A visit to my past…Centralia, Illinois

Centralia was the epicenter of my mother’s parents family.. My grandfather would bring me over to his brother’s farm at least three times a year in addition to the two weeks during the summer. I fell in love with the town, I should also mention that one of my uncles was an engineer on the Illinois Central Gulf, with his home base in Centralia. I go to Centralia, at least twice a year to watch trains. I used to take the train from Warrensburg, Mo to New Orleans, that would be attached from AMTRAK’s River Cities to the City of New Orleans.The River Cities would pull into Centralia about 1230 in the morning. The City would come down alongside and then backed up onto the dome car. Centralia is right in the middle of Illinois east and west. The town has the old Illinois Central, now Canadian National. coming right through downtown, The Burlington Northern Santa Fe also cuts through town, Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific also have Centralia on a timetable. I was alerted by a friend that the big old static steam engine, The Illinois Central 2500 would be open as part of the town’s Fall Harvest Festival.. This was the locomotive that I had always stopped by anytime we came to the town when I was a kid. I had not been back to it in a long time, because the highway had gotten moved.

So Mrs. Shuttletrain and I headed eastward, since it was a Saturday that I was just doing the regional roundup, I ask the host for the week, KC Nathan, if I could have a segment. I got to speak to one of the original people that helped bring the 2500 to it’s resting place. I had seen the video of the move, but to actually speak to the person in person, it was a thrill. We did the segment and then looked all over the engine. We headed downtown, where CN had their Community Relations Team selling railroad food, t-shirts. The railroad also had their mini-train, an E unit,, kitchen car, lounge car, theatre car, and a GP-8. Wow what a discovery.
I should mention that the theatre car and kitchen car. were not open to the public., a little disappointment.. The weather could have been much better, it was windy and cold,. leftovers from the eastcoast hurricane . I will remember this day for a long time.
Thanks for wandering this week.

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