Well, I ride on a mailtrain, baby,
Can’t buy a thrill.
Well, I’ve been up all night, baby,
Leanin’ on the window sill.
Well, if I die
On top of the hill
And if I don’t make it,
You know my baby will.
Don’t the moon look good, mama,
Shinin’ through the trees?
Don’t the brakeman look good, mama,
Flagging down the “Double E”?
Don’t the sun look good
Goin’ down over the sea?
Don’t my gal look fine
When she’s comin’ after me?
Now the wintertime is coming,
The windows are filled with frost.
I went to tell everybody,
But I could not get across.
Well, I wanna be your lover, baby,
I don’t wanna be your boss.
Don’t say I never warned you
When your train gets lost.
According to John & Odat, this train used to sit on N Rock Island Ave in Glen Oak Park, and then near the entrance to Detweiller Golf Course, before finally finding a permanent home at Wheels O’ Time Museum on North Knoxville.
The Train is the known as the Rock Island #886, but in actuality it is #887 with a new paint job.
It is one of only two or three Rock Island steam locomotives ever saved from the scrapper and donated to a city, Peoria being the lucky recipient. Actually it is not the original 886, because when the Rock Island was all set to donate it, they realized that they has already scrapped it, but luckily they still had a sister engine, 887. The Rock Island simply repainted and renumbered it to 886.
More history of this train courtesy of the Chillicothe Historical Society:
Engine 886, a steam 4-6-2 Pacific type was fired by Swede Allstram and engineered by N.N. Brown and Ray Vonk. Both Swede and Ray were from Chillicothe and they were known far and wide for the way they handled their train. The train itself carried a crew of 2 brakemen, Len Roberts and Joe Carroll and the conductor, Joe Sales.
Engineers wore striped overalls and starched white caps. Firemen wore blue caps and red bandannas around their neck, supposedly for emergency flagging.
When 886 came around the Rome curve, you could hear the wheels squealing, as the track was banked to allow a full 65-mile per hour speed limit. Swede, the fireman, chained himself in the cab with a ten-inch wide leather belt/harness and shoveled coal from Peoria to Bureau Junction, and back.
The train made the trip from Peoria to Bureau in 50 minutes and speeds would reach over 75 miles per hour over the straight sections of track. Merle Bradley claimed it was the fastest steam engine run in America at that time. Stops were made in Chillicothe, Sparland and Henry.
Thanks to all who commented.