On Saturday, July 3rd, 2011, the Union Pacific Railroad ran 3 Operation Lifesaver trains from Altoona to Chippewa Falls. The Union Pacific Employees Club of which I am a member, hosted the event. At the planning session I was offered a host position in the dome car and I of course quickly accepted! Here's a little travelogue of the trips. First, our train consisted of 3 cars with an engine on each end.
This engine number 2010 was painted up by the railroad to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Boy Scouts:
The engine on the other end was #1995 to commemorate the Chicago Northwestern Railroad which was absorbed by the UP in 1995.
This is the dome car where I would spend the day:
Here's part of the crowd lining up to board one of the trains:
Each car, except the upper level of the dome car, had a TV where the riders could get the engineer's view as the train proceeded down the tracks:
As we leave Altoona, we pass under the Highway 53 overpass. The track narrows to one track to cross the Eau Claire River.
Here is the Eau Claire River from on the bridge. You may note a photographer way down on the left bank. On later trains there would be several photographers here as well as one standing in the middle of the river!
Approaching Banbury Place. This was formerly the huge UNIROYAL or Gillette Tire Company that employed thousands of people. It was served by the CNW, Soo Line, and Milwaukee Road Railroads.
There were lots of railfan photographers all along the route. Here's Dave Voss of Eau Claire filling his memory card. He'll later ride the dome car also.
We cross under the highway (Old 53) into Chippewa Falls with the Canadian National mainline just ahead.
We then cross the Canadian National mainline.
We enter the massive trestle crossing the Chippewa River.
A shot from on the bridge:
We stopped here and heard a great presentation about Operation Lifesaver.
The line we were on is called the Chippewa sub. Here's a pic on the way back where we are about to enter the mainline again. We are passing under a neat old bridge on Bridge Street. Ahead is a "wye." The track to the right goes to Minneapolis-St. Paul and the track to the left to Eau Claire and Altoona.
I was able to get dome seats for several friends and got a pix of a few of them. First, Dave Voss and Travis Dewitz.
From right to left: Dick Johnson, Dan Hanson, and Ron Donaldson. Behind them are Dave and Mary Linderud (I thought they were looking at me when I snapped the pic!!)
Here are Dan, Joane, and Joe Lewis.
A great day and a great ride!!! Thanks to Union Pacific for providing us with the ride.