207 N. 7th. St., Willmar, Minn. 56201
This mountain type locomotive, surviver of the steam engines acquired by the Great Northern Railway to speed up mainline passenger service, was placed on permanent exhibition here on October 17, 1965.
A powerful and speedy locomotive of the P-2 class, this engine now looks every bit the aristocrat that it was during the years of its preminent association with the Oriental Limited and Empire Builder in the early period of the operation of the latter train. The Empire Builder was inaugurated in June, 1929, and popularity of the train led to addition of cars to the consist, and this necessitated more powerful engines the Renowned S-2 locomotive.
Engine No. 2523 is the last of 28 locomotives built for Great Northern by the Baldwin Locomotive Works. After these engines were replaced by the more powerful S-2s in Empire Builder service, they pulled the first mail and the famed silk trains. The P-2 engines later were used in freight service, and were retired in 1955.
Locomotive and tender are 94 feet 8 inches long, weighs 617,000 pounds and height from rail to the top of stack is 15 feet 10 inches. No. 2523 was an oil burner and developed 57,580 pounds of tractive effort. Each of the 8 drive wheels is 73 inches high.
The track on which No. 2523 stands is laid to Great Northern main line specifications. The creosoted ties are supported on a sub-ballast consisting of 6 inches of rock chips and a ballast consisting of 6 inches of crushed granite which is quarried by the Great Northern in Granite Falls, Minnesota.