Largest Diesel Engine Ever Built Part of Donation Train Thru Iowa

A variety of historical train gear will be making its way through Iowa this fall, offering 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 non-profit organization called the Railroading Heritage of Midwest America (RRHMA) in Silvis, Illinois. All equipment will be moved from Cheyenne, Wyoming to Silvis where the RRHMA plans to restore it.

The old equipment of the Union Pacific Railroad will be towed as part of what will be an exceptional move. Here is some of the content:

Locomotive 6936, 98 feet long, was built in 1971. She has two 3,300 hp 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 from the class built in 1923. The largest diesel locomotive ever built was retired 60 years ago.

Union Pacific

Union Pacific

Built in 1943, Challenger locomotive 3985 is one of only 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 also includes a pair of luxury company cars (“Selma”, built in 1912) and “Stanford”, built in 1928).

There are also four passenger coaches. 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 rolled through Ames a decade ago:

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

Known as the Heritage Donation Special, the train departs Cheyenne, Wyoming on Friday November 11th. It is scheduled to make multiple stops in Nebraska and will be in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on the evening of Tuesday, November 15 through 8 p.m. the following day (No public access).

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

It will overnight in South Amana on Friday, November 18 (no public access) before making a stop in West Liberty on Saturday, November 19 at 10am before arriving in Silvis in the early afternoon.

Please note that all the above days/times are estimates only. Here you can follow the progress of the Heritage Donation Special Train throughout its actual route.

*Please note: most overnight stops are closed to the public and you should not enter the railway premises. Step back at least 25 feet from all railroad tracks. You can find more safety tips here.

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

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I know Iowa may not be the most popular state, 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, venues, and attractions, using every letter of the alphabet (which wasn’t easy)! Unfortunately, we couldn’t include EVERY great place in the state (there aren’t enough letters!), but here are our Iowa ABCs:

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