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Last Class 1 steam runs: Why isn't my favorite railroad covered?

Lloyd Stagner's book AMERICAN STEAM FINALE, 1954-1970 (South Platte Press, 2001; is the definitive resource on the end of steam on U.S. Class 1's and short lines.
In "Just Who Was First to Dieselize," in Diesel Victory (2006), we mentioned 17 U.S. Class 1 railroads that dieselized early. To qualify for the list, the carrier had to be among the 113 railroads that the Interstate Commerce Commission designated as Class 1 in the early 1950s, i.e., roads earning $1 million in annual railway operating revenue.

The 17 roads that dieselized up through 1953, were, in alphabetical order:

Atlanta & St. Andrews Bay;
Chicago, Indianapolis & Louisville (Monon);
Columbus & Greenville;
Detroit & Mackinac;
Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic;
Elgin, Joliet & Eastern;
Gulf, Mobile & Ohio;
Lehigh & New England;
Missouri-Kansas-Texas (Katy);
Minneapolis & St. Louis;
Minneapolis, Northfield & Southern;
New York, Ontario & Western;
New York, Susquehanna & Western;
St. Louis-San Francisco (Frisco);
Southern Railway;
Spokane International; and

In general, the larger the road, the later it dieselized, which makes sense from nothing more than a volume standpoint (more mileage equals more locomotives to replace).

In Spring 2010 Classic Trains, we honor the 14 Class 1's (including the two Canadian giants, Canadian National and Canadian Pacific) that operated standard-gauge steam in regular service after January 1, 1958. Each road's last steam operation is cited in either the story text or a photo caption; by reporting marks or popular name, they are B&O, Burlington, CN, CP, C&S, Grand Trunk Western, IC, LS&I, Missabe, Nickel Plate, N&W, NP, SP, and UP. Also mentioned are the Denver & Rio Grande Western's long-lived narrow-gauge steam locomotives, and five roads which ran "workaday" steam under special circumstances in 1958 or after: Chesapeake & Ohio; Chicago & North Western; Reading; Seaboard Air Line; and Texas & Pacific.

But what about those railroads "missing" from either end of the spectrum, which include some large and popular carriers? Quoting from the same major source we used in the Spring issue, Lloyd Stagner's 2001 book American Steam Finale, 1954-1970 (, here are 27 of the others, in chronological order. Steam-powered passenger excursions that took place after a gap of no everyday steam operations are not listed.

Railroad, Date, Engine(s), Location tied up

Western Pacific, Oct. 1953, 0-6-0 164, Stockton, Calif.
Cotton Belt, Oct. 20, 1953, unspecified engine and location
Rock Island, Dec. 1953, 0-8-0 305, Blue Island, Ill.
Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac, Jan. 4, 1954, 4-8-4 622, Washington, D.C.
Erie, Mar. 17, 1954, 4-6-2 2530, Jersey City, N.J.
Clinchfield, Apr. 17, 1954, 4-6-6-4 663, Erwin, Tenn.
Katy, May 1954, 2-6-0 508, Greenville, Texas
Jersey Central, July 1, 1954, several 0-6-0's and 0-8-0's, Communipaw, N.J.
Western Maryland, July 20, 1954, 2-8-0 830, Cumberland, Md.
Wabash, Feb. 11, 1955, 2-6-0 576, Bluffs, Ill.
Missouri Pacific, Apr. 7, 1955, 2-8-0's 40 and 124, Dupo, Ill.
Long Island, Oct. 16, 1955, 4-6-0 50, Jamaica, N.Y.
Chicago & Illinois Midland, Dec. 6, 1955, 0-8-0 541, Springfield, Ill.
Detroit, Toledo & Ironton, Dec. 24, 1955, 2-8-2 805, Flat Rock, Mich.
Kansas City Southern-L&A, June 1956, L&A 0-8-0 253, Greenville, Texas
Spokane, Portland & Seattle, June 23, 1956, 4-6-6-4 910, Spokane, Wash.
Boston & Maine, July 23, 1956, 4-6-2's 3654 and 3662, Boston, Mass.
Soo Line, Fall 1956, 2-8-0's 471 and 472, 2-8-2's 1011 and 1012, Rhinelander, Wis.
Rio Grande standard gauge, Dec. 26, 1956, 2-8-0 1151, Alamosa, Colo.
Louisville & Nashville, Jan. 28, 1957, 2-8-2 1882, DeCoursey Yard, Ky.
Milwaukee Road, Mar. 16, 1957, 4-6-0 1004, La Crosse, Wis.
Florida East Coast, Apr. 1957, unspecified 0-8-0's, Jacksonville, Fla.
Central Vermont, Apr. 8, 1957, 2-8-0 451, Brattleboro, Vt.
New York Central, May 2, 1957, 2-8-2 1977, Cincinnati, Ohio
Virginian, June 1, 1957, 0-8-0 251, Princeton, W.Va.
Great Northern, August 1957, unspecified 0-8-0's and 2-8-2's, possibly in Superior, Wis.
Santa Fe, Aug. 27, 1957, 4-8-4 3780 and 2-10-4 5021, Belen, N.Mex.


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Three stories written and photographed by Jim Shaughnessy.


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