Northern Pacific # 328 was originally one of twenty 4-6-0 “Ten Wheelers” ordered by the Chicago Southern railroad in 1904. Before it was delivered in 1905 the Chicago Southern went bankrupt and the order went unfilled.
In 1906 the Northern Pacific found itself short on power and went shopping for locomotives. It purchased 10 of the unfinished 4-6-0’s and took delivery of them in February of 1907. They were used on the lighter branches in the Dakota’s and Minnesota. Eight of them were cut up for scrap between 1929 and 1933.
The two survivors, 321 and 328, remained because of their light weight and a rickety old bridge on the Rush City, MN to Grantsburg, WI line. 321 was scrapped in 1948 and 328 was retired in 1950. It was then donated to the city of Stillwater, MN where it sat by the Stillwater depot until 1976.
The Minnesota Transportation Museum leased 328 from the city of Stillwater and restored it to operating condition at BN’s ex-NP Como Shops.
Enter my father…
My father was a volunteer with the MTM, at one point holding elected office within the organization. At the same time he was also volunteering with the New Brighton Historical Society. The two worlds merged in 1981 when New Brighton held their first city celebration. Named “Stockyard Days” in honor of the New Brighton’s stockyards that at the turn of the century were the largest west of Chicago.
Wanting to have a major draw to help launch the celebration, my father used his connections with the MTM and was able to secure #328 to run a railfan trip in New Brighton using the Minnesota Transfer Railroad’s tracks.
So, Northern Pacific #328’s inaugural run after restoration was at the city of New Brighton’s inaugural celebration. All brought about with the help of my father.