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Days Gone By On The Iron Mountain

February 27, 2010

I was ten years old when I first saw #5. It was early 1983, and the locomotive was still on the roster of the Crab Orchard & Egyptian Railroad. However, she hadn’t turned a wheel under her own power in nearly four years. Fortunately for me the C.O.& E. was a laid back outfit as railroads go, and was not objectionable to a kid climbing aboard the out of service locomotive and sitting in the engineer’s seat.

Two years later the buzz was that the 1946 H.K. Porter product was going to be leaving Marion. It had been purchased by an outfit that was starting a tourist line over a former Missouri Pacific branch line in Jackson, Missouri. In the late spring of 1985, the locomotive and two passenger cars left Marion and moved over the Union Pacific to their new home.

In 1986, #5 was back in steam and hauling tourists south from Jackson to Gordonville, Dutchtown and Delta. The new tourist line revived an old name, adopting the moniker of Missouri Pacific predecessor St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern.

On September 21, 1986, #5 is bringing its train down the house track in front of the depot in Jackson.

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Later the same day, #5 is southbound as it pulls out of Jackson with the dinner train to Delta.

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On November 7, 1987, #5 is making a photo run just south of Jackson during the Iron Mountain’s first ever Railfan Weekend.

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On the morning of September 17, 1989, #5 was hot and ready to roll on Railfan Day.

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On the south side of Jackson along Lee Avenue, #5 was backing up for a runby with a photo freight. September 17, 1989.

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A few minutes later, #5 put on a loud show with its string of freight cars.

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Later in the day, a special run was made using Jackson & Southern’s former Illinois Central GP9 #103. At the time the J&S shared the line with the Iron Mountain, but the tourist line outlasted the shortline.

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The last run of the day during Railfan Day 1989 was a doubleheader with #5 leading #103. Here the pair is seen making a photo run over the trestle near Dutchtown.

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A year later on September 16, 1990, the regular 1:00 train to Gordonville was about to cross Lee Avenue on Jackson’s south side.

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Less than a half mile to the south, the train rounded a curve alongside Lee Avenue.

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September 29, 1990, found another Railfan Day on the Iron Mountain. The train is running along Lee Avenue on the south side of Jackson in this view from the cab.

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The 1990 Railfan Day featured #5 pulling an all day special from Jackson to Oran, Missouri. From Jackson to Delta the train ran as a mixed consist with the regular passenger cars on the rear. Here the train performs a photo run at a rural gravel crossing south of Jackson.

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Further south the train performs another photo run at a bridge near Dutchtown.

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While passengers took a lunch break, #5 was cut away from the train and serviced at Oran.

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That night back in Jackson, #5 was part of the lineup for a night photo session.

#5 would serve on the Iron Mountain for another decade, operating into 2000. The locomotive is currently out of service, in pieces, and partway through an overhaul for which funding is scarce.

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Copyright 2010 – Mary Rae McPherson

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