By Railfan & Railroad Staff
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The hospital train moving Union Pacific 4-6-6-4 3985 and other pieces of equipment recently donated to Railroading Heritage of Midwest America, was expected to depart Cheyenne, Wyo., on Friday morning, bound for Silvis, Ill.
Along with the “Challenger” will be 2-10-2 5511 and DDA40X “Centennial” 6936. UP also donated an E-9 B unit and some passenger cars, some of which have already been delivered to Silvis. A full, detailed schedule for the “Heritage Donation Special” has not been released aside from the departure date of November 11 and an arrival day of November 19. There will be no public access to the train while it’s on UP property, officials said. Railroading Heritage of Midwest America officials said the first chance the public will have to get up close with the equipment will come on November 20, during a special event at Silvis called the “Walk Amongst the Giants Fundraiser.” Tickets for that event are on sale now.
UP decided earlier this year to donate the equipment to RRHMA so that it could focus on its operating steam fleet, specifically “Big Boy” 4-8-8-4 4014 and 4-8-4 844. RRHMA plans on restoring both steam locomotives at its newly acquired facility, the former Rock Island Silvis shops. The shops are located near Iowa Interstate trackage, ensuring that the locomotives will eventually be able to get out on the main line. Locomotive 3985 hasn’t run in a decade and 5511 hasn’t turned a wheel under its own power since the steam era.
For those who do chase the special east, the railroad is asking people to always stay back at least 25 feet from the tracks and to never trespass.