End of the line for historic CGW motor car
By Robert S. McGonigal
Former Chicago Great Western motor car No.
1000 was loaded aboard two low-boy trucks (body on one, trucks
on the other) at its longtime home, the Kettle Moraine Railway
in North Lake, Wis., on August 12, 1998. The car traveled by
highway to the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City.
No. 1000 has a long and noteworthy history.
Built by McKeen in 1910 as CGW M1002, the car originally measured
70 feet in length and had the gasoline-mechanical power plant,
knife-nose, and porthole windows that were hallmarks of the McKeen
design. In 1928, the car was extensively rebuilt as the power
unit for CGW's three-car Minneapolis-Rochester (Minn.) Blue
Bird passenger train. Renumbered 1000, it lost its long nose
and portholes, and was repowered by Electro-Motive with a Winton
gas engine, generator, and traction motors. The Blue Bird
was a landmark train, a key step on the road that led to Union
Pacific's M10000, Burlington's Pioneer Zephyr,
and, ultimately, the adoption of internal-combustion power on
America's railroads. After its stint on the Blue Bird,
No. 1000 reverted to more mundane work, and was subsequently
shortened by 26 feet. It closed its Great Western career in 1963
as a switch engine at Winona, Minn. It arrived at Kettle Moraine
in 1971 but never ran on the tourist pike, although it retained
its Winton engine.
The historic but much-modified car will likely
not survive intact. At the Nevada State Railroad Museum, which
purchased No. 1000 from KMR, parts of its body will be used in
the restoration of Virginia & Truckee McKeen car 22. Components
not needed for that effort will be made available to other restoration
projects around the country. KMR General Manager Steven Butler
says that efforts to find a party that would preserve the car,
in poor condition and far removed from either its McKeen or Blue
Bird configurations, met with little interest. It appears,
then, that after more than 30 years in limbo, what's left of
CGW 1000 will be sacrificed for the sake of other preservation
Reprinted from the November 1998 issue of
TRAINS Magazine. Copyright 1998 TRAINS Magazine. Used with permission.