RUSSELL GREETS CHALLENGER

By Staff
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A lucky few witnessed reader Jerry D’
Attilio’s
1915 16 HP Russell, number 15995, greeting
the world’s largest operating steam locomotive, Union
Pacific’s 1943 Challenger, number 3985, on June 22, 2002, as it
passed through Lucas County, Iowa.

The challenger had departed from Cheyenne, Wyo., earlier in the
month on a 3,169-mile tour of the Midwest. After an overnight
stopover the Challenger left Des Moines, Iowa, southbound to Kansas
City, and passengers on the train were treated to this surprise
meeting about 40 miles along the track in rural northern Lucas
County.

The meeting was arranged by members of Camerail Club, a train
enthusiasts organization, and Camerail Club member Gray Smith
snapped the picture. The site, a pasture owned by Jerry’s
cousin, Butch Goben, was chosen months in advance because of its
lack of visible signs of modern times. Jerry made arrangements with
Marion Nicholson to haul his Russell from the D’ Attilio farm
near Derby, Iowa, to this site near Purdy. Jerry’s son Tony
tended the engine in preparation to greet Challenger.

Passengers stepped down from the Challenger and visited with
Butch and the crew of the Russell engine, and when it was time to
move on Jerry and Marion, who are both diehard steam enthusiasts,
accepted an invitation and rode the Challenger to its next stop at
Trenton, Mo. Jerry can be contacted at: 11386 450th St., Derby, IA
50068.

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