124 Altoona Avenue, Enola, Pa. 17025
I read with great interest your article concerning John Luther Jones and Engine 2012 (Iron Man Album - Volume 30, No. 3). I believe your readers might be interested in another bit of history involving the Illinois Central and 'Casey Jones'.
My father, Reuben A. Kaplan, founder of the Owatoona Tool Company, has purchased 'Old No. 201', an engine once manned by the legendary Casey Jones.
Dad had dreamed of buying the locomotive since he first saw it in Illinois about twenty years ago. The engine was then owned by Harold P. Vonachen of Peoria, Illinois. Mr. Vonachen used the locomotive to highlight the railroad motif of his restaurant. In recent years maintenance problems had become too great and rather than watch Old 201 and its colorful history rust away, he decided to sell it.
The engine was built by Rogers Locomotive in 1880. It is estimated that during its 46 years of service with the Illinois Central Railroad, No. 201 traveled a distance equivalent to three round trips to the moon, pulled 115,000 trains and carried over 25 million passengers.
As recorded in the annals of the Illinois Central, No. 201 was assigned to Casey Jones in 1893. At that time the engine shuttled visitors between Chicago's Van Buren Street and the World Columbian Exposition in Jackson Park. Well over 100,000 persons rode behind Casey's engine during this fair.
No. 201 is now on permanent display on the grounds of the Owatoona Tool Company in Owatoona, Minnesota. Dad has already begun restoring the engine and soon hopes to have it in excellent condition.
If you are ever in the Southern Minnesota area, we invite you to stop in and see this grand old locomotive.