August 14, 2013 Travis Dewitz

Soo Line Steam in Duluth, Minn | 2719 Steam Locomotive Photo Series


I was able to spend two days documenting the what it took to get Soo Line 2719 to run the rails to pull a passenger excursion. Soo Line 2719 is a steam locomotive that is stored in Duluth, Minnesota at the Lake Superior Railroad Museum. It was built in 1923 by the American Locomotive Company (ALCO) in Schenectady, New York. The locomotive is in a Pacific 4-6-2 configuration which  represents the wheel arrangement of four leading wheels on two axles, usually in a leading bogie, six powered and coupled driving wheels on three axles, and two trailing wheels on one axle, usually in a trailing truck. 2719 worked for the Soo Line Railroad  in both freight and passenger service and served our country by carrying troops for both WWII and the Korean War.  This was the last steam powered locomotive in service in the state of Wisconsin when it was retired in 1959. After over 3 million miles of service, the Soo Line Railroad donated 2719 to the city of Eau Claire in which it was on public display in Carson Park. The beginning of the restoration to bring this locomotive back to operational status was started in 1996 by the Locomotive and Tower Preservation Fund who still own it. The locomotive has been part of many excursions since it has been restored but it is coming up for its 15 year FRA mandated boiler inspection at the end of the year which leaves an uncertain future for 2719. Soo Line 2719 will be making excursions between Duluth and Two Harbor along Lake Superior the next few coming weekends. The locomotive departs from the Lake Superior Railroad Museum and is operated by North Shore Scenic Railroad. (links below)

There were many people involved that work long hard hours to get Soo 2719 up and running for the private excursion and for the start of the season. The crew got an early start on Saturday preheating the boiler. As the preheating was under way, the crew filled the tender with water and started the fire in the firebox. The rest of the day was spent working on the many odds and ends around the locomotive and getting the boiler steam pressure up to operating pressure. Later that afternoon once they got the pressure to come up they discovered a pressure leak at the boiler inspection cover. The rest of the evening was spent trying to decrease the pressure and temperature so a repair could be made before the scheduled trip on Sunday. They were not able to get the pressure down low enough that night so they let it sit over night for an early morning repair on Sunday. 6am on Sunday morning, the crew went back to work. To the amazement of everyone, 2719 was still very hot and was maintaining pressure. By 10 am they were able to get the locomotive down to safe levels to make the repair to the seal. Once the repair was made, the crew fired her back up and verified the repair. Everything was a go and 2719, now coupled to two passenger cars, backed onto the mainline for their departure to Two Harbors, Minnesota. After the Thomas and Friends excursion arrived back into Duluth, Soo 2719 departed north along Lake Superior. The train made an uneventful trip to Two Harbors where it was wyed in Canadian National’s yard for the return trip back to Duluth. I documented all the dirty work that it took to keep 2719 on the move from keeping a hot fire to maintaining the correct pressures. The entire trip used about 4 tons of coal which had to be shoveled one shovel full at a time. I couldn’t imagine what it must have been like many years ago when steam ruled the rails. I hope you enjoy all the photos.97soo_2719_wheel_keyway_detail 1soo_2719_crew_ready_to_depart 2soo_2719_getting_preheated 3soo_2719_valves_and_oil_can 4soo_2719_reversing_onto_the_mainline 5soo_2719_installing_pipe_plug 6soo_2719_stoking_the_fire_at_speed 7soo_2719_under_the_midnight_sun 8soo_2719_the_foot_rest 9soo_2719_backing_up_the_train 10soo_2719_trestle_over_the_swimming_hole 11soo_2719_out_the_window_of_cnw_passenger_car 12soo_2719_the_hands_that_make_it_go 13soo_2719_crew_talking_the_trip_over 14soo_2719_engineer_blowing_off_steam 15soo_2719_coal_flying_into_fire_box 16soo_2719_through_the_north_woods 17soo_2719_shadow_on_cnw_passenger_car 18soo_2719_engineer_looking_down_sunrays 19soo_2719_stoker_gauge 20soo_2719_anti_seizing_the_boiler_cover_studs 21soo_2719_darkness_of_the_cab 22soo_2719_front_light_rear_tender_water_capacity 23soo_2719_crew_portraits 24soo_2719_looking_up_at_the_cab_number 25soo_2719_nose_greets_the_morning 26soo_2719_cab_valves 27soo_2719_swinging_open_the_firebox_doors 28soo_2719_tender_golden_water 29soo_2719_at_sunrise 30soo_2719_white_hot_fire_coal_burning 31soo_2719_flames_in_the_fire_box 32soo_2719_back_of_the_boiler 33soo_2719_water_level_sight_glass 34soo_2719_blow_off 35soo_2719_drive_wheel 36soo_2719_shovel_full_of_coal 37soo_2719_along_a_green_swamp 38soo_2719_along_lake_superior 39soo_2719_crew_shoveling_coal_in_tender 40soo_2719_max_radio_web 41soo_2719_shoveling_coal_from_the_tender 42soo_2719_last_puff_of_steam 43soo_2719_air_pressure_gauges 44soo_2719_dennis_starts_repairing_steam_leak 45soo_2719_looking_down_on_dan 46soo_2719_shoveling_more_coal 47soo_2719_building_pressure 48soo_2719_oiling_her_up 49soo_2719_portrait_of_dennis_with_the_northland 50soo_2719_wrench_property_of_2719 51soo_2719_crew_portraits_2 52soo_2719_feed_water_heater_gauge 53soo_2719_hot_smoking_steel 54soo_2719_steam_rises_from_underneath 55soo_2719_getting_the_fire_started_in_the_fire_box 56soo_2719_red_valves 57soo_2719_smokey_tender_soo_line_logo 58soo_2719_the_time_has_arrived 59soo_2719_heading_north_through_duluth_along_bike_path 60soo_2719_steam_whistle_pull_cord 61soo_2719_engineer_looks_around_curve_at_track_speed 62soo_2719_crew_oils_and_shovels 63soo_2719_end_of_a_long_day The glowing fire box from Soo Line steam locomotive 2719. 65soo_2719_max_web 67soo_2719_coal_ash_fills_the_cab 68soo_2719_shoveling_coal_into_the_firebox 69soo_2719_waiting_to_depart_duluth 70soo_2719_feeding_the_fire 71soo_2719_brakeman_giving_signals_on_radio 72soo_2719_engineer_looks_back_at_his_train_in_two_harbors_yard 73soo_2719_nose_smoke_in_the_sky 74soo_2719_wyeing_the_train_at_canadian_nationals_two_harbors_yard 75soo_2719_latern_light 76soo_2719_removing_pressure_line 77soo_2719_throwing_coal_to_the_flames 78soo_2719_cleaning_out_fire_box 79soo_2719_hot_crew 80soo_2719_under_carriage_detail_with_light 81soo_2719_heading_under_ex-Duluth_Missabe_and_Iron_Range_bridge 82soo_2719_ready_to_depart 83soo_2719_blowing_off_pressure 84soo_2719_blowing_steam 86soo_2719_boiler_pressure_gauge 87soo_2719_engineer 88soo_2719_engineers_window 89soo_2719_checking_the_firebox 90soo_2719_looking_up_at_number_plate 91soo_2719_injector_valve 92soo_2719_shadows_in_steam 93soo_2719_front_and_side_view 94soo_2719_boiler_detail_close_up_smoke_stack 95soo_2719_black_smoke_out_of_the_stack 96soo_2719_steaming


travis dewitz soo 2719 coal web 150x150 Photograph

About the Author
Travis Dewitz is a professional photographer located out of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. He has been published in many books and magazines including many in the railroad industry. He does a lot of photography work and environmental portraitures for many companies and heavy industries in and around Wisconsin. He has grown up with trains and railroads are one of his passions that he pursues. His railroad photography can be seen on his website The Railroad Collection.


Like and Share with your friends and family!

Contact Me

I look forward to collaborating with you on any of your questions or comments. Don’t hesitate to reach out, I am detail oriented and would gladly answer any questions.