4449 Travels from Portland to Minneapolis

Subtitle: Fitz's Excellent Adventure

I consider this a privilege, being asked to be part of the crew on the trip that 4449 will take to get part way to SteamFest 2009 in Owosso, MI. I will join John Magnusson in the Sales/Marketing crew, where our job will be to sell as many hats, tee shirts, calendars, books, fridge magnets, puzzles, pins as we can at each stop enroute.

I arrived at Portland Union Station on Thursday, July 2, and found my way to sleeper Minnesota River, provided by the Friends of 261 as a crew car for this trip. I met with old friends Mike Morgan and his family, Al and Judy Hall and others. Attended a crew briefing in the BNSF baggage car Glorieta Pass. Doyle McCormack, George Lavacot, Jack Wheelihan, Steve Sandberg, Dave Brown and the rest of the crew were there. We were waiting for the arrival of our Amtrak locomotive, and when P42 number 23 arrived, 4449 did the switching to make up the train, Bill Stetler running.


Doyle and Jack Wheelihan boarding 4449.

Enroute, a shot of the rear of the train as we rounded a curve.

First day, Jack Wheelihan and Adam Phillips.

Durango and the Official Pace Car, with the Morgan family.

Scenery from the train.

In Whitefish, MT, after arriving from Spokane.

Sales taking place in Whitefish, Todd in charge.

A sort of runby for the crew after towing the diesel to servicing, Whitefish.

Climbing up through Marias Pass.

Looking back at the train.

Scenery running through Glacier National Park, where we got to look DOWN on a bald eagle in flight.

The sales setup in Havre, MT. Gordon, Phil, Laurel, Laura and Karen working.

Phil, Laurel and John relaxing enroute after the sales stop.

Karen at work in sales at Havre.

The engine crew greasing the rods in Havre. Mike, Durango and Todd.

The July 4th Parade, one day late.

Sales, and the engine.

Gordon Zimmerman and Laurel.

Lunch in NYC 3 with Lovett and Barbara Smith and guests.

My Quarters.

Yours truly in the cab between Devils Lake and Grand Forks, ND. Taken by John Marshall.

Doyle running, John Marshall observing.

Here's a view that few see.

Sales at Grand Forks, Phil, Laurel and John.

Folks gathered at the depot to greet us, Grand Forks.

Our stock piled high in the baggage car.

In the dome car upper level.

We have arrived at Minneapolis Junction, home of 261. Steve and Bill.

Joey, Justin and Mark of the 261 crew.

Ever seen a 4-8-4 switching?

The Steam Crew.

4449 in the 261 shop. Mission accomplished, so far.

Since I experienced this great trip, other crew members have taken the 4449 from Minneapolis to Owosso, Michigan, via Chicago, operating excursions on the way. At Owosso the 4449 starred in two round trips to Alma, Michigan, attracting thousands of photographers and fans who had never seen her before, or had not for at least 34 years. I would guess that millions of photos were recorded of this great locomotive. She suffered a minor derailment preparing for a night photo shoot in Owosso, picking a switch, but was quickly rerailed. Another set of excursions through Chicago and Milwaukee returned the locomotive to Minneapolis, where the 261 crew took care of her until early October, and they then ran two successful fall colors excursions down the Mississippi to La Crescent, Michigan and return. On October 13 the locomotive started the long trip home to Portland, with stops and overnights at Fargo, Minot, Havre, Whitefish, and Spokane, again attracting thousands of fans and observers. She arrived safely back in Portland on October 20, after an incredible adventure.

Continue to Train Day in Portland
Back to Home page Created 7/13/2009