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Mark Twain Zephyr passed through Eau Claire, Aug 1, 2020

2020-08-02 - Paul Almquist

Early on Aug 1 I received an email from Dave Peterson and later a phone call from Charlie Schaaf alerting me to the fact that the Mark Twain Zephyr locomotive will be hauled by truck on Saturday from Illinois to its new home at Trego, WI. Updates on the travel progress will be made on their Twitter page. So after checking their Twitter page a few times I estimated that they would get to Eau Claire about 1800. I decided to try to photograph it passing through town on Hwy 53. I searched a Google map of Eau Claire for a good site to view it and found a couple of possible locations on the east side of Hwy 53 north of the North Crossing overpass. My first choice was on the south side of the LaSalle St overpass.

We left home just after their Twitter report said they were passing US10 at Osseo. The was a good location as there is a clear view of the highway for about a half mile south so it will be easy to see them coming and have several seconds to have our cameras ready. We (Margaret came along with her camera) arrived, got our cameras out of the cases and turned on. Within 5 minutes I saw the truck under the North Crossing overpass. It pulled off to the side of the road. The driver and passenger both got out and began to inspect the load.

A couple of minutes later a car with a yellow flashing lights on the roof joined them. And shortly after that another car also with yellow flashing lights followed by a camper stopped.

About 15 minutes later the doors of the truck closed and it began to merge into the traffic.

As the truck passed us we heard several beeps of the horn.

They accelerated rapidly, passed under LaSalle St and were out of sight.

According to the Twitter page they expected to arrive at the WGN site near Trego about 1930. Sunday they are taking off and will begin work on Monday.

The Mark Twain Zephyr, one of a family of Zephy trains, was purchased by the Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad. It will be restored and used by them. They hope to have it operational by the end of 2021. There is a lot of work to do. A new prime mover, the diesel engine, has to be put into the loco. The original engine was removed some time ago. All the cars will be restored, too.

The Mark Twain Zephyr Twitter page:
The Mark Twain Zephyr Facebook page: