A 'Zephyr' in the Wisconsin Northwoods

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Bucket loader lifts streamlined stainless steel locomotive
A truck dolly is removed from beneath the RPO section of Wisconsin Great Northern's newly acquired Mark Twain Zephyr locomotive Injun Joe at Trego on Tuesday.
Steve Smedley
TREGO, Wis. – With the Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad’s purchase of the Mark Twain Zephyr completed, the first and certainly the most complex part of the restoration process has been moved to Trego from Gateway Rail Service in Madison, Ill.

The Injun Joe locomotive arrived Saturday evening after being moved by Over the Top Construction Co. on a 610-mile trip. The company specializes in rail equipment moves.

"The Injun Joe is our 204th piece of equipment we have hauled," Over the Top Owner Jim Lesiak says. "To say that we are moving a historic train like the Mark Twain Zephyr set, is incredible and an absolute pleasure to say we are part of this project."

On Tuesday, the 77-foot-long locomotive was lifted off the trucking dollies and placed on timber box cribbing sets.

Wisconsin Great Northern President Greg Vreeland says, “our first project is cleaning out the Railway Post Office section of Injun Joe, sorting, identifying, and storing all the parts sitting loose in the car’’.

The original Winton diesel engine is gone from the locomotive, but treasures may be buried beneath the large pile of materials.

The operator's cab of the Injun Joe will need to be stripped and rebuilt. The headlight and warning light housing along with class lights will have to be rewired. FRA compatible glass will be fabricated since all window glass and weatherstripping are missing.

The 1935 Budd Co.-built Mark Twain Zephyr was originally powered by an eight cylinder, two-cycle Winton 201-A diesel engine designed by General Motors and manufactured by Electro-Motive Corp.

Interestingly, the locomotives roof still has the telltale diesel exhaust soot across the stainless steel.
Streamlined stainless steel locomotive behind a piece of construction equipment
Wisconsin Great Northern President Greg Vreeland uses a crane to unload timbers for cribbing once the locomotive Injun Joe is lifted off two truck dollies.
Steve Smedley
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