MINNEAPOLIS – Milwaukee Road 4-8-4 No. 261 will pull two excursions on BNSF Railway this autumn. On Oct. 12, the locomotive will pull a round trip from Minneapolis northwest to Willmar on the former Great Northern Railway main line once used by the famed Empire Builder
. The line has not seen regular passenger service since Amtrak rerouted the Empire Builder
to the former Northern Pacific line through St. Cloud in 1979.
On Oct. 13, No. 261 will pull an excursion train departing Minneapolis at 9 a.m. that will travel BNSF’s ex-Great Northern Hinckley Subdivision 124 miles north to the wye at Boylston, just south of Superior, Wis. After turning, the train will return to Minneapolis, with an approximate arrival time of 5 p.m. The train will operate a total round-trip of 250 miles over trackage that has not seen regular passenger service since Amtrak’s St. Paul-Duluth North Star
was discontinued in April 1985.
The train will include coach, first class, and premium services. Premium class includes seating in former Milwaukee Road Skytop lounge observation Cedar Rapids and full length Super Dome No. 53.
Tickets prices for the trips each day are: Coach Class Adult $149, Coach Class Children $99, First Class $249.00, and Premium Class $359.00.
Milwaukee Road 261 was built by Alco in 1944 and is owned by the non-profit Friends of the 261. The Friends completed an extensive, five-year overhaul of the locomotive this spring. The locomotive made its first public excursion since 2008 in May, pulling a two-day round trip from Minneapolis to Duluth.
For more information and to order tickets, go to www.261.com