Illinois Rwy. Museum visit
Sept. 3, 2011

Photos by Dave Ingles

Illinois Railway Museum, beginning in August, was hostomg steam locomotive Leviathan #63, a new replica of a 19th century 4-4-0. Central Pacific in 1868 bought four 4-4-0's from Schenectady Locomotive Works in New York state, Jupiter #60, The Storm #61, The Whirlwind #62, and The Leviathan #63. David Kloke, a Wisconsin construction firm owner who had relocated to the Chicago area some years before, in 1999 began to construct a replica of Leviathan #63, and he and his crew finished the project in 2009, when the engine was trucked to Owosso, Mich., to appear at the Steam Festival there. The 4-4-0 steamed in the yard of the Steam Railroading Institute (see 2009 file --- Train-Festival-2009).

After appearing at the Rock Island Railroad Festival in August (see separate file), Leviathan #63 was trucked to Union, Ill., to appear on weekends at the Illinois Railway Museum, giving IRM its first active steam in some years. For the first time, however, this sparkling replica 4-4-0 hauled passengers, beginning in August and scheduled to go through September (taking time off in late August for two "Thomas the Tank Engine" weekends), so on Labor Day weekend Sunday, Carol and I drove down, as I expressly wanted to take a ride behind this 4-4-0. (I do have a 4-4-0 on my "log," as a youngster on the Louisville, New Albany & Corydon RR in southern Indiana -- Dad knew "the Corydon" folks, and during a vacation at Clifty Falls State Park, we went to Corydon to take a ride on their daily freight to the Southern Railway connection, my sister and I riding in the caboose. I also have ridden behind Strasburg's Pennsylvania 4-4-0 1223, during an early 1980s NRHS convention out of Lancaster, Pa.)

We drove down in mid-morning, making an obligatory stop at the Metra yard on Union Pacific (ex-CNW) in Harvard, Ill., where two trainsets were parked.

Note the customized "boarding platforms" in the yard, enabling workers to access the cars with cleaning equipment.

We arrived at IRM a little before noon, and Leviathan #63 was running, in fact had loaded and was ready for departure as I stood in line to buy my $10 senior fare admission to the grounds. Carol stayed in the car with the Sunday papers, and I just hung out at the depot for Leviathan's next trip, because the museum grounds were very crowded, and the drill is simply a train will pull in, unload, re-load, and then go. IRM was running 3 trains: the Nebraska Zephyr, Leviathan pulling 2 Lackawanna commuter coaches, and two Chicago CTA "L" cars. My first photos were of this Burlington lineup, and I'm glad I had the opportunity, as the SD24, newly repainted from BN green, and three cabooses (MILW, CB&Q, UP), soon backed up to the west end "pocket track" and stayed there for the duration of our visit. I finally ran into someone I knew, after my ride and while photographing out east at the Johnson passing track, Bob Broeker of Elgin, who said he'd never seen the museum grounds this crowded. By far the majority of visitors were families with young kids -- an encouraging sign for the hobby and for preservation efforts!

"Reflections on Burlington memories"

This Chicago streetcar was circling the 1-mile loop inside the grounds; it makes several stops each circuit. Your admission to the grounds is all-inclusive -- every ride is just a ticket punch, and all open buildings etc. are free to access. At the left here, you see a corner of Wisconsin Central SD45 7525, which i'd photographed on earlier visits. The CB&Q SD24 was new for me in red (well, since its regular service life, when i likely shot it too).

The "L" cars pass the Zephyr heading west. The Zephyr was waiting for the L cars, then would proceed east to Johnson Siding and meet Leviathan #63.

At "East Switch," the streetcar loop briefly shares the "Depot 2" track, from which the Zephyr departed. Leviathan was using Depot 1, the L cars Depot 2.

Here comes Leviathan #63 in reverse. Trains go from the East Union depot (C&NW's Marengo depot relocated) east, past Johnson Siding at Mile 3.5, to end of track at Mile 4.3 (usually with a meet at Johnson siding in one direction), then reverse past East Union to the west end of track (Mile 0) at the east end of the Union village, then return forward into the East Union depot to exchange passenger loads. Each car on each train has an attendant to handle loading and unloading, give a summary of safety rules, and watch over the passengers. This day, pretty much each seat on each train was filled. The track is re-laid on the old Elgin & Belvidere interurban right-of-way, parallel and next to UP's ex-C&NW line to Belvidere and Rockford, Ill., from West Chicago.

The relocated Spaulding Tower from near Elgin, which was at the Milwaukee-EJ&E crossing, houses the IRM dispatcher, who controls all train movements. After Leviathan #63 passed the depot backing up, I made sure to gather amid the crowd on the platform for Depot 1 so I could secure a seat on the next trip!

Probably the youngest "Fighting Illini" fan in attendance, on her Dad's shoulders, watches at Leviathan #63 pulls by to unload.

The L cars at right will be next to depart, as Leviathan #63's riders exit after arrival. The building in the distance is the diesel shop, outside of which were parked BN E9 9908 and C&NW SD40-2 6847.

The view from my seat in lead car DL&W #567. For practical reasons, replica Leviathan #63 is oil-fired.

The Nebraska Zephyr passes, right to left, in reverse, clearing us to depart. We left at 12:54, and returned into the depot at 1:38.

I was one of only a few (all adults) who had a double seat to myself. When these cars were built almost a century ago, people were smaller! The seats are "walkover" but only a few kids on our car insisted on riding "forward" -- the older folks just rode backward and enjoyed it :-)

On my ride, we met the CTA L cars at Johnson siding as we went east, at 1:04, 10 minutes out of East Union, and reversed at the end of the line at 1:09-1:10. We stopped at Johnson to allow the Zephyr to pass, which was impressive as it seemed "high speed" as it flashed past my window, at 1:15. We paused at the west end of the line at 1:31-1:33, and pulled into E. Union at 1:38.

At left, two newer L cars took over the "traction slot" of the train activity, replacing the two older cars pictured earlier. These are 6656/6655, the older ones were 4290/1268.

"Oiling-around" on "America's newest steam locomotive."

The sun finally came out! The two coaches have long been re-loaded, but they'll have a wait as Leviathan #63 is cut off to move away from the depot, I assume for water, because it would return to pull this train. Carol and I took advantage of the lull -- I wanted to photo Leviathan #63 out on the line -- to go back into Marengo for a quick Mickey-D's lunch, figuring the commissary building at IRM would have very long lines (the food is fine, but I've played that game before).

As I walked to our car, the Zephyr pulled in, passing Spaulding Tower.

Back out at Seeman Road grade crossing, Mile 3.4, after lunch, for an action shot of Leviathan #63's next run east, and of course the D70 mis-fires for the coming-on shot. Some folks wonder why I stick with slides and/or don't upgrade from the D70, but i'm not sure I need to make that investment -- these are basically "snapshots" I take.

Back she comes to Johnson siding to meet the two CTA L cars, at 3:13.

The only other "mainline" crossing east of the museum is at this private farm lane, but the weeds have taken over. This is, I believe, the only semaphore pair (from an interurban, note the "pointing inward" position to clear lineside catenary/trolley wire poles) out on the main, the remainder are searchlights or tri-lights.

Our farewell shots were at the crossing just west of the parking area at Spaulding Tower as Leviathan #63 backs toward the west end of the main line.

Trying for a "museum bonus," on the way home we got off I-43 at East Troy to follow the museum line, and sure enough, at the old Sawyer's meat market crossing, here comes 1908 Sheboygan Light, Power & Railway car 26, bound back to East Troy from the Elegant Farmer station at Mukwonago. Of course, the sun again would not cooperate.

I took a slide at St. Peters Road crossing, at 4:39, two minutes after Sawyers, then this finale at Byrnes St. in East Troy, at 4:44. I believe these are my first East Troy digital shots, and the first time I've encountered this car running there. We tend to take East Troy's fine and historic operation for granted, having done so much with it over the years.

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