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Grand Trunk Western 6325

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Covid-19
Power type  Steam
Serial number  69631
Total produced  25
Order number  S-1847
Build date  February 1942
Builder  American Locomotive Company

Grand Trunk Western 6325 is a 4-8-4 (Northern) type steam locomotive built in 1942 by the American Locomotive Company for the Grand Trunk Western Railroad. As a member of the dual service U-3-b class, the 6325 handled heavy passenger and freight work for the Grand Trunk Western. In 1946, the 6325 gained notoriety for pulling United States President Harry S. Truman's election campaign train through the state of Michigan. Retired in 1959, the locomotive was donated for display to the city of Battle Creek, Michigan where a failed restoration attempt left the 6325 in danger of being scrapped. Purchased in 1993 by Jerry Jacobson of the Ohio Central Railroad, the locomotive sat in storage for six years until being restored to operating condition in 2001 for use on excursion trains across the Ohio Central System. The locomotive is currently stored, out of service pending an overhaul at the Age of Steam Roundhouse in Sugarcreek, Ohio

Contents

History

Grand Trunk Western 6325 was built in February 1942 by ALCO along with 24 other U-3-b 4-8-4 Northern locomotive (sometimes called "Confederation" locomotives) numbered 6312 through 6336 as dual service locomotives that were the last new steam power assigned to the GTW. The U-3-b engines were right at home with GTW's road profile and characteristics, running almost a quarter of a million miles (400,000 km) between heavy repairs. 6325 could easily handle sixteen passenger cars or eighty car hotshot freights with equal ease on the Chicago division. Its forte was heavy passenger and fast freight service. All U-3-b class locomotives were known as good steamers and were liked by all engine crews and 6325 was no exception. On the GTW, it was the ultimate in modern steam power. In 1948, locomotive 6325 pulled President Harry Truman's campaign train across Michigan on Grand Trunk rails. Because of its historical significance, when 6325 was retired in 1959 it was donated to the City of Battle Creek, Michigan for display. Its role in history is what saved it from the scrapper's torch. In 1985, a plan to save a grand example of the steam era became too big of a project for an ever-shrinking group of people. In 1992 the small Michigan restoration group was notified by the GTW/Canadian National railroad that 6325 would have to be moved from its current siding. With little volunteers, low money and no place to call home, the Greater Battle Creek foundation was through.

Excursion career

In stepped Jerry J. Jacobson of the Ohio Central Railroad System (OHCR) who purchased 6325 and tender in 1993 and moved it to OHCR's steam shops at Morgan Run. But it wasn't until 1998 that restoration efforts began and in 2001, 6325 moved for the first time under its own power in 42 years. Jacobson sold his interest in OHCR in 2008, kept his vintage locomotives and began construction on large roundhouse, the Age of Steam Roundhouse, in Sugarcreek, Ohio, in order to house his collection. As of March, 2012, No. 6325 remains in Jacobson's collection.

Some well known trips done by 6325 for example, were in 2002, where it pulled many regular trips as well as some photo festivals where it was coupled to a train and was run along Ohio Central's track at various places for photographs, runbys or just normal train chasing. 2003 was a spectacular year for 6325, it pulled a few excursions but that wasn't the main event of that year, it was a huge photo festival which included 20 side by side photo runs with 6325 pulling a freight, and Ohio Central's ex-Canadian Pacific Railway 1293 pulling a passenger train. 2004 saw a huge event in Ohio Central's steam operations when "Trainfestival 2004" took place from July 30 to August 1, 2004 in Dennison, Ohio. It was a major event featuring all of their steam locomotive, some historic diesel locomotives as well as rolling stock and many more rail-related activities. 6325 was the star of the show; first it was parked for display then it was coupled to the passenger train for several one-hour train rides throughout the day. Then at 5 pm, it pulled a special 3-hour excursion to the OHCR Morgan Run steam shops for tours. It was operated on this schedule for all three days of the event. For the rest of the year, it pulled regular tourist trains. It hasn't been fired since then due to Ohio Central's cease in steam train operations until 2006 when 1293 was fired up for some special events away from OHCR. As of 2008, 6325 is undergoing roller bearing repairs due to recent inspections.

Notable sister engines

6325 has one surviving sister engine, GTW 6323, which is famous for being the last GTW steam engine to run on GTW rails, under GTW ownership. GTW 6323 is currently on display at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, Illinois.

GTW 6327 was another well known sister engine, the 6327 is known for being the last steam engine to run in Port Huron, Michigan as well as pulling the last steam train there. 6327 was among the last of GTW's steam engines still operating when the railroad dieselized in 1960 and it was scrapped that year.

References

Grand Trunk Western 6325 Wikipedia


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