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Missouri Pacific 1776 & 1976 Bicentennial Special Edition
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Bicentennial Units
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MP 1776 & 1976 Happy Birthday America
Missouri Pacific's Bicentennial Units
Click on the Thumbnail images for a larger image.
MoPac's matched set of Bicentennial units- MPRR Photo/Daryl Favignano collection

Approximately 38 railroads had a bicentennial scheme in honor of and celebrating America's 200th birthday in 1976. Notable among these was the Missouri Pacific's adaptation of its Screaming Eagle scheme on paired Bicentennial units. It was especially appropriate for the road to participate since the MoPac was to be among the host roads of the special America Freedom Train train to tour across the country.

The Design
In late 1975 it was decided by the company to present two units dressed in red, white and blue. It was up to the MoPac Mechanical Engineering Department at St. Louis and Mechanical Engineer Daryl W. Favignano (MPRR 1974-1986) to draw up a design.

The one-time scheme on these units would display a large blue eagle with an American flag, stars and banner. MoPac had the unique advantage of being able to incorporate its own classic screaming eagle paint scheme very successfully into the special bicentennial livery.

The Units
The two units selected to represent the road were to be numbered MP 1976 and 1776 appropriately enough. As luck would have it, the original 1776 was not in any condition for such a public exhibition, lacking the modern "chop-nosed" cut down hood treatment. C&EI 84, however was in good condition, mechanically and appearence-wise, with the low hood only applied since 1975. It quickly was reassigned as MP 1776.

Both units were taken into the paint shop and tranformed into Bicentennial engines. Proclaiming "Happy Birthday America" across the sides they wore a unique scheme of an American flag, stars, eagle (turbo style) all in red, white and blue, commemorating America's 1976 Bicentennial. The Geeps came out of the paintshop in their new livery in February 1976.

The 1776/1976 scheme was among the most eye-catching of all the bicentennial units... but then this author might be a slight bit biased!

1776 GP7 EMD 4/50
as C&EI 212
C&EI 77,
C&EI 84,
MP 1776
9/77, to EMD for GP38s

rebuilt with 2500 gallon fuel tank, chopped-nose.

1976 GP18u EMD 12/62
as MP 481
MP1976 4/84, to PNC 7/85 -

The original artwork used in the production of the MoPac's Bicentennial scheme. Daryl W Favignano, (MPRR 1974-1986) who worked in the Mechanical Engineering Dept. at St Louis, was the one who drew up the paint scheme for 1776-1976. - Daryl Favignano Collection

American Freedom Train and Bicentennial engines - AFT #4449 and paired MoPac units #1776 & 1976. The three locomotives powered the American Freedom Train on it's run south of Newport, Arkansas. - George Elwood/Bill Navari

Missouri Pacific #1776 - a 'chop-nosed' GP7u sublettered for the C&EI and renumbered to pair-up with MP 1976 (the original #1776 was deemed unfit for the publicity job) - Photographer and location unknown/T. Greuter collection.

MoPac Bicentennial GP7 #1776 - was built in April 1950 as C&EI High Hood GP7 #212. It was later renumbered to C&EI #77. The unit was rebuilt with a new 2500 gallon fuel tank, and had the nose chopped and emerged as C&EI #84. It later became the MP Bicentennial #1776. It was retired in September 1977, and traded in to EMD for the new GP38s. - Missouri Pacific Railroad Photo/Jay Glenewinkel Collection

Missouri Pacific #1976 - a GP18u - Brian Paul Ehni photo

The Real "1776"
For a truly accurate representation of this locomotive, its been noted that plenty of black oil flowed down the side of the #1776 right about where the "1776" was on the long hood. 

"That was the oil-throwingest engine I ever worked with.  We had both units as a back-to-back set in Beaumont, TX.  The 1776 finally got so bad I bad-ordered it and sent it back to Houston.  They hosed off all the oil and sent it right back to us.  About a week later the walkways were so covered with oil it wasn't safe to board.  I was never so glad to see an engine leave and not come back."

Bob Currie, Engineer
Missouri Pacific Railroad
DeQuincy Division

"1776's" History
Before it became notable as a bicentennial engine, for a time, GP7 #84 (2) was an oddball having a screaming eagle on the Fireman's side with C&EI lettering (instead of "mopac") and a C&EI buzzsaw on the Engineer's side. It was in the original Jenks blue paint at the time with the narrow chevrons on the ends and small road number on the top of the car body. (This unit was assigned to 26th Street Yard in Chicago Heights). This unit lost both logos when it was renumbered MP 1776 and repainted into bicentennial colors receiving MoPac buzzsaws in the process.

The 1776 didn't last long after it's brief time in the lime-light. It was soon wrecked and subsiquently retired in 1977. The word back then was that there was extensive damage to the unit and the mechanical department decided against repairs. It is likely to be the first Bicentennial unit retired by any railroad. (Tuch Santucci)

Special Thanks to former MoPac Mechanical Engineer Daryl Favignano for contributing of his own materials and assistance on this page.

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 l Last Update to this page: 16 April, 2008
          All images & text 2000-2008 T. Greuter / Screaming Eagles, unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.