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Which one? You'll never get to ride the Pioneer Zephyr as it is permanently displayed at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.  There is one Zephyr (Mark Twain?) up in Wisconsin getting restoration as it was in pretty poor condition when I saw it 15+ years ago stored at RELCO Locomotives in Minooka Illinois. I don't know if there are any other trainsets still around.

Count me in. It sure would be nice to see the NZ with E5 9911 running on a main line outside of the IRM again as it did several years ago.

Paul, you know something the rest of us would like to know? Round trip Chicago Union Station to St Paul, over night or 2 in St Paul and back to CSU? Or CSU to Des Moines round trip?

Photo run-by's along the route?

PRICELESS. Let's do it.


@Rob Leese posted:

What prompted this question?

Heaven only knows.

Are there actual murmurings of taking the trainset out again?

Absolutely not, what with current PTC requirements and BNSF in pretty deep trouble simply trying to meet customer demands, I can't BNSF management would even consider entertaining such an excursion. Besides, what sponsoring organization would/could pay for the 750 Million Dollar liability insurance?

I remember the time it was taken as far as Texas.

Wasn't that only the E5, not the whole train?

@Rob Leese posted:

Here is a link.  The path name is regrettable, but….

It was in Texas in 1994.

Thanks. I was there for that event, but didn't remember the whole train set. I was pretty well occupied explaining all the new features of the SD70MAC to all the BN executives that came to see their new unit. Great times and found memories.

Hate to burst anyone bubble, but please read below.

I use to be a member of the IRM.  If they take it out again on a Mainline Excursion it will fill VERY quickly.  I have not been a member for 4 years now, but the last time it went out I am aware of was about 8 years ago.  Once Working Members were given a chance, then tickets were offered to associate members.  I did not go because it was on a weekday and couldn't take the day off from work.  I have ridden it many times at the museum.  The Parlor OBS is where you want to be.  But unless you are a working Member you are just dreaming about riding there on a Mainline excursion.

I would buy a ticket on the Nebraska Zephyr if it goes on a mainline excursion.

My family & I rode their dinner train on the IRM grounds twice back in about 07-2003 & 07-2004 (don’t exactly remember the specific years).  

I also had dinner on the NZ in 07-2008 when it was parked in Rock Island IL during Train Festival 2008.  Several steam locomotives were moving by us on the parallel tracks during dinner.  One of them was the NKP steamer with OGR’s Rich Melvin.

The NZ made a mainline trip to the Galesburg Railroad Days in 06-2002.  My daughter & I toured it as it sat on display by the Galesburg depot.  We rode the MR 4-8-4 #261 steam train from Naperville IL to Galesburg IL round trip.  That has been my only visit to Galesburg RR Days (my wife’s birthday is 06-25 & our anniversary is 06-28).  GRRD is always the last weekend in June, so I don’t usually get a Pass in that weekend 😆

The NZ also did excursion trips from Rock Island IL to Bureau Junction IL on the IAIS (former CRI&P) during Train Festival 2008.

The NZ also did an excursion trip on BNSF (former CB&Q-BN) from Chicago Union Station to Quincy IL somewhere between 2010, 2011, or 2012.

Back in the 1990s, I remember seeing photos of NZ excursion trips on the WC from IL to WI and back.  

Hopefully the NZ will ride the mainlines again a few times.  

We can always dream !!!

CB&Q Bill

A couple of years ago, they studied the possibility of adding PTC to the E5 and reached out to BNSF.  It was found that, because the E5 is equipped with a variation of Number 8 air brake equipment, there were too many expensive obstacles to enable the unit to receive PTC.  

There is currently no way to operate the E5 as the leading unit on a main line, without PTC.  It isn't the same as any other serviceable diesel-electric locomotive.

Last edited by Number 90
@Hot Water posted:

Thanks. I was there for that event, but didn't remember the whole train set. I was pretty well occupied explaining all the new features of the SD70MAC to all the BN executives that came to see their new unit. Great times and found memories.

I went over to see the Zephyr at that time as well. I recall it was a very overcast day when I was there, and I got some B&W "mood" photos of the train with downtown Ft. Worth buildings appearing in the background through the overcast/mist. The new SD70MAC was a big deal because of the relatively revolutionary (then) AC power setup, and it was painted in the new Grinstein Green color (AKA Executive scheme).  Gerald Grinstein was the CEO of BNSF at the time. There was a story that Grinstein's wife liked the colors and that drove the decision for the new livery, but that may just have been a story. I talked to Grinstein at some conference years later, and I asked him if running an airline or running a railroad was more difficult (Grinstein had been CEO of Western Airlines prior to taking over at BNSF, and then joined the board of directors of Delta Airlines after they absorbed Western, joining the Delta board the same year he took over at BNSF). Without hesitation Grinstein said running a railroad was significantly more difficult than running an airline. Regarding the Zephyr's trip, I was told that the Illinois Railroad Museum required a BNSF engine to run about a mile in front of the Zephyr on the entire trip to make sure there was no hazard ahead on the line that might hurt the Zephyr.

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