September 2023 Update

Another first for RRHMA!

After spending the majority of this year in the paint booth, Southern Pacific business car Stanford was rolled outside for the first time in August in fresh two-tone Southern Pacific Gray, bringing new life to the car, built in 1928. While there are still a few minor details to finish, this is a crowning achievement for RRHMA Silvis.

Volunteers have been working hard the last couple months around the Silvis shop. Parts are still coming off Challenger #3985, cleaning work is being conducted on #5511, and diesels being starting up for the first time after years of sitting are just a few of the things happening at the shop. 


Volunteer crews have been diligently removing parts from #3985. The front tube sheet has been removed as well as any flawed areas of the firebox. With these bad areas removed crews will begin making patches and fabricating a new front tube sheet. Volunteers are also painstakingly going through each individual stay bolt and identifying good ones versus bad. Once bad stay bolts are identified, they are being removed for future replacement. Volunteers have also removed items from the front of #3985 as well, including air tanks and piping, exhaust piping, and the smoke box door.

Along with all the work on #3985, volunteers have been working on #5511 as well. The pistons and rings have been removed for cleaning and inspection. Major needle scaling is being done to the bottom of the front tube sheet and bottom of the smokebox to remove deposits left over when tires were burned in the locomotive for the filming of the Union Pacific movie Last of the Giants in the 1950s.

Some of the more exciting news has been centered on the diesels that call RRHMA Silvis home, in particular Union Pacific Centennial #6936. After sitting for many years, volunteers started up #6936 for the first time in August. While there are still repairs to be done, #6936 was able to move around Silvis under its own power.

Former BNSF/Santa Fe B40-8CW #537, recently donated to RRHMA by BNSF Railway, is also now running again. Volunteers inspected and made repairs needed to return the unit to operation. RRHMA is now looking to repaint #537 back into its Santa Fe red and silver Warbonnet colors, which is estimated to cost $65,000.00. Donations toward the cost of repainting #537 may be made on the Donation Page.

If you would like to support RRHMA and its mission to preserve railroading history, become a member or donate today.