Chicago Area Steam
The Illinois Railway Museum
The Illinois railway museum has gone to great lengths to preserve steam
locomotives. They have a history of providing a home to steam locomotives
that for whatever reason were no longer wanted at their respective
locations. I haven't kept count, but over the past few years they have
probably been the new home for at least five steam locomotives from across
the US. A few of these recent additions include CB&Q Hudson (4-6-4) 3007
(from Atlantic, IA), AT&SF Northern (4-8-4) 2903 (from the Museum of Science
and Industry), and T&NO 2-10-2 975 (from Beaumont, TX).
Roughly half of the steam locomotive collection at the IRM is kept indoors in
long sheds. There are four tracks (I think) per shed on which the equipment is
parked. While keeping the equipment indoors provides excellent protection
against the whether, it also makes it difficult to photograph the equipment (as
seen in some of the photos below). I visited the Illinois Railway Museum
in 1998. Many of the photos seen below are from that visit.
Two of the largest steam locomotives (at the time of my visit) at the
Illinois Railway Museum are shown here. On the left is Milwaukee Road
northern number 265. This is the only surviving sister engine to Northstar
Rail's #261 which operates out of Minneapolis, MN. On the right is Norfolk &
Western's class Y3a 2050. Built in 1923, this 2-8-8-2 could generate 114,154
lbs tractive effort running in compound expansion mode (136,985 simple). It
had 3,400 HP and could move at 50 MPH. Notice the large front low-pressure
There is an interesting story behind the following two locomotives. In 1960
the Grand Trunk Western 8380 (pictured on the left) was one of 16 0-8-0s sent
to the Northwestern Steel & Wire Co. in Sterling, IL to be scrapped. Up
until 1964, the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy mikado 4963 (pictured below) was
in revenue freight service on the Bevier & Southern.
The GTW 0-8-0s were in better shape than the CB&Q 0-6-0s that Northwestern
Steel & Wire Co. were using. So instead of scrapping them, the NS&W
scrapped their own 0-6-0s and started using the 0-8-0s instead.
After being used as parts supply for the 4960, Richard Jensen acquired the 4963 in 1966 but
lost it in a court battle in 1969. From 1970 on, it sat rusting away in a
Chicago scrap yard (along with famous CB&Q northern 5632 which was cut up).
To get 4963, in 1988, the Illinois Railway Museum worked out a trade which
involved five of the GTW 0-8-0s. The 16 GTW 0-8-0s had been donated to
the IRM but remained at Northwestern Steel & Wire. The three at NS&W
were possibly the last operating steam locomotives in revenue service.
Here is a table which will describe the fate of the 0-8-0s:
- 8314>| 1970 cut up for scrap
- 8373--->| donated to city of Sterling, IL (photo)
- 8376--->| donated to city of Amboy, IL
- 8315---->| Apr, 1980 cut up for scrap
- 8310----->| Jan, 1982 cut up for scrap
- 8325----->| Jan, 1982 cut up for scrap
- 8380------>| 1982 transferred to IRM (photo)
- 8327------->| 1983 transferred to Bandana Square, St. Paul, MN (photo)
- 8306----------->| 1988 traded to Chicago scrap yard in trade for 4963
- 8328----------->| 1988 traded to Chicago scrap yard in trade for 4963
- 8372----------->| 1988 traded to Chicago scrap yard in trade for 4963
- 8375----------->| 1988 traded to Chicago scrap yard in trade for 4963
- 8379----------->| 1988 traded to Chicago scrap yard in trade for 4963
- 8300--------------->| on display in Independence, IA (photo)
- 8305--------------->| being cosmetically restored in Quincy, IL (photo)
- 8374--------------->| disassembled in Geneva, NE (photo)
The three GTW/Northwestern Steel & Wire 0-8-0s in Galt, Illinois are on a
siding behind a grain elevator. They look like they're in terrible shape.
They're all covered in rust, with boiler and cylinder jackets rusted right
through in many places. Two of them have also had their air pumps removed
among other things. The other one, 8300, appears to be in the best shape
of the three, but she still has half a load of coal in her tender, so the
bunker is badly rusted out. The other two were converted to oil firing at
some point. There is also a small Kansas City Southern Vanderbilt tender
located there. This tender is most likely one that was used on the 8328.
Due to clearance considerations with the cab roof of 8328, the tender was
equipped with a buckeye couple where the drawbar used to be and was attached
backwards to the 8328! On the back of 8300s tender, someone (presumably
at NS&W when donating the engines to the IRM) had chalked the word "SAVE".
Looking at these derelict engines now, that seems pretty ironic.
LSI 35 (with a Tender Booster)
If you look very carefully at the front truck on the tender of this Lake
Superior & Ishpeming consolidation (I know it is hard to see) you will see a
side rod. That is a give-away that this locomotive has a tender booster. The
Hocking Valley RR in Nelsonville, Ohio operates sister locomotive LS&I #33. This
locomotive also had a tender booster, however it was removed and scrapped after
its first year of operation the tourist railroad.
Other Steam at the IRM
This mogul had many owners and wore many numbers including 3706 and 109.
Originally an Illinois Central locomotive, it was last owned by Bevier &
This is former Lehigh & New England 0-6-0 number 207.
Union Electric Company fireless 0-4-0 number 4.
Public Service Company 0-6-0T 7
This the only surviving Baldwin DT-6-6-2000. The Minneapolis, Northfield &
Southern had five of these locomotives:
The DT-6-6-2000s had two 1000 HP engines (one under each hood). They were 74
feet long and weighed 355,000 lbs.
- 20: scrapped 1966-68
- 21: retired late 1974
- 22: scrapped 1966-68
- 23: sold for scrap early 1974
- 24: scrapped 1966-68
The Chicago Historical Society
This 4-2-0 locomotive (displayed tenderless on the second floor of the Chicago
Historical Society as number 7) was built by Baldwin in 1837 for the Utica &
Schenetady. The U&S named it "Alert". After nine years it was sold to the
Michigan Central where both a tender and cab were added. In 1848 it was sold
to the Galena & Chicago Union Railroad (which later became the Chicago and
Northwestern) making it the first railway locomotive to operate in Chicago.
They renamed it "Pioneer".
The tender for the Pioneer is located at a CA&E station in Villa Park.
Many years ago there was a replica coach that the C&NW had included with
the Pioneer when it was used for display (at railroad fairs) which used
to be owned by the L&RyHS and stored in Riverside. The replica coach has
been moved at least 20 years ago and its current location is unknown.
The Museum of Science and Industry
In 1993, these two locomotives were displayed (outside) at the Chicago Museum
of Science and Industry. Pictured first is New York Central & Hudson River
Railroad's 999. Built specifically for New York Central's "Exposition Flyer"
of 1893 and one of 62 locomotives displayed at Chicago's Columbian
Exposition, it was the first vehicle in the world to exceed 100 miles per
hour. It set the speed record on May 10, 1893 on a run between Batavia and
Buffalo, NY. The large drivers (86 inch) were later replaced by smaller (70
inch) ones. The locomotive pictured on the right (now displayed at the
Illinois Railway Museum in Union, IL) is Santa Fe's 2903 (one of the 2900
class). The 2900 class was unique. At 64'-5" (engine) + 55'-6" (tender) =
119'-11" (total) and 510,000 pounds, they were the longest (engine + tender)
and heaviest Northerns ever built. Six of the 2900 class survive today:
Inside the Museum are several small locomotives. One of them is an old
Illinois Central locomotive named "Mississippi".
- 2903 2900 4-8-4 AT&SF Illinois Railway Museum, Union, IL
- 2912 2900 4-8-4 AT&SF Pueblo Union Depot, Pueblo, CO
- 2913 2900 4-8-4 AT&SF Riverview Park, Ft. Madison, IA
- 2921 2900 4-8-4 AT&SF Modesto Park, Modesto, CA
- 2925 2900 4-8-4 AT&SF N of CSRM's Unit Shop, Sacramento, CA
- 2926 2900 4-8-4 AT&SF 3rd St. & I-40, Coronado Park, Albuquerque, NM
Stephenson's 0-2-2 Rocket (this is a replica) won a competition for
locomotive power at the Rainhill Trials on the Manchester & Liverpool
Railway. Capable of 30 mph with 30 passengers.
Chicago Gravel number 18, an 0-6-0, is on display in Veterans Park in
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