When your votes caused the Little Rock Express route to win the Union Pacific's Route the Steam Excursion contest, we received many inquiries about when the 1940s steam engine, No. 844, would come through Missouri. This week, those fans have had a unique chance to see a piece of living history roll right up to them.
It began early this week in Kansas City, and I was able to catch a glimpse of the engine last night in Jefferson City. I have a picture of my family gathered near the front, dwarfed by the massive engine (with my son, as usual, refusing to look at the camera). I couldn't help but think of it's early routes decades ago as World War II was nearing an end and trains were so heavily relied upon for travel and goods. When people first stood next to that engine, interstates were still more than a decade away.
This morning, I watched as No. 844, with steam billowing, headed east towards St. Louis, where it arrives this afternoon and will be on display tomorrow. Many more stops are scheduled through Monday, June 6, before it crosses into Arkansas. See the schedule here.
I hope you each have a chance to glimpse those clouds of steam in person.