Duluth & Northeastern steam locomotive returns home

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DULUTH, Minn. – After an absence of 37 years, Duluth & Northeastern 2-8-0 No. 28 is returning to home rails today. The short line and onetime logging railroad based in Cloquet, Minn., donated the Consolidation to Duluth’s Lake Superior Railroad Museum in 1974. The engine returns to Cloquet today, where D&NE successor Cloquet Terminal Railroad will perform a cosmetic restoration.

American Locomotive Co.’s Pittsburgh Works built No. 28 in 1906 for the Duluth, Missabe & Northern as No. 332. It worked for DM&N and successor Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range until 1955, when it was sold to D&NE. The short line gained fame as one of the last railroads in the U.S. to use steam power, continuing to use steam over its 12-mile line from Cloquet to Saginaw, Minn., until 1964. After dieselization, No. 28 was retained by D&NE and used for special trips, including a special over the Duluth, Winnipeg & Pacific from Duluth to Virginia, Minn. No. 28 pulled the last passenger train to use the Soo Line’s Duluth depot, a special excursion for “Port-A-Rama Days” on Aug. 8, 1965. It last operated in September 1972, when the railroad used it inside the shop to dry sand, then ran it around the Cloquet yard. It was cleaned and repainted by D&NE during 1973, then shipped via Burlington Northern to the museum, arriving on July 13, 1974.

No. 28 will be restored by Cloquet Terminal employees at the former D&NE shop on Dunlap Island in Cloquet. The railroad is performing the restoration at no cost to the museum with the permission of the railroad’s owner and main shipper, Sappi Paper.

Earlier this fall, No. 28 was moved into the museum’s restoration shop, where volunteers removed the driving rods and lubricated it in preparation for the 41-mile trip to Cloquet over BNSF Railway’s Lakes Subdivision. The special move, which utilized two diesels on either end of No. 28, was donated by BNSF.
– Steve Glischinski and Jeff Terry
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