The American Freedom Train
|Routes of the Locomotives|
The American Freedom Train toured the USA from April 1, 1975 through
December 31, 1976 to commemorate the United States Bicentennial. The train
was pulled by three different steam locomotives. Each locomotive pulled
the train through a different part of the country. Each of the steam
locomotives were restored specifically for the purpose of pulling this train.
Several locomotives were considered (but not used) for pulling the American Freedom Train
- Nickel Plate 2-8-4 #755 (Now on display at the Conneaut Station in Conneaut, OH)
- Nickel Plate 2-8-4 #763 (Now on display at the Age of Steam Roundhouse in Sugarcreek, OH)
- Norfolk & Western 4-8-4 #611 (Now operating from the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke, VA)
- Union Pacific 4-8-4 #8444 (Now in service on the Union Pacific)
- Santa Fe 4-8-4 #2925 (Now stored in Sacramento, CA)
The American Freedom Train began is journey in Wilminton, DE on April 1, 1975 and concluded its journey in Miami, FL on December 31, 1976.
|SP 4449 AFT|
The locomotives that were restored to pull the American Freedom Train were:
Southern Pacific GS-4 4-8-4 number 4449
- Previously on display in Oaks Park in Portland, OR
- Moved on December 14th, 1974 to a Burlington Northern roundhouse for restoration
- Restoration takes longer than expected but is completed on April 21, 1975.
- On August 4, 1975, in Chicago, SP 4449 takes over American Freedom Train duties from 2101 and pulls the train westward.
- On Memorial Day, 1976, in Birmingham, AL, SP 4449 gives the train back to Reading 2101.
- SP 4449 is shopped.
- On August 29, 1976, Alexandria, VA, SP 4449 again takes over American Freedom Train duties.
- On December 31, 1976, in Miami, FL, the end of the American Freedom Train is officially announced.
|Reading 2101 AFT (photo by Harv Hahn)|
Reading T-1 4-8-4 number 2101
- 1959-1964: Standby locomotive for Reading Rambles.
- 1965: Sold to Striegel Supply & Equipment (scrap yard) in Baltimore, MD.
- Ross Rowland buys the 2101 from Striegel Supply.
- Restoration begins in March, 1975 at the Chessie (B&O) Riverside engine terminal.
- Restoration is completed in 30 days.
- On Tuesday, April 1, 1975 2101 (renumbered to 1) is the first locomotive to pull the American Freedom Train out of Wilmington, DE.
- On August 4, 1975, in Chicago, 2101 is releaved of her duties and 4449 takes over pulling the American Freedom Train.
- Reading 2101 receives a new paint scheme.
- On Memorial Day, 1976, in Birmingham, AL, 2101 again takes over American Freedom Train duties while SP 4449 is shopped.
- On August 29, 1976, Alexandria, VA, Reading 2101 again gives the train to SP 4449.
- 1977-1979: Used for excursions on the Chessie System.
|T&P 610 AFT (photo by Joe McMillan)|
Texas and Pacific I-1a 2-10-4 number 610
- In 1976, In Austin, TX, American Freedom Train duties are taken over by T&P 610.
- T&P 610 pulls the American Freedom Train to Ft. Worth and Dallas before returning the train to SP 4449.
The Preamble Express
|Delaware & Hudson 2312|
|UP 951 William Lang Photo|
Prior to the running of the Freedom Train in 1975, another train evaluated
the planned route in 1974. This train was called the Preamble Express and was
pulled by two different diesels.
- Delaware & Hudson U23B 2312
- Built 1968 (#36814).
- Later renumbered 1776 and served as one of the D&H's Bicentennial-themed diesels.
- Became Maine Central 291.
- Scrapped in 1988.
- Union Pacific E-9A 951
- Pulled out of retirement
- Used beginning in Omaha on Augest 11, 1974.