| November/December 1967

RFD 1,Box 157 Paxron, Ill. 60957

SPUR, Inc., got its start on February 16, 1966 with a meeting in a dormitory room at Illinois Wesleyan university at Bloomington, Illinois. It was that evening that a group of students got together to plan a massive campaign in an attempt to save steam power on the Burlington railroad.

It had become obvious that the railroad was serious in wanting to end all steam operations on its lines. For eleven years students of steam had ridden behind engines 5632, a Northern type engine with a 4-8-4 wheel arrangement, and 4960, a spirited Mikado classified as a 282. It was indeed with disappointment that fans accepted the fact that these 'fan extras' would not run again after the final trip on July 17.

For two months, the officers of SPUR (after collecting enough money from fans on a trip from St. Louis to enable chartering as a not-for-profit corporation) waged a bitter '1000 Letter' campaign. Congressmen, civic leaders, and hundreds of newspapers received SPUR literature. But, on April 16, 1966 SPUR, Inc., admitted the obvious. Nothing was going to change the Burlington position on retiring steam.

With this bit of knowledge, SPUR realized that if steam was to be run on a regular basis, it would have to be by private individuals who would purchase, maintain, and operate locomotives.

SPUR'S first real lead on an engine came in September when a member sent in an auction notice about a Heisler Bevelgear locomotive which was being sold in Memphis, Tennessee. Two SPUR officers went to the auction on September 28 and 29. Although SPUR did not buy the engine, a member who joined SPUR that very day did buy it, and it now sits at his home in Rossville Georgia.


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