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Soo Line 1003 Photo Charter Trains Magazine 80th Anniversary 11/15/2020

by Chris Guenzler

Yesterday evening we checked in with Jim Wrinn, editor of Trains Magazine, and received our driving directions, lanyards, 80th anniversary pin and special "80" cookies that his wife, Cate Katville-Wrinn, had made especially for the event.

11/15/2020We woke up at the Holiday Inn Express and after we were ready, we checked out and went to McDonald's to get breakfast on the go. We drove out to the Randolph C&NW bridge where the first runbys would be taking place and parked. Elizabeth ate her breakfast on the way and I ate my breakfast upon arrival. We took our umbrellas with us as it was raining but the wind was blowing so hard it kept on turning my umbrella inside out.

Soo line 1003 Information

Soo Line 1003 is a 2-8-2 "Mikado" type steam locomotive of the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad ("Soo Line") L-1 class. It is occasionally operated on the major railroads of the American Upper Midwest.

The locomotive was built in 1913 by the American Locomotive Company. It was used by the Soo Line until retirement in 1954, when it went into serviceable storage in Gladstone, Michigan as part of the railroad's strategic reserve. In December 1959, the railroad donated the locomotive to the city of Superior, Wisconsin where it was put on public display. In the mid 1970s, Superior Shortline Steam Railroad Ltd. was organized to restore the locomotive to operations.

It made a few short runs in 1983 in Superior, WI before going back in for a major overhaul. The work slowed due to a lack of money and some notable errors (including ordering boiler flues that were three quarters of an inch too short). The locomotive was sold partially disassembled in 1994 to Wisconsin Railway Preservation Trust, another organization whose goal was to return the locomotive to operations. WRPT raised $250,000 for the locomotive's restoration. It was originally hoped that the locomotive could be used for excursion trips on the weekend of October 5, 1996, but boiler tests showed the engine to not be ready in time.

The 1003's first run after restoration under its own power occurred on October 27, 1996, when it steamed up the Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway's Proctor Hill. It performed a few more test runs before its first public excursion in 1997. In 1998 it ran the "triple-header" excursion with Northern Pacific 328 and Soo Line 2719.

The locomotive made its final journey under its FRA-mandated 15-year boiler certificate on November 13, 2010. But shortly afterwards, the operators raised funds to have the engine overhauled and certified for another 15 years of operation. 1003 returned to service in September 2012, but flue problems delayed its first excursion run until November 2014. Operational, based in Hartford Wisconsin at the Wisconsin Auto Museum.

Our Photo Charter

All of us were standing and waiting for the train to arrive before Jim Wrinn called a meeting.

Jim Wrinn and Mike Raia spoke to our group stressing safety, wearing masks at all times and to have a great time with the 1003 steam charter and he thanked us all for coming. Jim told us that the train would wait until everyone was at the runby site before the runbys would take place. I saw smoke coming down the tracks and alerted everyone and soon the train was getting closer and closer to us.

Backing by our group plus these are my first pictures of SOO Line 1003.

The first photo runby at the Randolph C&NW bridge.

The backup move at the C&NW bridge.

The second photo runby at this location. Next the engine backed up and was posed for pictures.

Posed pictures at the C&NW bridge.

The dead start-up of SOO Line 1003 at the C&NW bridge. From here we drove into Randolph to the next location.

Posed pictures at Randolph. We re-located to the photo line with a view of the grain elevator.

Photo runby 3 at Randolph. From here we drove to the Beaver Dam Duck Pond for the next four runbys.

Photo runby 4 at the Duck Pond.

Back up move at the Duck Pond.

Photo runby 5. Elizabeth and I relocated to the other side.

The backup move at the pond.

Photo runby 6. I relocated back to the other side as there were few people on that side.

Backup move for the final runby here.

Photo runby 7. The group made its way next to Beaver Dam Wisconsin Highway Business Route 151. We set up at the Beaver Dam signpost

The Beaver Dam sign. Elizabeth and I relocated to the other side of the tracks.

Photo runby 8 at the Beaver Dam sign. On the way to the next runby at Prospect Road, we stopped at Subway to get me a plain turkey sandwich. We then drove to the runby spot

Photo runby 9 was at Prospect Road in Beaver Dam. Elizabeth and I drove to Rolling Prairie and waited for the train.

Bonus photo runby 10 at Rolling Prairie as the train made its way to Horicon. We arrived at Horicon and I had my lunch while we waited in the car while the steam engine took on water. Elizabeth got her lunch, water and a Sprite for Chris which he drank throughout the rest of the day. We were set up and the railroad was concerned so several of us moved back to the other side of the station. I saw some people at the grade crossing and we went there to shoot.

Photo runby 11 at Horicon.

Backing up at Horicon for posed pictures.

Posed picture 2 at Horicon. We then drove to Burnett and went inside the grain elevator, a first for both of us. We heard the train coming and set up to get more pictures.

Pre-coaling pictures at Burnett.

Coaling of SOO Line 1003 took place at Burnett in a unique way.

The rear of the train. I walked down to the Burnett station sign.

The Burnett station sign.

Gilbert Koch and his wife brought his vintage truck to pose with SOO Line 1003.

Posed pictures 3 at Burnett.

The group picture that I took and then jumped into the photograph that Trains Magazine took. There were prizes given out and we won a 2021 Trains calendar for coming the longest distance for the event.

Backup move at Burnett.

Photo runby 12 at Burnett. Elizabeth and I relocated to other side for the next runby.

The backup move.

Most of the group was on the other side of the tracks but I wanted a shot with the station sign.

Photo runby 13 at Burnett. Everyone then drove to Swan Road and for us, the second grade crossing for the next runby.

Photo runby 14 at Swan Road. We relocated to the other side.

The backup move.

Photo runby 15 at Swan Road. From here we headed back into Horicon.

Pulling into Horicon.

Hooping up the orders at Horicon but was unsuccessful as while the trailing fork held, the string broke. This is like it would have happened in the trainorder days. Next, Jim announced that 1003 would be travelling at 10 mph to Hartford to get out of the way of the Wisconsin and Southern freight train that was scheduled. So everyone was left on their own to go to their own spots east of Horicon to get pictures.

Photo runby 16 at Route P.

Photo runby 17 at North Cedar Road. From here we went into Rubicon for our last pictures of the train.

Photo runby 18 at Rubicon. Elizabeth and I would like to first thank Trains Magazine for putting this event on and secondly, the Wisconsin and Southern Railroad and the crew of SOO Line 1003 for an excellent series of runbys on a rainy and highly windy day. It had been great introduction to this steam engine and I hope one day to have the opportunity to ride behind it with my lovely wife.