Lake Superior Railroad Museum dedicates Duluth & Northeastern No. 28

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Eileen Laakso smashes a bottle of champagne on No. 28's pilot at the dedication in Duluth on May 13.
Dave Schauer
DULUTH, Minn. — The Lake Superior Railroad Museum formally dedicated Duluth & Northeastern 2-8-0 No. 28 at a special ceremony for Train Day in Duluth May 13. Eileen Laakso had the honor of smashing a bottle of champagne on the No. 28’s pilot marking the completion of a restoration effort that began in 2011. The project was led by Laakso’s partner Robert Purcell, who as general manager of Duluth & Northeastern successor Cloquet Terminal Railroad pushed for the engine to be restored and carried the plan through to completion.

No. 28 was steamed up at the bumper post next to the museum entrance. A special stairway allowed visitors to walk into the cab of the locomotive.

Next up for No. 28 are additional test runs, and special donor appreciation trips on June 10 and 11. The first public trips for the locomotive will be held June 23 and 24 when No. 28 will pull round trips from Duluth to Two Harbors, Minn. Other public trips are scheduled on weekends in July, August, and September.

American Locomotive Co.’s Pittsburgh Works built the engine in 1906 for the Duluth, Missabe & Northern as No. 332. It was operated by DM&N successor Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range Railway until 1955, when it was sold to short line Duluth & Northeastern based in Cloquet, Minn. and renumbered to 28. The locomotive remained in service on D&NE until 1964. It last operated in September 1972, when the railroad used it inside the shop in Cloquet to dry sand, then ran it around the Cloquet Yard. No. 28 was donated to the museum in 1974.

Among the major donors to the project was the Missabe Railroad Historical Society, which contributed $5,000 toward the restoration of the former DM&N/DM&IR steam locomotive.

Restoration work on No. 28 began in the former Duluth & Northeastern shop in Cloquet in December 2011 and was completed at museum’s shop in Duluth in April.

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