Chicago & North Western 1385 in February, 1996.

Mid-Continent Railway Museum, North Freedom, Wisconsin.

I’ve featured Chicago & North Western 1385 in a number of books, including my American Steam Locomotive (published in 1998 by MBI), and Locomotive (published in 2001 by MBI) and most recently in Alco Locomotives  (2009 by Voyageur Press).

C&NW R-1
This view from inside the cross-tender’s shack at North Freedom show’s Chicago & North Western 4-6-0 1385 pulling up to the water tank to take on water. I made this classic scene in February 1996, during Mid-Continent’s annual “Snowtrain” event. I featured this image in my American Steam Locomotive among other publications. It was exposed on Kodachrome with my Nikon F3T and a 28mm lens.

The locomotive is preserved at the Mid-Continent Railway Museum  in North Freedom, Wisconsin, and was operated regularly when I lived in Wisconsin in the mid-1990s. My friend John Gruber had helped save the locomotive in the early 1960s, and it was his son Dick Gruber who introduced me to the engine when we worked for Pentrex Publishing.

Here’s an excerpt of my text from Locomotive on C&NW’s R-1 Class 4-6-0s:

If any one locomotive could be selected to represent Chicago & North Western’s steam power fleet, it would have to be the Class R-1 Ten Wheeler. In its day, the R-1 was the most common, and perhaps the most versatile locomotive on the railroad. A total of 325 R-1 were built, the most numerous type of any C&NW steam locomotive, and they were among the longest lived classes on the railroad as well.

 During the last 15 years of the 19th century, C&NW amassed quite a variety of 4-6-0s. Most were products of the Schenectady Locomotive Works, in Schenectady, New York, but some were built by Baldwin.

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