Mar 1, 1994

Information about the rebuilding of Milwaukee Road “Northern” steam locomotive #261 from the”Friends of the 261″ Inc.

First 1994 steam trips announced

Plans shaping up for busy season

North Star Rail, operators of Milwaukee Road 4-8-4 #261, has tentatively announced the following trips as part of its 1994 operating season. More details will be announced in future issues of “Northern Lines” and via a special mailing to “Friend of the 261” members.

On either April 30 or May 7, 261 will pull the first main line steam excursion with a large locomotive out of the Twin Cities in 30 years when it heads west out of Hopkins, Minn. (a Minneapolis suburb )on the Twin Cities & Western to Montevideo, Minn. for a 240-mile round trip. During the layover in Montevideo, a short excursion will be offered to Appleton, Minn., 24 miles to the west, where the locomotive will to be turned. This excursion will fearture 261 ‘s return to home rails, as the trackage TC&W operates was once part of Milwaukee Road’s route to the Pacific Coast.

261 will then head t.o Chicago for trips to “Chocolate City Days” in Burlington, Wisconsin, the home of Nestle’s Chocolate. On May 14 and 15, 261 will highball up WC’s well maintained main out 

In September 1993 Ivar Natins applies stenciling in preparation for painting the number on 261’s cab.

of Chicago to Burlington, a distance of 70 miles. The train will unload passengers who wish to attend the festivities, load up with Burlington passengers, and sprint north 85 miles to North Fond du Lac, Wis. After the locomotive is turned and serviced, the train will head south once again for Burlington and Chicago.

After the Burlington excursions, 261 will return to Green Bay for trips on June 11-12 from Green Bay to Neenah, Wis., 70 miles round trip. These short trips are being operated in conjunction with the National Railroad Museum. These runs should be a photographers dream, with numerous
photo run-bys planned.

261 has also been invited by Burlington Northern to be present at “Galesburg Railroad Days” in Galesburg, Iill., site of a large BN yard and shop on June 25 and 26. Frisco 4-8-2 1522 has been a regular visitor to this gathering, but will be in Atlanta at the National Railway Historical
Society convention this year.

Still in the planning stages are excursions from Chicago to Milwaukee round trip on CP Rail in mid-July and a Twin Cities to Winona round trip October 8 and 9 over CP Rail. These trips are contingent upon meeting CP Rail’s insurance requirements.

North Star Rail has many other exciting operations in the planning stages. “Friends of the 261” members will be receiving a special mailing with ticket ordering information and times when details on these trips are finalized. Information can also be obtained by writing North Star Rail at Suite 800, 150 East 79th Street, Bloomington, Minn. 55425 or calling 1-800-261-RAIL.

North Star Rall exhibits at railroad shows

This winter, North Star Rail and “Friends of the 261” members teamed up to exhibit at seven different model railroad and railroadiana shows in the upper Midwest. The purpose of exhibiting was to familiarize the public with the locomotive, as well as selling 261 s:Juvenirs to raise funds for the engine. Shows where the “261 booth” was set up included exhibits in Madison, Wis., La Crosse, Woodbury, Minn. and several others in the Twin Cities area.

North Star Rail and the “Friends” wish to thank all the hard-working volunteers who gave freely of their weekend time to man the booth. Thanks to their efforts, several hundred dollars of merchandise was sold which will be used to help keep 261 in operating condition.

Friends of the 261:
What have we accomplished?

Membership in the “Friends of the 261” is open to everyone who wants to support the operation of Milwaukee :Road 4-8-4 261. But what has been the result of the around the clock to get the locomtive finished in time for the Fond du Lao trips. It also paid for two full-page ads in the February issue
of Trains Magazine. The first thanked the companies which had contributed to the 261 project. The second ad advertised 261 souvenirs for sale to the general public, which raised funds for continued 261 operations. Both these actions help generate goodwill and should help ensure 261 keeps running.

Membership stands at 250

Membership in the “Friends” (which currently stands at 250) also entitles members to advance notice of trips, discounts on excursions, and gives you the opportunity to volunteer in a position you choose (such as oar host). The “Friends of the 261” Hiawatha lapel pin is another exclusive offered only to members. Memberships are $25 for individuals, $100 for companies and are available from “Friends of the 261,” 4322 Lakepoint Court, Shoreview, 55126.

261 lapel pins and “steam goodies” still available

Members of the “Friends of the 261,” may still obtain the special “Hiawatha”lapel pin available only to members. The pin features the Milwaukee Road’s “Hiawatha” Indian in red surrounded by the words, “Friends of the 261.” It make an attractive gift and is available for a donation of $10, postage included. Any funds raised by the purchase of the pin will go to the “Friends” treasury and helps to support the continued operation of 261.

“Friends” also still has a supply of T-shirts, hats, and videotapes available for purchase by members. See the February, 1994 issue of Trains magazine, page 81, which has a complete listing and prices of the souvenirs that are available Send your orders to ”Friends of the 261″ at 4322 Lakepoint Court,
Shoreview, Minn. 55126.

A new 261 T-shirt and a coffee mug will soon be available. The coffee mug shows a side view of 261, while the T-shirt shows the nose of 261. Both are now in the printing process and will be available by the time the open house inspection is h eld in April.

261 Open House planned

The second annual 261 Open House for members of the “Friends of the 261” is being planned for April. Members will able to inspect the locomotive, which will be steamed up for the occasion. Watch your mail for an announcement on the date, time and location of the event.




© Friends of the 261. Archived Northern Lines Newsletters are copied from original wordings of letters sent out on the date in header. format maybe different from original letter but the articles remain the same. All addresses, contact info, promotions, discounts, and pricing in archived letters are no longer valid.

Recent Posts

2023 Northern Lines

Things may have seemed quiet over the summer for the Friends of the 261, but they have been quite far from that. Many things have been progressing in the shop of the 261.Friends contracted by MTM for A18Back in 2021, MTM (Minnesota Transportation Museum) contracted...

2023 Train Day

RRHMA participates in Midwest events Equipment makes appearances at Union Depot Train Days, Franklin Park Railroad DazeRailroading Heritage of Midwest America participated in two Midwest railroad events in June, part of fulfilling our mission to promote public...

RRHMA awarded $31,000 by the Emery Rail Heritage Trust

Railroading Heritage of Midwest America would like to announce the award of $31,000 by the Emery Rail Heritage Trust to go towards the return to service of the Sleeping Car/Lounge Caritas. We would like to thank the Emery Rail Heritage Trust for its continued support...

RRHMA to Expand operations to Silvis, IL

Railroading Heritage of Midwest America to expand operations to Silvis Illinois shop & rail complexThe rail complex will be developed as a multiuse commercial development, historic preservation, restoration and future transportation museum. SILVIS, Ill. (Jan 10,...