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Union Pacific donates part of Cheyenne fleet to Illinois nonprofit for restoration

A photo of the Challenger No. 3985 locomotive that will be donated by Union Pacific from its Cheyenne fleet to an Illinois nonprofit for restoration. (Union Pacific)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Union Pacific Railroad (UP) will be giving a selection of its Cheyenne locomotives to a nonprofit specializing in restoring and preserving trains and other cars from railroading history, the company announced last week.

Several locomotives will move later this year from the UP Steam Shop in Cheyenne to the Railroading Heritage of Midwest America (RRHMA) in Silvis, Illinois, allowing UP to “focus on its remaining fleet,” per the Omaha, Nebraska–based railroading giant in a news release.

“Union Pacific is proud to be the only Class I railroad with steam locomotives on its roster, part of the finest heritage fleet in the world,” said Scott Moore, senior vice president of corporate relations and chief administrative officer, in the release. “We are pleased with RRHMA’s plans to restore the donated equipment for the public to enjoy. Union Pacific remains dedicated to the maintenance and operation of our remaining heritage fleet, including hosting future tours and sharing UP 4014 and UP 844 with the rail community.”

Donated equipment includes:

  • 4-6-6-4 Challenger UP 3985
  • Class TTT 2-10-2 UP 5511
  • The Centennial UP 6936
  • E9B passenger locomotive shell
  • Four 1950s coach cars
  • Diner-Lounge car
  • Baggage car
  • Caboose
  • A pair of business cars in the Selma, previously Western Pacific’s Feather River, and the Stanford, originally the 1928 Southern Pacific Sunset

A multi-year, multimillion-dollar restoration project on the equipment will begin once it arrives at its new home in Silvis, in the Quad Cities area of Illinois near the Iowa border. The steam locomotives will be operational by the project’s completion, per the release.

“The RRHMA is a wonderful home for this historic equipment,” said Ed Dickens, UP steam locomotive engineer and Steam Program manager, in the release. “Rail fans will look forward to seeing UP 3985 and UP 5511 return to the rails, as well as enjoy the opportunity to experience the various cars being donated.”