Site hosted by St. Louis Chapter, NRHS

1522's Train

1522 and her train pause in West Quincy, Missouri

Interesting facts about 1522's Entourage

In the 40 years since 1522 retired from her original service, many changes had taken place on the nation's rail system. First and foremost was the fact that the infrastructure to service steam locomotives largely disappeared shortly after they were replaced with diesel electrics. Because of this, the SLSTA had to bring along the spare parts, special tools and equipment needed to operate the 1522 and the crew of people to use them. All of this was contained in several support cars that accompanied the 1522 whenever she left home. These cars are shown below:

Auxiliary Water Car 1522-A

The 1522's tender holds 11,700 gallons of water and the locomotive evaporates this water at the rate of roughly 100 gallons a mile. Given her constant thirst, keeping 1522 supplied with water was a major concern. Running solely on her own tender's supply, the 1522 would have to stop every 50 miles or so to take water. In her day, this was not a problem - large fill pipes or water tanks were located at station stops and watering the tender could be done quickly and frequently along the engine's route. Since all these watering devices are long gone, the crew must water the engine from fire hydrants alongside the track - usually through a 2-1/2" fire hose. This is a slow process and, to stop every 50 miles to water the train would slow down the trip and tie up the railroad. An auxiliary water car was needed to extend water stops out to 120 miles when the locomotive needed to be serviced anyway.

On her first few excursions, the 1522 brought along a single dome tank car on loan from American Car and Foundary (ACF). Then, one of the crew discovered an old Illinois Central auxiliary water car sitting on a siding in Palestine, Illinois. The car, believed to have originally been # A-609, had been converted to sand service for the railroad - hauling sand to its diesel servicing facilities. It looked to have been idle for quite a while. The IC donated the car to the SLSTA and it moved to the museum for its own restoration and return to service.

The tank was removed from the frame and the frame from the trucks. The frame was inverted and thoroughly sandblasted. The coupler pocket on one end was reworked to accommodate a tightlock coupler - the other end already had one. The frame was then set upon a pair of freight car, roller bearing trucks which replaced the original high speed, friction bearing trucks. Meantime, the tank had been taken by truck to a member's shop for interior work. The railroad had removed all the water baffles from the tank and installed sloping sheet steel to funnel the sand to the bottom center of the tank. This sheet was cut back to near the side of the car but can still be seen from the outside as a distinct line on the sides about a third of the way up. A baffling system was then reinstalled in the car to keep the sloshing of the water under control, the inside of the tank sealed, and the tank placed back atop its frame at the museum.

The tank was plumbed with firehose fittings and piping so that it could be filled from ground level with fire hoses. It was also equipped with MU air lines and an electrical line so that, if necessary, a diesel locomotive could be placed behind the water car and operated from the 1522's cab. The completed car was painted and entered service in May of 1990 just in time for the 1990 NRHS Annual Convention and the memorable trip to Newburg, where her extra 13,000 gallons of water came in very handy.

The 1522-A was sold to the Ohio Central where it now operates with the steam locomotives there. As of this writing it retains it's same number and fretwork paint.

Baggage Car BLACK GOLD

As mentioned, the operation of a steam locomotive on the road requires a considerable amount of tools, support equipment and spare parts to be carried along. To help house this equipment, the Burlington Northern Railway donated a baggage car to St. Louis Steam Train. This Pullman Standard car was built in 1958 as Northern Pacific bag car #220 and it had been in telegraph maintenance on the BN prior to its donation.

Once the car arrived in St. Louis, the SLSTA began yet another restoration effort to get it ready for use. The car body was in very good condition - new diaphragms, bag doors and paint were about the only work needed. The car was lifted by crane and the trucks rolled out for a 40 year teardown inspection and rework. One slightly bent coupler was replaced and the overhauled trucks returned under the car in time for inspection by an Amtrak car inspector. The Black Gold meets all Amtrak mechanical standards but lacks the 480v head end electrical power system to actually run on Amtrak trains. Nothing was added to the underside of the car. The car was renamed Black Gold after one of the Frisco passenger trains that 1522 used to pull.

Inside the Black Gold, the crew built a center bulkhead across the middle of the car, dividing it roughly in half. In the 'slime' end, shelving was installed to house the tools, spare parts, lubricants and other equipment. A special rack was installed to hold the fire hose necessary to water the train. The display steps, built by the BN's Springfield Shops to let people look in the 1522's cab, were also housed inside the car. A small but amazingly powerful electric winch crane was bolted to the floor next to a doorway to assist in the loading of heavy equipment such as drums of oil, the gas fired arc welder and the hotsy power washer.

The other end of the car, which was normally closest to the locomotive while we traveled, was the souvenir shop. It had more shelving and tables to house the shirts, hats, coffee cups, postcards and pins which we sold to raise revenue to keep the engine running.

The Black Gold was sold to the Milwaukee Road 261 operation. All the shelving, partition, tools, parts, crane, etc were removed, a solid floor installed in the 'slime' end and a small serving counter installed. The car has been renamed Golden Valley


In the first few years after 1522's restoration, the SLSTA crew had no crew car of their own. Firehose and lubrication equipment was often carried in someone's truck as it followed the train, and spare parts housed in a box car. The SLSTA began to improve that situation with the purchase of the former Milwaukee Road baggage Dormitory car #1312. This car had been built in 1947 by the Milwaukee's own shops for use on the Olympian Hiawatha between Minneapolis/St. Paul and the west coast. It featured a small baggage section as well as 3 dormitory rooms, a private bedroom for the dining car steward, two toilets and a shower. Each dorm room slept 6 people and was home to the waiters, cooks and porters on the train. Keeping this car cool in the summer was a steam powered air conditioner which took up a large portion of the A end of the car (the right side on the above photo).

Structurally, the 1312 was in horrible shape. The steam powered air conditioning system had trapped so much water in the structure around it that the whole end of the car had to be rebuilt between the sills and the roof - from the A in SLSTA above all the way to the right end in the photo above. Dutch doors were added to provide an extra area for the crew to hang out and enjoy the view. The canvas and steel diaphragms were replaced with Amtrak specified rubber tubes. The entire car was sandblasted to remove the peeling armor yellow Milwaukee Road paint scheme and repainted in Frisco passenger blue, white, gray and gold colors.

Inside, the baggage end of the car was largely left untouched with the exception of adding storage bins along the walls and a workbench. Since then, tool boxes and parts cabinets have also been added. The three dormitory rooms were also left in place but the lower bunks were removed in favor of seats and storage cabinets. The crew uses these rooms for storing their personal effects while on the road. The steward's bedroom, shower and toilets were removed along with the steam air conditioner to open up a small lounge area for the crew.

The crew has been especially busy under this car. A 3 cylinder Lister diesel engine/generator set is wedged into one of the car's original battery boxes while the other is used for storage. This generator powers the lights and tools on the car as well as the air compressor which supplies air when the car is not connected to a train. Two other large battery boxes have been added for additional storage of lubricants needed on the road. The car's water tank and supply system were rebuilt and two fuel tanks salvaged from an old concrete truck were installed to fuel the diesel. Most important, a Microphor biological system was added to the toilet in the bag area. The trucks were rolled out and, after much effort, were disassembled and rebuilt. These trucks are known as Nystrom trucks after their designer and were unique to the Milwaukee Road. They were not designed to be taken apart but, despite their complexity, the trucks give a very smooth ride. When all was finished, the car was inspected by Amtrak and given the name FIREFLY after one of the passenger trains the 1522 pulled in her days on the Frisco.

Firefly was also sold to the Milwaukee Road 261 operation. As far as known, nothing yet has been done to this car and it sits in storage.

Diner Lounge Chouteau Club

Although painted in the Frisco paint scheme to match the rest of our consist, the Chouteau Club was actually owned by a private individual who is also a member of SLSTA. It began life as the Hamilton Club, a parlor car built by Pullman Standard for use on the Canadian National Railway. After a long career in Canada and numerous rebuildings into different configurations, the car was sold off by the railroad into private hands.

Chouteau Club has been thoroughly reworked as part of the required Amtrak 40 year inspection program. To operate on Amtrak trains, cars 40 years or older must have their trucks torn down and rebuilt as well as an extensive inspection of the car itself - 40 years of wear can create a lot of problems. Chouteau Club passed this inspection and has had the necessary electrical and mechanical work done to allow it to operate on Amtrak trains.

Inside, Chouteau Club is set up as a diner lounge. One end of the car has a mini bar area and lounge seating. The other end has 5 dining tables and a side serving table where 20 people can eat at one sitting. A small kitchen with refrigeration and freezer storage is adjacent to the dining area. The car is unusual for a lounge in that it has two rest rooms - normally, these cars had no facilities. It also has baggage storage racks near the entry steps, a diesel generator system for independent power and can be fully air conditioned or heated.

The years caught up with the Chouteau Club and corrosion of the side sills on the car (the long frame members along the bottom sides) sidelined the car for operations. The Chouteau Club is now believed owned by Illinois Transit Assembly in Madison, IL, and is in storage. It's a shame since Chouteau Club was such a good car for excursion service.

Business CarBluebonnet

For many years, a relatively modern business car in faded green and yellow paint sat forlornly on a track at the Museum of Transportation near where 1522 was being restored. With the 1522, her water car, the Firefly and Black Gold restored and operational, the crew began to wonder if this old business car could be brought back to life as well. The car was hauled out of storage and work began.

The car was built in 1948 as the Milwaukee Road business car Milwaukee by the railroad's own shops - just like the Firefly had been. It was used by the senior officers of the railroad for traveling their system to conduct business with customers or meet with railroad employees. The car has several large bedrooms including one specially fitted out for the male secretary who accompanied his boss on these trips. A crew of two, a cook and waiter/porter, prepared meals for the officials in a small kitchen and served them in the adjacent dining room. They lived in a tiny room just off the kitchen. At the rear of the car was a small lounge area with a door that led to the back platform. The riders could pass the time riding in the lounge or, if the weather was nice, open the door and ride on the platform.

With the decline of the Milwaukee Road, the car was eventually sold into private hands and found its way to Gene Love, a wealthy gentleman in the oil industry. He painted the car green, changed the name of the car to Silurian (an age of geological time in which much of what was living became the oil we now use) but otherwise made only minor changes to the car - with one significant exception. Since he wanted to take the car to New York, he had to replace the trucks under the car as the original Nystrom trucks would not clear the obstacles in the New York railroad tunnels. He had a set of swinghanger trucks installed which required some modifications to the car. Unfortunately, Mr. Love passed away shortly after the car was ready for his use and his estate donated the car to the Museum.

Over time, the crew brought the car's systems back on line. The diesel generator, air conditioning, water and kitchen systems were made to work again and the interior thoroughly cleaned. Finally, the car was painted to match the rest of the train and the name changed to Bluebonnet after yet another of the Frisco passenger trains 1522 used to pull.

The car was sold to the Milwaukee Road 261 group as well which repainted it into it's original Milwaukee Road colors and changed the name back to Milwaukee.

Return to 1522's Home Page