Union Pacific ‘Centennial’ Restored to Service in Illinois

After seven years out of service, Union Pacific 6936 was successfully test run at the Railroading Heritage of Midwest America shop in Silvis, Ill. Photo by Cate Kratville-Wrinn.

Union Pacific ‘Centennial’ Restored to Service in Illinois

By Cate Kratville-Wrinn

After several years of not turning a wheel under its own power, Union Pacific DDA40X 6936 is no longer sitting idle. The 6,600 horsepower twin-engine diesel moved again on August 19 in a short, but successful, test run as both prime movers smoothly turned over. It last ran seven years ago in Cheyenne, Wyo., when it was still owned by UP. 

  Now owned by the Railroading Heritage of Midwest America (RRHMA), the engine was included in a large equipment donation by the UP to the Minneapolis-based non-profit last November. Since then, RRHMA has been working at their Silvis, Ill., shops to get it back into running condition. Now that the locomotive is running again, the public should have an opportunity to see it for themselves sometime in 2024. 

RRMHA President Steve Sandberg told Railfan & Railroad, “We are in the early stages of planning 2024 events… including a mix of excursions or on-site tours, static display events as well as open houses.” Sandberg notes that the Silvis facility is not currently open to the public. 

National Railroad Equipment, which leases space from RRHMA in the Silvis shops, helped with the restoration of 6936. Among the items addressed were the water pumps, camshafts, rocker adjustments, repair of governors, new batteries, fuel and water hydro tests, and replacement of filters and rubber parts like hoses. The trucks will also soon be getting new springs.

Built by EMD in January 1971, 6936 was one of 47 originally built by the UP for their centennial celebration in 1969. Several units survived the torch and can be found on display across North America.

Donations for the restoration of 6936 can be made at rrhma.com.

This article was posted on: September 6, 2023