Christmas Tree Train Brings History and Cheer

The ALCO diesel locomotive was built more than 70 years ago and has since been restored by volunteers at the Lake Superior Railroad Museum.

DULUTH, Minn. – Christmas trees destined for the Duluth Depot arrived in style on Thursday pulled by a newly restored 1945 locomotive.

It’s been 30 years since the engine was operational, but on Thursday it was able to pull some Christmas cheer along the way.

“It is a 1945 model which means it’s exactly two years younger than I am which means we both need a lot of work thank you,” joked Martin Fair who has quite the storied history with the engine.

The ALCO diesel locomotive was built more than 70 years ago and has since been restored by volunteers at the Lake Superior Railroad Museum.

It holds special significance to one of those volunteers Martin Fair whose father actually worked on the exact locomotive back in the 1950s.

Fair then followed in his father’s footsteps working on trains as well.

“I spent about 45 years on the railroad and all this is kind of a fruition of that and I’m just so darn glad that the thing ran as good as it did today I really am,” says Fair who is now a mechanical officer at the Lake Superior Railroad Museum.

The Christmas trees pulled by the engine will go to decorate the upcoming Christmas City Express at the North Shore Scenic Railroad.

The engine will be joining the fleet owned by the railroad to hopefully excited many generations of train enthusiasts to come.

“Remembering that history is very important because it’s all of our history in one way or another. The Duluth South Shore and Atlantic was a pretty important railroad to this area doesn’t even exist anymore this may be the only piece of it that is still left and running,” says Ken Buehler, the Executive Director of the North Shore Scenic Railroad.

Fair and his Uncle Bill, who recently passed away, spent countless hours restoring this piece of railroad history.

Thursday was a chance for Martin to remember the connection the engine has to his family.

“We were working on it it was a hot day down there things weren’t going well I was sitting in the engineers’ seat Bill Uncle was on the other side and he said, “cheer up Martin how many years ago was it that your dad was sitting in that same place,” says Fair.

The Christmas City Express at the North Shore Scenic Railroad will start the weekend after Thanksgiving and continue for the following four weekends afterward.

More information can be found here.

 

 

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