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 previous locations. I haven't kept count, but over the years they have probably been the new home for at least a half a dozen steam locomotives from across the US. A few of these 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)
  • T&NO 2-10-2 975 (from Beaumont, TX)
  • SP 2-10-2 975 (from Beaumont, TX)
  • CB&Q 4-6-4 3007 (from Atlantic, IA)

Roughly half of the steam locomotive collection at the IRM is kept under roof 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 from the elements, it also makes it difficult to photograph the equipment (as seen in some of the photos below). I visited the Illinois Railway Museum in July, 1992. Many of the photos seen below are from that visit.

Norfolk & Western Class Y3a 2-8-8-2 #2050

1992 N&W 2050 photo by Wes Barris

This is Norfolk & Western's class Y3a 2050. It is one of only two surviving N&W 2-8-8-2s and the first from the Y3a class (2050-2079). Built in 1923 in Richmond, this 2-8-8-2 could pull with 114,154 lbs of tractive effort running in compound expansion mode and a staggering 136,985 lbs in simple mode where all four cylinders were supplied with high-pressure steam. It could generate 3,400 draw-bar HP and could travel up to 50 MPH. The N&W 2-8-8-2s were based on the USRA design. While many other railroads eventually converted their 2-8-8-2s into faster, simple expansion locomotives, the N&W kept their fleet as more efficient compound expansion locomotives where were well-suited to N&Ws tonnage, grades, and curves. Notice the large front low-pressure cylinders.

2050 was retired and sold to the Armco Steel Corp. in Middletown, OH for scrap in 1959. It was later donated to the Illinois Railway Museum in April, 1976.

Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific (Milwaukee Road) Class S3 4-8-4 #265

1992 Milwaukee Road 265 photo by Wes Barris

265 is one of 10 Class S3 Northerns. They were built by ALCO in 1944 and were different from the previous S2 class. Wartime restrictions prohibited new locomotive designs. So ALCO combined a Delaware & Hudson boiler, a Rock Island frame, with a Union Pacific tender and came up with a class S3 Milwaukee Road Northern. The result turned out to be quite an attractive dual-service locomotive.

After retirement in 1956, 265 was donated to the city of Milwaukee. In 1975 it was donated to the Illinois Railway Museum. 265 is the only surviving sister engine to Northstar Rail's #261 which operates out of Minneapolis, MN.

Chicado, Burlington & Quincy 2-8-2 4963 and Grand Trunk Western 0-8-0 8380

CB&Q 2-8-2 4963. 1992 Wes Barris photo.

There is an interesting story behind these two locomotives. In 1960 Grand Trunk Western 8380 was one of 16 0-8-0s sent to the Northwestern Steel & Wire Co. in Sterling, IL to be scrapped.

Until 1964, the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy mikado 4963 was in revenue freight service on the Bevier & Southern. After 1964, the CB&Q briefly kept 4963 as a parts supply for sister locomotive 4960 which the CB&Q was already using in excursion service, 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).

The 16 GTW 0-8-0s that were sent to Northwestern Steel & Wire turned out to be in better shape than the CB&Q 0-6-0s that Northwestern Steel & Wire Co. had been using. So, instead of scrapping the the 0-8-0s, NS&W chose to scrap their own 0-6-0s and use the 0-8-0s for their operations. For 10 years (unsure of the date) NS&W used the GTW 0-8-0s. When NS&W no longer needed the 0-8-0s, they chose to donate them to the IRM instead of scrapping them. However, all of them remained at Northwestern Steel & Wire for the moment. The last operating 0-8-0s may have been some of the last steam locomotives in revenue service.

Grand Trunk Western 0-8-0 8380. 1992 Wes Barris photo.

Four of the GTW/Northwestern Steel & Wire 0-8-0s (8300, 8305, 8310, 8374) were placed on a siding in Galt, IL and remained there for many years. They fell into disrepair and became surrounded by trees. They looked to be in terrible shape. They were 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. 8300, appeared to be in the best shape, but she still had half a load of coal in her tender, so the bunker was badly rusted out. Two (8305, 8374) were converted to oil firing at some point. There was 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 coupler 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".

In 1988, the Illinois Railway Museum made an effort to get 4963 out of that Chicago scrap yard. The IRM worked out a trade which included five of the GTW 0-8-0s. Obviously, 4963 was deemed more valuable than the 0-8-0s.

The fate of the Galt locomotives is as follows. 8310 was scrapped in January of 1982. 8300 was moved to Independence IA in 2002 and is now on display. 8374 was moved to Geneva, NE and is dissasembled and being restored. 8305 remains in Galt and is barely visible in a Google Maps View through the trees.

Here is a table which shows the fate of all 16 GTW 0-8-0s.

1960 1970 1980 1981 1982 1983 1988 19??
8300to Northwestern Steel & Wirestored in Galt, IL photodonated to the IRM but remained in Galtmoved to Independence, IA
8305to Northwestern Steel & Wirestored in Galt, IL photodonated to the IRM but remained in Galt
8306to Northwestern Steel & Wiretraded to Chicago Scrap yard for 4963
8310to Northwestern Steel & Wirestored in Galt, ILscrapped in January
8314to Northwestern Steel & Wirecut up for scrap
8315to Northwestern Steel & Wirecut up for scrap in April
8325to Northwestern Steel & Wirescrapped in January
8327to Northwestern Steel & Wiredonated to the IRM in Januarysold to Bandana Square, St. Paul, MN in October photo
8328to Northwestern Steel & Wiretraded to Chicago Scrap yard for 4963
8372to Northwestern Steel & Wiretraded to Chicago Scrap yard for 4963
8373to Northwestern Steel & Wiredonated to the city of Sterling, IL photo
8374to Northwestern Steel & Wirestored in Galt, IL photodonated to the IRM but remained in Galtmoved to Geneva, NE, restoration
8375to Northwestern Steel & Wiretraded to Chicago Scrap yard for 4963
8376to Northwestern Steel & Wiredonated to the city of Amboy, IL
8379to Northwestern Steel & Wiretraded to Chicago Scrap yard for 4963
8380to Northwestern Steel & Wiredonated and moved to the IRM in January

Lake Superior & Ishpeming 2-8-0 35 (with a Tender Booster)

Lake Superior & Ishpeming 2-8-0 35. 1992 Wes Barris photo.
Front truck booster.

If you look very carefully at the front truck on the tender of this Lake Superior & Ishpeming consolidation 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 operated sister locomotive LS&I #33. That locomotive also had a tender booster. However it was removed and scrapped after its first year of operation on the tourist railroad.

This locomotive started out as #19 on the LS&I. It was changed to #35 in 1923. It was donated to the IRM in 1985 and moved to the museum from Marquette, MI in 1986. It is one of eleven surviving LS&I consolidations.

Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe 4-8-4 2903

AT&SF 4-8-4 2903. 1993 Wes Barris photo.

2903 is one of Santa Fe's 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. This class of locomotives was used for both passenger and freight. I routinely pulled passenger trains a 90 MPH.

2903 was retired and donated to the Chicago Museum of Science & Industry in 1961. In 1993 2903 was still displayed outside of that museum, as shown in the photo. However, shortly after, the museum went through a re-design phase and it was decided to put all of its exhibits indoors. The 2903 did not fit into those plans so, in 1994, 2903 was donated to the Illinois Railway Museum and moved to the IRM in 1995. Six of the 2900 class survive today:

More IRM Steam Locomotives

Illinois Central 3039. 1992 Wes Barris photo.
Lehigh & New England 0-6-0 207. 1992 Wes Barris photo.
Union Electric Company fireless 0-4-0 4. 1992 Wes Barris photo.
Public Service Co. 0-6-0T. 1992 Wes Barris photo.

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Wes Barris