Largest Diesel Engine Ever Built Part of Donation Train Through Iowa
A variety of historic train equipment will be making its way through Iowa this fall, providing a rare opportunity to see history right in our own backyard.
The Union Pacific Railroad has announced they've donated part of their Heritage Fleet to a nonprofit in Silvis, Illinois called the Railroading Heritage of Midwest America (RRHMA). All the equipment is being moved from Cheyenne, Wyoming to Silvis, where the RRHMA plans to restore it.
The vintage Union Pacific Railroad equipment will be towed as part of what's going to be an extraordinary train. Here's some of what it will include:
The 98-foot-long Locomotive 6936 was built in 1971. It has two 3,300 horsepower engines. It's the "most powerful diesel-electric locomotive model ever built on a single frame.
Steam Locomotive 5511 is the only remaining locomotive from the class built in 1923. The largest diesel engine ever built, it was retired 60 years ago.
Built in 1943, Challenger Locomotive 3985 is one of only two remaining Challengers. After being restored by Union Pacific workers in the early 1980s, it became "the world's largest operational steam locomotive."
The donation will also include a pair of luxury business cars ("Selma", built in 1912) and "Stanford", built in 1928).
Additionally, there will be four passenger coach cars. They were all built in 1954, and were named "City of Salina", "Sunshine Special", "KATY Flyer", and "Portland Rose". Three of the four were part of a train that rolled through Ames a decade ago:
The donation train will also include a Postal Storage Car, Diner Car, and Caboose.
Known as the Heritage Donation Special, the train will leave Cheyenne, Wyoming on Friday, November 11. It's scheduled for several stops in Nebraska and will be in Council Bluffs, Iowa the evening of Tuesday, November 15 through 8 am the following day (no public access).
Other Iowa stops include Missouri Valley, Denison, Carroll, Boone (no public access), Elkhart, Des Moines, and Grinnell.
It will overnight in South Amana on Friday, November 18 (no public access) before making a stop in West Liberty at 10 a.m. on Saturday, November 19 before arriving in Silvis early that afternoon.
Please note all of the days/times above are only estimates. You'll be able to follow the Heritage Donation Special train's progress during its actual route here.
*Please note: Most overnight stops are closed to the public and you should not trespass on railroad property. Stand back at least 25 feet from all railroad tracks. More safety tips are available here.