Largest diesel engine ever built is part of donation train through Iowa

A variety of historic railroad equipment will pass through Iowa this fall, providing a rare opportunity to see history right in our own backyard.

The Union Pacific Railroad announced that it has donated a portion of its heritage fleet to a nonprofit organization in Silvis, Illinois called Railroading Heritage of Midwest America (RRHMA). All equipment is being moved from Cheyenne, Wyoming to Silvis, where RRHMA plans to restore it.

Union Pacific Railroad Vintage Equipment will be towed as part of what is going to be an extraordinary train. Here is some of what it will include:

Locomotive 6936, 98 feet long, was built in 1971. It is equipped with two 3,300 horsepower engines. It is the “most powerful diesel-electric locomotive model ever built on a single frame.

Union Pacific

Union Pacific

Steam locomotive 5511 is the only remaining locomotive of the class built in 1923. The largest diesel engine ever built, it was retired 60 years ago.

Union Pacific

Union Pacific

Built in 1943, Challenger Locomotive 3985 is one of two remaining Challengers. After being restored by Union Pacific workers in the early 1980s, it became “the largest operational steam locomotive in the world”.

Union Pacific

Union Pacific

The donation will also include a pair of luxury cars (“Selma”, built in 1912) and “Stanford”, built in 1928).

In addition, there will be four coach cars. They were all built in 1954 and were named “City of Salina”, “Sunshine Special”, “KATY Flyer”, and “Portland Rose”. Three of the four were part of a train that passed through Ames ten years ago:

The donation train will also include a postal storage car, a dining car and a caboose.

Known as the Heritage Donation Special, the train will leave Cheyenne, Wyoming on Friday, November 11. It is scheduled for several stops in Nebraska and will be in Council Bluffs, Iowa on the evening of Tuesday, November 15 at 8 a.m. the following day (no public access).

Other stops in Iowa include Missouri Valley, Denison, Carroll, Boone (no public access), Elkhart, Des Moines, and Grinnell.

It will spend the night in South Amana on Friday, November 18 (no public access) before calling at West Liberty at 10 a.m. on Saturday, November 19 before arriving in Silvis in the early afternoon.

Please note that all days/times above are estimates only. You can follow the progress of the Heritage Donation Special train during its actual journey here.

*Please note: most overnight stops are closed to the public and you must not trespass on railway property. Stay at least 25 feet away from all train tracks. More safety tips are available here.

Fun places in Iowa to discover with the family this fall

Whether you want to stay close to home here in eastern Iowa or take a little road trip, there are plenty of places to visit with the family this fall! Here are some of your options!

The ABC of Iowa

I know Iowa might not be the most popular state to visit, but we still have a lot to offer! Using countless articles, websites, lists, and maps, we’ve compiled a list of some of Iowa’s best and biggest events, places, and attractions using each letter of the alphabet (which doesn’t was not easy)! Unfortunately, we couldn’t include ALL of the awesome places in the state (not enough letters!), but here are our Iowa ABCs:

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