3985’s Visit to Washington, Missouri
2010 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.
I 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.
The 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.
The 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 steam arrived.
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.