News & Reviews News Wire Silvis update: UP passenger cars being repaired

Silvis update: UP passenger cars being repaired

By Steve Glischinski | February 13, 2023

Work continues on steam locomotives 3985, 5511

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Steam locomotive under repair
Progress continues on repairs to Union Pacific Challenger No. 3985. Railroading Heritage of Midwest America

SILVIS, Ill. – Railroading Heritage of Midwest America reports it is making significant progress on repairs to former Union Pacific passenger rolling stock at its Silvis, Ill., shop complex.

In an email to donors, RRHMA President and Chief Operating Officer Steve Sandberg said in the coming weeks former Southern Pacific business car Stanford will be sandblasted and repainted in SP’s two-tone gray paint scheme first developed for the Lark passenger train in 1941. The passenger equipment, two steam locomotives, and a diesel were donated by UP to RRHMA in April 2022 and moved to Silvis in November.

Other rolling stock projects slated for 2023 include:

— New windows and stabilization of lunch counter/dining car No. 5016.

— Installation of new diesel generators and fuel tanks to power four 44-seat coaches and return them to service.

— Repair to coach City of Salina. which suffered minor fire damage when the car was stored in Oakland, Calif.

— Glass-bead blasting and repainting former of Western Pacific business car Feather River into its original WP colors.

Repair and repainting is underway on the former Milwaukee Road 115-foot turntable from Bensenville, Ill., donated by Canadian Pacific. The turntable has been sandblasted, and RRHMA is working with a local ironworkers union on an apprentice training program to repair the table. The program provides training to new apprentices to gain the skills necessary for maintaining steel structures in the region.

Under the leadership of RRHMA’s Erik Hoofnagle and Alex Beams, work continues on UP 4-6-6-4 No. 3985 and 2-10-2 No. 5511. No. 3985’s boiler has been stripped and boiler tubes removed. Through the year work will continue on the two steam locomotives and the conversion of Big Boy No. 4014’s tender from coal to oil. The conversion was part of the agreement with UP for donating equipment to RRHMA; when complete, the tender will be shipped to UP’s steam shop in Cheyenne, Wyo., and 3985’s tender, currently used with No. 4014, will be moved to Silvis.

National Railway Equipment, which shares the Silvis shop with RRHMA, will perform a detailed inspection of DDA40X “Centennial” diesel No. 6936 in preparation for its eventual return to operation. Track upgrades at the complex will be performed to allow for short public operations.

Sandberg said in the coming weeks, RRHMA will be announcing dates for another public open house and inspection of its work to date. The group is continuing to solicit donations at

2 thoughts on “Silvis update: UP passenger cars being repaired

  1. Don’t know why National Railway Equipment should have to do anything to DDA40X #6936. It hasn’t run in some time but that shouldn’t keep it from firing up with a little TLC applied. It has run great since it was rebuilt after the collision in Arkansas with the gravel truck. Seems like a waste of needed funds that could be applied to 3985 and 5511. Even if they only ran it on one engine it would still do a job for the museum and for less cost, unless they plan on pulling any 50-75 car freights.

  2. I got to ride behind 6936 from Denver into Wyoming and from Wyoming back to Denver. 3985 was still a coal burner and Colorado would not let it run there. At photo stops we got to stomp out 3985’s lineside fires.

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