Three famous locomotives are making their way to Silvis, and the public will have a rare chance to see them this weekend, for a price.
The Railroading Heritage of Midwestern America (RRHMA) has announced the delivery of three locomotives recently deaccessioned from Union Pacific (UP) in 2021, to the RRHMA shop facility at 1102 2nd Avenue North, Silvis. The delivery train left Cheyenne, Wyoming, on Nov. 11, and is scheduled to arrive in Silvis on Saturday, Nov. 19th.
The generous donation from UP marks the largest-ever donation of motive power and rolling stock from UP, and includes the Challenger UP 3985, Centennial UP 6936, and Santa Fe-type UP 5511.
The Challenger UP 3985 is one of only two Challenger-type steam locomotives still in existence,
and the only one to have operated in excursion service, according to RRHMA. The Centennial UP 6936 was the last remaining operational Centennial-type locomotive for several decades, at which time it was also the largest operational diesel-electric locomotive in the world. The UP 5511 is a Santa-Fe type steam locomotive and the last remaining member of its class.
The Railroading Heritage of Midwestern America plans to restore these locomotives to operating
condition at its new facility in Silvis.
To celebrate the delivery of these historic locomotives, RRHMA is offering a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be part of an exclusive event, where people who donate $250 or more will
be able to tour the shop and have a hands-on experience with the donated locomotives, according to RRHMA.
Each two-hour event on Nov. 20 will include a one-hour guided tour of the historic Silvis Shops, free time to explore the locomotives and equipment, and lunch provided by the CSSPA #6988 locomotive team.
“Working alongside our partners at Union Pacific to accomplish this ambitious donation project has been a true labor of love,” RRHMA chairman Steve Sandberg said on the group’s website. “We’re excited to bring these classic locomotives to our shop, where we can get to work over the winter. I’m grateful to the entire team at UP for their leadership and generosity.”
“This restoration project is very dear to all of us, and it’ll bring a renewed sense of purpose to our century-old facility in Silvis,” said RRHMA general manager Erik Hoofnagle. “Our team can’t wait to get their hands dirty as we bring these locomotives back to life.”
The RRHMA shop facility in Silvis occupies the more than century-old maintenance and overhaul complex originally built by the Rock Island Railroad. The 90+ acre campus allows RRHMA to restore equipment such as this donation from Union Pacific, as well as carry out its core mission through community events, educational programs, and hands-on historical demonstrations.
To purchase tickets to the Sunday, Nov. 20 event (slots available at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m.), click HERE.