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Southern Railway 401 Charter Train Monticello, Illinois 5/17-18/2018 Part 1

by Chris Guenzler

Southern Rail Production was scheduled to operate a photo charter with Southern Railway 2-8-0 401 at the Monticello Railway Museum. Since it was the same organization which had done the charter in Knoxville, Tennessee the year before, I jumped on the opportunity. I would have to first get to Monticello then the following day go to Homewood and then the Fox River Trolley Museum, which I arranged so I could see all their equipment. I had a plan and all I had to do was work my days until the day I left.

I arose at 4:00 AM and prepared for my trip then ate breakfast before checked the Internet and was then ready for Super Shuttle to arrive at 4:48 AM. They arrived two minutes early and I was their last stop. Within ten minutes I was heading for security being TSA Pre Check and I zipped through. Then I waited for my first of two flights to get me to Chicago.

Southwest Airlines Flight 915 5/17/2018

On this flight I just read my Jethro Tull "Heavy Horse New Shoes Edition" book which took me to Denver.

Southwest Airlines Flight 807 5/17/2018

I finished reading the book and did my Sudoku puzzles then deplaned at Midway and took the shuttle to the Rental Car Center where I received a Nissan Sentra. I drove slowly through traffic down Illinois 50 to US 30 then made my way onto Interstate 57. I stopped at a KFC in Manteno and ate as I headed south, then at Champaign, I took Interstate 74 the twenty miles to Monticello. I checked into the Best Western there and received a very nice gift basket from them. After storing my luggage in the room, I drove the short distance over to the Monticello Railway Museum.

Southern Railway 401 Night Photo Session Monticello

Southern 401 was built in December 1907 and was at the time a larger locomotive, built with simplicity in mind. It is a 2-8-0 wheel arrangement, with a total locomotive weight of 82 tons. This locomotive was purchased by the museum in 1967 from Alabama Asphaltic Limestone, in Margerum, Alabama. It was then shipped on a flat car to Decatur, Illinois, arriving there in January 1968. It was unloaded and stored at Decatur until October 1971, when it and 12 other pieces of equipment were moved by rail to the museum site. It was towed on its own wheels from Decatur to Monticello in 1971. From 1971 to 1995, the locomotive was on display in our collection of equipment, with occasional work being done to stabilize and prevent further deterioration to the locomotive.

In 1995, a donor stepped forward with a proposal to return an operating steam locomotive to Monticello Railway Museum, one not having run here since 1987. To that end, a process was begun to identify what we felt was the best candidate for restoration. After considering several alternatives, it was decided to restore 401 to operational status.

My first picture of Southern Railway 2-8-0 401 under steam.

Two more pictures of this beautiful engine under steam.

My good friend Steve Barry was also at this event.

The view without Steve in it.

Three more views of Southern Railway 401 under steam this early evening. I then went inside the car barn to see what was stored there.

Canadian National FPA-4 6789 built by Montreal Locomotive Works in 1959.

Illinois Central Business Car 7, originally Illinois Central 17, built by Pullman in 1917.

Baltimore & Ohio Chicago Terminal Company bobber caboose C1735, built by Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in 1910 as Baltimore and Ohio C1271.

Canadian National FPB-4 6862 built by Montreal Locomotive Works in 1958.

Illinois Central Railroad SD40X 6071 built by EMD as Illinois Central 434. I then walked back outside.

Republic Steel 0-6-0 191 built by Alco in 1916 as Central Steel Company 3.

Another shot of Southern Railway 401 at Stair Tower.

Our host Joshua Scott went over the safety rules including what time to meet in the morning. He runs very well-organized steam trips.

Waiting on the darkness with Southern Railway 401 and many of my friends here tonight.

The signal made for a good picture as well.

I like using this switch light in some of my pictures.

Still waiting on darkness.

A photoline at this event.

It is almost dark.

This is how a night photo session should be, with actors in period costumes using props. They did one fine job this evening. After that, a tired Chris returned to the Best Western and after watching Tampa Bay beat Washington, called it a night.

5/18/2018 I awoke, showered and shaved then went downstairs to have breakfast and was joined by another rider I knew from past trips. I returned to my room but the key would not open the door. I went downstairs and got the manager who tried his keys but they would not open it either. He went and got more keys and finally it worked, so I got my luggage and checked out. I wanted pictures of the Monticello Wabash Station but had one picture I needed first.

Western Indiana Aggregate 0-4-0 1 built by Alco-Cooke in 1924. From here I drove into town and found my next stop.

The Monticello Wabash Railroad station built in 1889 and moved to its present location along the former Illinois Central tracks in 1987 and restored by the Monticello Depot Association. From here I drove to McDonald's for hot cakes and sausage and after breakfast, I drove around town looking for any railway- related items before returning to the museum with plenty of time to look it.

Norfolk and Western caboose 555047 built by International Car in 1976.

Norfolk and Western caboose 500836 is actually Pittsburg and West Virginia Railroad 836, built in 1943

Wig-wag crossing signal.

Norfolk and Western bay window caboose 557530 is actually Nickel Plate Road 430 built in 1960.

Illinois Central RS-3 704 is originally Long Island Railroad 1559 built by Alco in 1955.

Green Bay & Western RS3u 308 built by Alco in 1955.

Milwaukee Road NW-2 164 and Wabash Railway F7A 1189.

Milwaukee Road United Refrigerator Transport Company 26012 built by General American Transportation Corporation in the 1950s.

Norfolk Southern RP-48U slug 9838 built as an RS-3 by Southern Railway in 1977, becoming Norfollk Southern 948.

Mississippi Eastern 4-6-0 303 built by Baldwin in 1916.

Southern Railway 401 in the steam shop building.

Illinois Central caboose 9570 built by the Illinois Central in 1969.

Gulf Mobile & Ohio caboose 2954 built by International Car in 1968.

Pennsylvania Railroad caboose 477692 built in 1917. With that it was time for the Southern Railway 401 to put its charter train together. Soon we all saw smoke and made a photo line.

First our engine ran by the station.

The engine then pulled up to the switch for the siding the mixed train was in.

Next he backed into the siding to get the train.

Next he came by our photo line.

A picture of Southern Railway 401 after he passed the photo line.

Then he reversed to put the combine car onto the station platform. Joshua then gave us a safety briefing followed by the plans of the day. We then all put our belongings on the train before walking to the first of many photo locations. The photo train's consist was Southern Railway 2-8-0 401, Wabash wooden outside-braced box car, Illinois Central covered sand hopper 100040, Illinois Central outside-braced work car X1937, Illinois Central box car 41390, Illinois Central combine 892 and Northern Pacific caboose 1878. The train then reversed by our photo location.

Back-up move 1.

Photo runby 1.

Back-up move 2.

Photo runby 2.

Clck here for Part 2