have in my archives, the NW 611 was in the Chicago area last (I think) on August 6-7, 1994. It was there for the NRHS convention and a series of excursions. According to the brochure, it was based out of the NS's 103rd St. Calumet Yards. Hope this helps?

John Csoka
IRM Western Division

Anonymous said...

Randy, It is correct when the 611 was last here, I rode in the open window car courtesy of Mr. John Houk and I swore I saw you and Frank trackside. The cinders in my eye were fierce, but like bikers and dogs on car rides, I couldn't help but want to hang my head out the window. I was fortunate to experience this trip and it makes me smile to this day.....Your old pal and blast from the past, Ben a.k.a. trap (according to the gorilla) Rohling.

Jeff Delhaye said...

that "Huge air pump" on CB&Q 4963 is actually a Worthington feedwater heater.

Randall Hicks said...

Ooooops, of course. Well, uh, it was dark in the barn.... It's been fixed.

Doug Wolfe said...

Southern 401, pictured here on your page, had its inaugural weekend of runs on September 18 & 19, 2010 at the Monticello Railway Museum in Monticello, Illinois.

It is beautiful. If you would like to see pictures I have them posted at: