Completed Projects

Santa Fe 2903 (4-8-4)
One of the department's biggest challenges was the moving of 2903 from the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) in Chicago to the museum in Union. The 660,000 pound plus locomotive and tender was moved down a bridal path along Lake Shore Drive, through a park, down city streets to a ramp that went up to the elevated Illinois Central tracks. It was moved using several 39-foot sections of track using a "leap-frog" type of operation. Several sections of track were put in front of the locomotive, the locomotive was moved forward, and the sections behind the locomotive were laid back in front. The timetable for us to get the locomotive ready to roll on its own wheels and to move it from MSI's property was four months. We received ownership of 2903 on December 14, 1994 with a deadline to be off of MSI property by April 1, 1995. Work began after the holidays. The brakes had to be repaired and tested, the main rods removed, and all friction surfaces had to be inspected, cleaned, and lubricated, along with other items. The department head and the board of directors had to raise the funding, apply for all the permits needed, and purchase or borrow the supplies needed, and hire a contractor to move the locomotive. At 6 am, March 20, the contractor, R.J. Corman, was on site and ready to get started. In early April, 2903 arrived at the museum where it is on display.

2903 crossing 57th Street at midnight.
Photo by Dan Paulissen.
Ralph Huber preparing to remove main rod.
Photo by Dan Paulissen.
2903 with the late March sky in the front of Museum of Science and Industry. Photo by Dan Paulissen.
Volunteers Ralph Huber(on ground), Dan Paulissen(top left), and mechanical coordinator, Bill Fogelis(top right). Photo by Dale Nagle.

Burlington Route 3007 (4-6-4)
This locomotive was purchased at an auction in mid-1995. It was orginally owned by a tourist operation that ceased operations. The locomotive sat at Atlantic, Iowa, sixty miles east of Omaha, Nebraska. Volunteers traveled out there to prepare it for moving on its owns wheels by train. This meant inspecting bearings, droppping the main rods, and inspecting, repairing and, testing the brakes. The locomotive was moved to Galesburg, Illinois where it waited to join another locomotive coming from Beaumont, Texas (See below). In mid-October, 1995, the locomotive was joined with SP 975 and moved to Union. The locomotive is currently on display next to Santa Fe 2903.

3007 at Burlington Northern Santa Fe's Galesburg yard.
Photo by Dan Paulissen.

Texas & New Orleans (Southern Pacific) 975 (2-10-2)
This project took steam volunteers to Beaumont, Texas. In a city park 975 sat deteriorating from years of neglect and the salty air from the Gulf. Like 2903, 975 was not near a railroad. The locomotive had to be moved to a Southern Pacific team track, the closest siding. Unlike 2903, 975 was hauled over city streets using a local rigging company. In principle, it was the same as moving a house to a different location. Once on the siding, much needed work began before moving it on its own wheels via train. The brake system was partially missing so new piping had to be installed. The main brake valve had to be cleaned and rebuilt. This process took several trips to complete. Once it was ready to roll, the railroad took it to Houston, then up to St. Louis, finally meeting 3007 at Galesburg, Illinois in mid-October, 1995. After 3007 and 975 were coupled, the two rolled their way to Union (top speed was 25 MPH). IRM's U30C diesel number 5383 (ex-Burlington Northern) was used to tow both locomotives. In return for the move, Burlington Northern used the diesel on their freight trains.

IRM's U30C diesel 5383 towing 975 into Burlington Northern's Galesburg yard. Photo by Dan Paulissen.
5383, 3007, and 975 at Burlington Northern's Galesburg Yard.
Photo by Dan Paulissen.

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