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Stuhr Museum, Nebraska Midland R.R. / Great Plains - West Rail Gallery
Stuhr Museum, RR Town &
the Nebraska Midland R.R.
Grand Island, Nebraska

Now gone - the Fireman/Brakeman rides Nebraska Midland #69' oil tender as she uncouples from the passenger cars at the station. Shot in 1980's. - Todd Greuter Photo

Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer is located just south of Grand Island, Nebraska. The main attraction is Railroad Town, complete with a full length steam train with passenger cars, a depot, turntable, engine house and a variety of rolling stock. Currently the museum is planning a major overhaul of it's equipment, restoration and elimination of any non-1800's stock. The museum is surrounded by a narrow-guage line which was used by the museum's own Nebraska Midland Railroad, which once starred an operating narrow-guage steam locomotive. Due to a lack of funds required for the heavy mantainence required to keep the passenger rides operating, the locomotive, once in storage at the engine house is now gone.

UPDATE: Engine #69 is no longer located at Stuhr Museum. This is what is currently available for railroad displays at Stuhr Museum: http://www.stuhrmuseum.org/tourrailroad.htm

A History of #69
Built June 1908 by Baldwin Locomotive Works, the 2-8-0 was one of only two specially designed narrow-guage steam locomotives ordered by the White Pass and Yukon Railway, a company with dreams of big things being in the area of the Klondike gold strike, in what was then Alaska Territory. The 3'0" guage locomotive never worked farther north than Bennet, British Columbia, since it's primary design was to transport trains from Skagway over the White Pass. Nicnamed the "Gila Monster" by WP&A employees (due to it's size) No. 69 was the last loco to be purchased by the company for 30 years after the decline of business at the end of the Yukon gold rush.

The night of Feb. 12, 1932, fire destroyed the Skagway roundhouse and carshops, and # 69 was one of the fire's many steamer victims. Regardless of it's hopeless appearence, it's wood cab burnt away and pipes twisted, WP&Y set about to repairing the engine and was returned to service by August 1932.

By the 1950's after moving masses of supplies during WW2, the engine was converted to an oil burner and given a steel cab from another locomotive. On May 10th, 1956 the 69 was loaded aboard the M.S. Sustina steam freighter, bound for Seattle and eventually South Dakota, to serve as Black Hills Central #69 (nicnamed Klondike Casey) in tourist line service. Narrow-guage operations in South Dakota would last until 1964, then #69 would be on the move again, this time a bit shorter journey south to neighboring Nebraska.

Nebraska has a very brief history of narrow guage operations, it's only revenue line was the short-lived Columbus, Covington & Black Hills Railway (3'6" guage). The North Platte-based Nebraska Midland operated only one season of regular passenger service in 1973. The company's original plans were ruined when they failed to obtain needed right of way, thus they considered alternative rails. One possibility existed east at the Stuhr Museum in Grand Island, Nebraska. After a successful fund-raising campaign, the 69 made it's final move and arrived at the museum in September 1975, and volunteers laid down a new narroe-guage track in 1975-76. By June 1976, the smoke plume rose again from #69's stack as it went into service at the Stuhr Museum's prairieland preserve. The engine continued to play the major attraction in recreating the role railroads played in the settling of the Great Plains into the 1980's. The Railroad Town area of the mueum features authentic rail structures and equipment, including a turntable.

After being forced out of service, today the #69 is no longer on the museum grounds.

Click on the thumbnails to see a larger image

Union Pacific #437 - displayed at the Stuhr Museum in Grand Island, Nebraska. - T. Greuter Photo



UP #437 - at Stuhr Museum, Grand Island. June 30, 2001 - T. Greuter Photo ·

A wooden UP passenger car; June 30, 2001 - T. Greuter Photo


Another wooden passenger car near the engine house; June 30, 2001 - T. Greuter Photo


UP 2580 - June 30, 2001 - T. Greuter Photo


UP 2580 - interior view. June 30, 2001 - T. Greuter Photo




Gandy dancer at Stuhr Museum, Grand Island. June 30, 2001 - T. Greuter Photo ·



Gandy dancer at Stuhr Museum, Grand Island. June 30, 2001 - T. Greuter Photo ·



Gandy dancer, passenger depot and static train display at Stuhr Museum, Grand Island. June 30, 2001 - T. Greuter Photo ·



B&MR/GI&WC 5598
- the Burlington & Missouri River was a predecessor of the CB&Q. This stock car can be seen as part of the equipment on display at the Stuhr Museum in Grand Island, Nebraska. June 30, 2001 - T. Greuter Photo ·

Tender and turntable... the locomotive is in the engine house, badly in need for repairs. Stuhr Museum, Grand Island. - T. Greuter Photo



Some pretty cool junk lies among the tracks behind the train shed - the pushcar to the front-left appears to be the remains of a home-made speeder. Stuhr Museum, Grand Island. June 30, 2001 - T. Greuter Photo ·

 


- T. Greuter Photo

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Latest update: Wednesday, 5 January, 2005

All photos & text 2000-2005 T. Greuter / Screaming Eagles , unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.

Recommended Links:
http://www.stuhrmuseum.org/tourrailroad.htm