News & Reviews News Wire Wisconsin Great Northern acquires steam locomotive (updated)

Wisconsin Great Northern acquires steam locomotive (updated)

Former Duluth & Northeastern 2-8-0 has been displayed in Minnesota

Email Newsletter

Get the newest photos, videos, stories, and more from brands. Sign-up for email today!

Steam engine and caboose on display in shed open on one side
Duluth & Northeastern 2-8-0 No. 27 will be moved from its current display in Barnum, Minn., to the Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad. Jeff Terry

TREGO, Wis. – The Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad has added a steam locomotive to its expanding roster. Former Duluth & Northeastern 2-8-0 No. 27 will be moved from its display site at the Carlton County Fairgrounds in Barnum, Minn., where it has been displayed since 1968.

Wisconsin Great Northern, known for its ongoing restoration of the Mark Twain Zephyr, acquired the locomotive from Carlton County, which wanted to dispose of the Consolidation, as it was deteriorating and the county could no longer afford its upkeep. It offered the locomotive free of charge to any party that would pay for moving it, but said it might scrap the 2-8-0 if it could not find a new home. WGN stepped in.

“I had heard a grapevine rumor that the locomotive was in danger of being scrapped because it had been offered to museums in the area and they were not able to take on the process of moving the locomotive,” WGN President Greg Vreeland said in a phone interview with Trains News Wire. “I called the president of the Carlton County Fair Association board and he told me indeed they were looking for it to be removed one way or another.

Side view of steam locomotive inside display shed
Concerns over deterioration of the locomotive led the Carlton County (Minn.) Fair Association to offer the locomotive to anyone who would pay to move it. Jeff Terry

“The important part at this point, and job No. 1, is securing and moving the locomotive. After we complete our current project, the Mark Twain Zephyr, we will then thoroughly examine No. 27, with an option to restore her to operation.”

No. 27 was built by Alco-Pittsburg for the Duluth, Missabe & Northern Railway in June 1907 as No. 348. It became Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range Railway No. 348 in the 1937 merger of the Duluth, Missabe & Northern and the Spirit Lake Transfer Railway. DM&IR sold the engine in 1955 to short line Duluth & Northeastern of Cloquet, Minn., where it was renumbered 27. D&NE was well known to steam fans as one of the last short line railroads in the United States operating steam locomotives, not converting to diesel operation until 1964. After dieselization, No. 27 was stored in Cloquet until it was donated to Carlton County. No. 348/27 is a sister locomotive to the Lake Superior Railroad Museum’s operational DM&IR 2-8-0 No. 332, formerly D&NE No. 28, which operates on the North Shore Scenic Railroad out of Duluth, Minn.

“It is a significant addition to our collection in that the WGN is home to five ex- Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range Railroad heavyweight passenger cars,” Vreeland said.

Locomotive moved out of display shed
DNE No. 27 is winched out of its display shed by a heavy-duty tow truck on Monday, April 15. David Schauer

WGN crews moved the locomotive today  (April 15) from its current storage shed onto three track panels, where it will be prepared for trucking to the Wisconsin Great Northern. Once on that track, the cab and boiler will be removed and loaded onto a heavy-duty tractor-trailer rig; the running gear will be a second load and the tender will be a third. Barnum, roughly midway between Hinckley and Duluth, Minn., is about 87 miles by the most direct road route from WGN’s headquarters in Trego.

Included in the acquisition is a World War II Northern Pacific caboose, converted to a bay window caboose from a wooden boxcar.

— Updated at 12:40 p.m. CT to add paragraph on locomotive’s history; updated at 7:52 p.m. with photos of locomotive being removed from shed.

Overhead view of locomotive and caboose on temporary track
No. 27 and its caboose are moved clear of the shed. The locomotive will now be prepared for move by truck to Trego, Wis. David Schauer

4 thoughts on “Wisconsin Great Northern acquires steam locomotive (updated)

  1. I spotted WGN (the railroad, not the Radio or TV station) while driving on a rural road after spending half a day at the LSRM. Needless to say, I did a quick 180 and went back! If you’re in that part of Wisconsin, go to Trego! And, have your camera at the ready!

You must login to submit a comment