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CB&Q GP7 251, Aurora, IL, June 20, 1965, photo by Chuck Zeiler

CB&Q GP7 251, Aurora, IL, June 20, 1965, photo by Chuck Zeiler

Chicago Burlington and Quincy Railroad GP7 251 , later Burlington Northern 1607, built in November 1952 (c/n 16712), pictured in the lower coach yard at Aurora, Illinois, June 20, 1965, photo by Chuck Zeiler. It is seen here in charge of the consist for a steam fan trip, sponsored by the West Chicago Railroad and Historical Society. The trip began in West Chicago, and was pulled down the branch line through Batavia to Aurora, where the 251 was cut off and steam locomotive 4960 (a 2-8-2) took over for a trip to Ottawa, Illinois and return. The trip was advertised as as Railroad Historical Tour No. 3, a Fathers Day Outing, and the price was $6.00. The train departed West Chicago at 9:15 AM, and returned at 6:55 PM, according to the published flyer, which I have in my possession, and will scan at a later date. The flyer also stated:

Connections may be made at West Chicago with the C.N.W. suburban trains and at Aurora with CB&Q suburban trains. Ample parking is available at West Chicago. The special will leave from the Wood Street depot. Wood St. is located two blocks west of Main St. traffic signal on Washington.

The Geep was used on the Batavia Branch because 4960 was too heavy for the branch line rails. The Batavia Branch was significant because it was the original railroad that became the CB&Q, chartered as the Aurora Branch Railroad in 1848. The first car in the consist is a heavyweight baggage car, fitted with slats between the open doors allowing the passengers a view out in an open car, and fans with audio tape recorders could set up their equipment in this car. I recall one incident on a similar fantrip where the microphone was placed on the tender of 4960, and when 4960 was uncoupled from the train for servicing, the fan failed to unplug his mike, with obvious bad results. The next two cars are heavyweight coaches, and the silver car is a Q heavyweight diner, followed by three heavyweight coaches, and finally a Q mill gondola. At this time, the Q used a gondola car as a sightseeing car open to all passengers. I recall being on one such gondola directly behind 4960. After that, I wore goggles on these fantrips, as 4960 was a coal burner, and you were guaranteed cinders in your eyeballs without goggles.

Some but not all of the CB&Q GP7's were equipped with steam generators, and the 251 is so equipped. However, it is not active in this photo, and was certainly not needed in June. The CB&Q had large steel caps fabricated to cover the steam generator's intake and exhaust vents, and they are in place on this locomotive. The purpose of the caps was to keep the rain out and prevent rust.
Great pic. I appreciate all the info that you include. It makes the pic a lot more meaningful and enjoyable.


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