Soo Line Historical and Technical Society
1997 Convention - Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin

Previous Page The annual convention of the SLH&TS was held in Chippewa Falls, WI on September 19-21, 1997. Restored 2-8-2 Mikado # 1003 was on hand to provide motive power for three great excursions. On Saturday, she pulled a 13-car train east to Thorp, WI. On Sunday, she pulled the same train westward to Cardigan Junction (north of St. Paul, MN) and back to Chippewa Falls.

A highlight of the convention for Anita and I was the opportunity to meet Soo fans from other countries. Pierre Milot from Montreal, Quebec, and Graham Stockfeld from Melbourne, Australia were in Chippewa Falls with their wives (and Graham and Jill's daughter, Hannah), and we spent some wonderful time together. Pierre won First Prize for his model photography, and Graham won a first for his excellent ALCo RS-1

I have reproduced (below the pictures) a few paragraphs from the excursion brochure regarding the 1003 (pronounced "Thousand and Three"). You might also like to visit the Wisconsin Railway Preservation Trust the Home Page of the group who restored this locomotive.

A big "Thank You" is also due to the Wisconsin Central, Ltd., for making the old Soo Line available for this excursion.

Next Page

Friday Evening
Fueling the 1003 We arrived in Chippewa Falls on Friday evening, and after checking in at the Convention Hotel, went over to Irvine Yard to check up on the train. We found the 1003 being fueled from a low-sided hopper car. We later found out, from some Upper Michigan railfans, that she had arrived from the Twin Cities the day before with the thirteen passenger cars she would be pulling on the excursion.

Photo was taken September 19, 1997.

Saturday Morning
Saturday Morning The passenger consist Saturday was made up of thirteen cars: six first-class cars (including a dome car) behind the 1003, the baggage-concession car, six coach cars, trailed by wisconsin Central GP-40 # 3010. The diesel would be used to pull the train back from Thorp, since there was no provision for turning either the train or even the locomotive there. In this photo, WC # 3010 is pulling the train westward onto the mainline after picking up the passengers. Mikado # 1003 will then be coupled onto the head-end and we'll be on our way eastbound to Thorp.

Photo was taken September 20, 1997.

Soo Line Mike # 1003 The Fireman climbs to the cab of Soo Line Mikado # 1003 as the Engineer watches his train being pulled into position on the mainline.

Photo was taken September 20, 1997.

Eastbound out of Irvine Yard Eastbound out of Irvine Yard Soo Line Mikado # 1003 eases the morning excursion eastward out of Irvine Yard. We'll be crossing the Chippewa River just around the bend, then heading up along the river toward Lake Wissota.

Photos were taken September 20, 1997.

Soo Line Locomotive 1003

In March of 1913 American Locomotive Company (ALCO) at its Schenectady Works completed order number S-934 consisting of ten 2-8-2 Mikado locomotives for the Minneapolis, St. Paul & Sault Ste. Marie Railroad. These locomotives, with builders numbers 52824 through 52833, included engine 1003 with builder number 52826.

Engine 1003 had 28" X 30" cylinders, 63-inch driver wheels, and originally came with a tender having a capacity of 7,500 gallons of water and 12 tons of coal. Total weight was 433,500 pounds. The boiler carried 170 pounds per square inch pressure with 258 2" flues and 34 5-3/8" flues. A Schmidt superheater was included in the original engine. The grate area of the fire box was 63.26 square feet. The combined heating surface was 5,163 square feet. This combination produced a starting tractive effort of 53,940 pounds.

The brake system was a Westinghouse 8-1/2 inch LH cross-compound air pump. Valve gear is Walschaert.

An oil headlamp was on the locomotive as originally built. These locomotives had their headlights converted to electricity in late 1913 and 1914.

Some of the major changes made to this locomotive were:

  • The classification lamps were changed from oil to electric in 1920.
  • Power reverse gear was installed in July 1925, with an auxiliary air reservoir being added in 1947.
  • During the 1930s footboards were applied to the rear of the tenders. The 1003 was carrying tender 1008 at that time and the addition was made at Superior on December 21, 1933.
  • A major facelift occurred in November 1941. A larger sandbox was applied, the big wooden pilot on the front of the engine was replaced with a tubular steel pilot, and the wood and canvas cab roog was replaced with an enlarged steel cab. At this same time, the feedwater heater was replaced and the superheater upgraded with an Elasco Type A.
  • Also in 1941, a Standard Type MP Stoker was added with the newly built (by the Soo Line) tender 1054. This new tender had a capacity of 12,000 gallons of water and 17-1/2 tons of coal. After the 1941 improvements, the engine weight increased to 513,600 pounds.
  • Tender 1054 remained behind the 1003 until 1949, when it was replaced by the 4003, a 18.000 gallon, 17-1/2 ton capacity tender. Some time prior to retiring, the 4003 was replaced by the 4002 of similar design.

Engine 1003 could operate over all of the Soo Line except for a few of the branches which had very light rail. The 1003 operated regularly through the Chippewa Falls area while in regular service. These engines were considered versatile and efficient.

The engine was originally purchased in 1913 for a cost of $25,654.63. Scrap prices obtained from engines of this size in the late 1950s was about $5,000.00.

The end of steam sounded on the Soo Line in the early 1950s. The 1003 was one of about ten engines that were held in reserve from the scrap heap and maintained in standby condition in the event that there would not be enough diesel power after the Korean War. Trackside water tanks and coal sheds were also retained during this period on the Shoreham (Twin Cities) to Sault Ste. Marie line so that in the event business levels increased, steam could take over on this district and release diesels to other areas.

In 1959, it was decided to retire all steam facilities. Engine 1003 was retired in August 1959 and presented to the City of Superior on December 30th where it remained on static display. It is estimated that it logged approximately 1.75 million miles while in active service.


In the 1980s, a group of railroad enthusiasts in Superior attempted to begin a restoration of the engine, however, the effort fell through.

In 1994, the Wisconsin Railway Preservation Trust approached the City of Superior and purchased the engine and late in 1994 it was moved into a warehouse in Superior, owned by Fleming Foods. Restoration was completed at this location in November 1996.

This excursion represents one of the first trips of a revenue excursion by the 1003. As you travel today, ponder a few of these facts:

  • The engine is 84 feet long with tender.
  • It is 16 feet tall.
  • Although we will be restricted to slower track speeds today, it can move at 60 mph while pulling 3,000 tons.
  • Each of its two pistons generates 1,500 horsepower.
  • The engines main drive wheels are nearly 5-1/2 feet in diamater and turn at 300 rpms at top speed.
  • It uses approximately 100 gallons of water and 100 pounds of coal for each mile it travels.

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