Mid-Continent Alco Leads Patriotic Trains July 4-6

By Eric Berger

Mid-Continent Railway Museum has announced the return to service of their Alco S-1, MCRY 7, just in time to power the red, white and blue “Stars & Stripes Special” July 4-6 at the museum. Departures will be at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., with a limited number of cab rides available. Passengers will receive free snow cones after their trips.

To honor their service, coach seats will be available at no charge to active, retired and reserve military members.

For one day only, the Freedom Flyer will depart the North Freedom depot at 5 p.m., Saturday, July 6, for a leisurely hour-long ride. Passengers will be served popcorn and an ice-cold glass of fruit punch.

To secure a seat on a train or a ride in the cab of an Alco built during WWII, visit midcontinent.org online or call 608-522-4261.

A guided tour of the engine house and machine shop is available for $5.

Sharing responsibility for powering museum excursions is a Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton RS-4-TC, former US Army 1256, built in 1954.

With repairs to the 1944 Alco complete, shop volunteers are now focused on Milwaukee Road 988, an Alco RSC-2 built in 1947. It is one of just two surviving examples from the 70 built by Alco between 1946 and 1950, the other being the former Seaboard Air Line 1513, owned by Vintage Locomotives and displayed inoperable at Danbury Railway Museum.

After a brief post-retirement career on tourist trains, the RSC-2 arrived at the museum in 1986 and quickly became a fan favorite. Mechanical issues sidelined the engine in the 1990s and catastrophic flooding in 2008 inflicted serious damage to its unusual single-equalized A-1-A trucks. Those trucks are currently being rebuilt by a private contractor, leaving the 988 parked immobile in front of the engine house. It has been restored to its original Milwaukee Road paint scheme and work is underway on other mechanical issues while waiting for the trucks to return. Donations are still needed to help cover remaining expenses, including the cost of cranes to lift the engine while the trucks are positioned under it. The museum isn’t predicting exactly when the work will be completed, but after nearly three decades in limbo, MILW 988 will soon become America’s only operational RSC-2.

This article was posted on: July 3, 2024