Railroad Heritage Park

Wendye Ware

Hi Everyone

Over the next two or three weeks, a wedge snow plow, steam engine, bunk car, and caboose will be moved from various locations in Laramie, Wyoming, to a new Railroad Heritage Park adjacent to the historic Union Pacific depot. Once assembled, the equipment will re-create a 1950s era snow train used to keep the rail lines open in the fierce Wyoming winters. It will be a tribute to the hard working men and women of Laramie and the West who braved the elements to keep the passenger and freight trains running. The train will not only serve an historical function, but it will also be "coherent", meaning that it could have existed in the real world, operating in exactly this assemblage. This is rare for static displays.

It is seldom that one sees any piece of railroad equipment riding on a truck through city streets. This is an opportunity to see an entire train move, albeit spread over several days.

The first move is scheduled for 11 AM, Tuesday, February 16, but this could be delayed if there are weather or moving company equipment problems.

The train consists of the following equipment:

Wedge snow plow – Union Pacific snow plow 900015, now located in Laramie's West Side. It was built in the UP Pocatello shops in 1953 and was converted from a steam engine tender. The original number was 015. It was featured on the cover of The Streamliner, Vol. 6, No. 3, in action blasting through a snow drift near Strasburg, Colorado in 1982.

Steam engine – Union Pacific 535, now in LaBonte Park in Laramie. It was built by Baldwin in 1903. It is a 2-8-0 Consolidation and was originally part of the Oregon Short Line. It worked the Laramie yards and the U.P. Coalmont branch in the 1950s.

Bunk car – built by Ralston Steel Car Company for the U.P. in 1929. It began life as an A-50-12 automobile car, part of series 152001-152500, was converted to a box car in 1940, and then into a six-man bunk car in the late 1940s. An article about the U.P.'s bunk cars, which includes a photo of a car similar to ours, appeared in The Streamliner, Vol. 16, No. 3. (I hope the fact that this is part of the train will keep me out of Mike's Moderator Jail!!!)

Caboose – Union Pacific 25232, built in 1951 with original number 3932. It is a class CA-5 caboose, one of a set of 100 such cars built by the U.P. in its Omaha shops. This was the first class of steel cabooses built in the U.P. shops. In the 1970s the caboose was upgraded with trucks that gave it a smoother ride. It served on the Maryville, KS, branch until it was retired.

The bunk car actually led to the creation of RR Heritage Park. A year ago the car was scheduled to succumb to a salvage company's cutting torch. The effort to save it let to a whirlwind of activity which culminated in the Park.

Railroad Heritage Park is a joint project between the Laramie Railroad Depot Association and the City of Laramie. For more details on this park, the equipment, and up to date information on the schedule for the moves see the Association's website at www.laramiedepot.org (Click on "News" for info about the move; and on "About – Railroad Heritage Park" for info about the park and equipment.)

Best wishes,
Larry Ostresh
Laramie, Wyoming

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