UP 3985 - St. Louis to Gorham Excursion - October 2010

UP 3985 southbound on the Chester Subdivision at Columbia, IL
UP 3985 - Chester Subdivision - Columbia, IL

Back in October of 2010, Union Pacific's Challenger 3985 came to St. Louis, Missouri. On October 7, the steam locomotive took an excursion train south to Gorham, Illinois, and then back to St. Louis. The first photograph, above, is of the locomotive as it heads south on the Union Pacific's Chester Subdivision at Columbia, Illinois. This was the only photograph I managed to get of the locomotive on the outbound trip to Gorham. The train was traveling at a fast pace, and due to a road closure at Chester, Illinois, my dad and I could not keep with it. So, after lunch in Chester, we found a photographic spot to capture UP 3985 from on the return trip.

Union Pacific 3985 leads a train on Chester Subdivision over the Kaskaskia River, near Ellis Grove, IL.
UP 3985 - Kaskaskia River - Chester Subdivision

After Union Pacific 3985 got to Gorham, Illinois, it was turned around on the wye tracks between the Chester Subdivision and the Mount Vernon Subdivision. It then began its journey back to St. Louis. On the return journey we caught the locomotive and its train coming across the Kaskaskia River bridge (approximately milepost 51.5) on the Chester Subdivision. This location is about 2.5 miles west of Ellis Grove, Illinois. From this location, UP 3985 has about 55 miles to go, by rail, to get back to St. Louis, Missouri. The bridge is just north of Gage Junction (milepost 52.0) on the subdivision.

UP 3985 rolls west on the Jefferson City Subdivision at St. Louis
UP 3985 - Jefferson City Subdivision - Downtown St. Louis

After another fast paced chase of the locomotive on its return journey to St. Louis, we managed to get back to town to catch 3985 on the Union Pacific's Jefferson City Subdivision as it passed by downtown St. Louis. The train is passing by Union Pacific's 12th Street Yard, which is on the southern edge of downtown. In the background the top of the Gateway Arch stands above the downtown Sheraton Hotel. At this point, the train is nearly back to the location near Compton Avenue where it will sit on public display for the rest of the day.

UP 3985 with the Gateway Arch - St. Louis, MO
UP 3985 - Gateway Arch - St. Louis, MO

Later in the day, after UP 3985 had arrived back at its public display location, we headed over to capture a few photographs of the locomotive in the late afternoon light. In the photograph above, the the locomotive sits with the Gateway Arch in the background.

UP 3985 - Sits on display in St. Louis after its trip to Gorham, IL
UP 3985 - On display at St. Louis, MO

Above is one last photograph for this post, from the day's outing. The locomotive is sitting on display near Compton Avenue and Chouteau Avenue, along the Union Pacific's Jefferson City Subdivision.

Photographs taken: October 7, 2010.


  1. Really great images of it! Love the light in them. The bridge shot is great too. I think 3985 came to Kansas as well that year. I found my shots of it the other day and pretty sure it was 2010.

    1. Thanks a lot, Shelly. Yes, it would have come back through Kansas on its return trip to Wyoming. I've got another batch of images from a day or so later when the locomotive headed back across Missouri to Kansas City. We gave up chasing it once we got to Sedalia, MO.


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