Milwaukee Road 4-8-4 No. 261 under its own steam for the first time in four years
“Friends of the 261,” in cooperation with Amtrak and BNSF Railway and Lake Superior Railroad Museum, will operate the Milwaukee Road 4-8-4 No. 261 under its own steam for the first time in four years, pulling its inaugural steam train excursion from Minneapolis to Duluth, Minnesota.
Milwaukee Road No. 261 will utilize BNSF’s ex-Great Northern Railway Hinckley Subdivision, which saw its last regular passenger service in 1985.
May 11: Milw 261 steam excursion train will depart Minneapolis Jct. at 9:00 a.m.* and travel BNSF Railway’s ex-Great Northern Hinckley Subdivision. Expected arrival in at the Lake Superior Railroad Museum in Duluth is at 3:00 p.m.*
May 10th is National Train Day 2013, the 143rd anniversary of the driving of the Golden spike. Saturday evening, Lake Superior Railroad along with the Friends of the 261, will be hosting a dinner train that will depart the museum at 6:00 p.m *. Prior to departure a reception will be held to celebrate National Train day starting at 5:00 p.m.* where refreshments and hors d’oeuvres will be served. Once en route the train will travel an hour north of Duluth while passengers will enjoy the evening scenery of Minnesota’s North Shore while dinning in one of many vintage cars, then the engine will run around the train and will make the hour journey back to the museum for an 8:00 p.m.* arrival.**
Wait there’s more! Later in the night, 261 & 2719 will be on stage for a night photo shoot starting at 10:00 p.m.*, funds from the photo shoot will go to support both 261 & 2719**
May 12: Milw 261 steam train excursion will depart Duluth at 12:00 noon* with an expected arrival back in Minneapolis at 5:00 p.m.*
The destination for the trip will be the Duluth’s Lake Superior Railroad Museum, home to Soo Line 4-6-2 No. 2719. The museum leases the locomotive from the Locomotive & Tower Preservation Fund of Eau Claire, Wis. Plans call for No. 2719 to be under steam as No. 261 arrives in Duluth, and may include a short “side by side” operation as the No. 261 excursion enters the city.
Upon arrival, several cars from the No. 261 consist will be switched out and used on a special No. 2719-powered dinner train departing at 6 p.m. on the museum’s North Shore Scenic Railroad. Prior to departure a reception will be held at the museum to celebrate National Train Day. No. 2719 will return to Duluth at 8 p.m., and later that evening both steam locomotives will be used for a night photo session in the museum yard.
Passengers can book hotel accommodations in Duluth themselves. The Friends of the 261, Lake Superior Railroad Museum, and visitduluth.com have arranged for discount rates at the following hotels, call in and mention Friends of the 261 and get a discount rate:
*Times and cars on trips subject to change with out notice and may be delayed to freight traffic.
**Dinner train and photoshoot tickets sold separately from round trip 261 tickets
- Private Rail Cars Presents The Largest Steam Loco In The USA On Its First Excursion Train For Four Years (prweb.com)