Illinois Railway Museum raising money for New Haven electric

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UNION, Ill. -- The Illinois Railway Museum has kicked off a fund-raiser to repaint its New Haven EF-4 electric locomotive No. 300 back to the railroad's red/orange, horizontal white stripes, and black NH logos, an estimated $25,000 to $30,000. This will cover the cost of preparation and paint, as well as creating track space for the locomotive.

One of only two Virginian Railroad locomotives to be preserved, No. 300, built in the mid-1950s, has worn the Virginian's black and yellow, the New Haven paint, and Conrail blue during its lifetime. Acquired for preservation by the Railroad Museum of New England, the locomotive came to IRM in a trade, says Executive Director Nick Kallas.

The locomotive was originally intended to be repainted in Norfolk Southern's Altoona, Pa. shops, but that arrangement fell through, Kallas said, so it was sent to Union in its faded and battered Conrail blue. The other unit is preserved at the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke in its original Virginian scheme.

While Illinois is a long way from New England, "We wanted it for what it is. It fits our collection of main line electric locomotives," Kallas said. It joins a New York Central S-motor, a Pennsylvania Railroad GG-1, and a South Shore "Little Joe." It is the most modern electric locomotive in the collection, although Kallas hopes it will be joined soon by an Amtrak AEM-7.

Under IRM's system, donor directed donations may used only be for the piece of equipment designated, so all donations will be for the No. 300 paint job. Any additional funds above the goal will go toward getting the locomotive under cover when the next carbarn is built.

Donations, which are tex-exempt, should be sent to IRM, Box 427, Union, IL 60180.

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