Visit to Washington, Missouri
brought the Union Pacific 3985 out of its semi-retirement and came to Missouri
to help Sedalia, Missouri celebrate its anniversary. The engine and its
passenger cars would leave Cheyenne and head to St. Louis along the River
Subdivision then past Washington, Missouri on its way to St. Louis to be serviced.
The last time, the steam engine came through St. Louis,
they snapped a steam line during a very sub freezing night on its way to the SuperBowl in Houston. This time, though
nothing unusual was noted when it arrived in St. Louis.
have known Mark Davis, the Union Pacific Public Relations Director for many
years. I got to speak to him a great deal during my internship days at KMOX
radio in St. Louis. Mark gave me a heads
up that the 3985 would be coming through Washington twice. I started to post
hints on the Downtown Washington Facebook page and Tourism
pages. My posting did not attract a lot of likes. So I figured that since the
train was coming through on a weekday, attendance would be small. After all,
the Tourism Director was a barely new railfan; I worked on him when he came to
our church. I had asked Mark, if the
tourism director could ride the train to St. Louis as a surprise. He said he
would ask him when the train got to town.
big day arrived, I had taken a vacation day from work to see the engine, I got to the station at 8am to make sure that I had a great
stop to watch the excitement build. The visitor center’s was treating this like
any regular day. The time came near for the engines arrival. School children
started to arrive. The trackside was lined with people. Everyone was very
excited. Police were not even aware of the size of the crowd. At the trains arrival, the steam crew estimated the attendance at
over 3,500 people were lining the roadbed.
train left then headed on into St. Louis for the night. When the train came
back through on its way to Sedalia, my wife and Traindog
AJ joined me. This time I wanted to be on the northside
of the tracks for the pictures. Not as many people came out for the return trip
though. The wait was made interesting by a freight train visiting just before the
When 3985 got back to Cheyenne, it was discovered that a
crack had appeared and it when back into the repair mothball status. UP would
bring 844 through Washington three times in the next two years. So I would safe
to say that Washington folks became acustomed to seeing steam.
Thanks for Wandering this time, see you soon.