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It’s time for another wandering. This time we get invited to visit the Illinois Central Railroad’s 2500 steam engine. I decided that we would also use the visit as a segment for the Let’s Talk Train Show. The engine is on display everyday in the city park, but, was open for tours as part of the Centralia Fall Festival. The 1923 engine was built as a 2-10-2 by the Lima Locomotive Works in Lima, Ohio. In 1937, at a cost of $77, 653 the 2953 was rebuilt at ICRR’s Paducah shops. The rebuilt her as a 4-8-2 on a one piece cast steel frame, 30x30 cyls.; 70” drivers with 240 lbs. steam pressure giving it 83,00 lbs. moving power effort. The tender holds 11, 00 gallons of water and 24 tons of coal. When ready to run, this engine weighed 635,00 lbs.; the engine today weighs 450,00 lbs. just sitting empty.

Engine 2500 ran 1,000,000.00 miles before the Illinois Central donated her to Centralia and was moved to the city’s park by volunteer labor and equipment on September 1st through the 8th in the year of 1962.

I remember this legend, as my grandfather and uncles would proudly show off this masterpiece, whenever we would come to Centralia. I am really glad that the put a cover over her, and keep her painted like new. The engine is now the responsibility of the Age of Steam Memorial Committee and the Centralia Foundation.

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After talking to the volunteers and doing the radio segment, we headed back downtown, where as part of the town’s fall festival. The Canadian National Railroad brought part of the office train, E8 and a GP engine. The Little CN was taking people on rides.

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The new AMTRAK waiting Room

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The Canadian National still left most of the business cars painted in the ICRR colors.

The E unit headend was againset the trainset, as the GP unit was doing the pulling the consist from Homewood Illinois.

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The kitchen car was used to make the food that the railroad was selling in the food tent.

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The only car people wander though was the lounge car.

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The famous theatre car was being used by the train crews and the CN PR team as their rest car.

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The Little CN was pulling kids and kids at heart around the parking area and the nearby street.

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Centralia is a great train town, both because of its history and its future, It is the crossroads for the Canadian National, Burlington National- Santa Fe, even the Norfolk Southern rolls though the town.


Thanks for wandering with us.


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