GTW U3b Confederation
The Grand Trunk Western’s flagship all purpose locomotives were the U-3-b, 4-8-4 Confederations. A total of 25 were built in 1942, numbered 6312-6336. They were the ideal locomotives on crack passenger trains exceeding 90mph, as well as 80 car hotshot freight trains exceeding 70mph. A (4) wheel trailing truck, (8) 73″ drivers, Walschaerts valve gear, and a 250psi boiler pressure made these extremely favorable locomotives with their crews. They were equipped with roller bearings on all but the driver axles, Boxpok drivers, Nicholson thermic syphons, and an Elesco exhaust steam injector. The U3b’s were known to run 250,000 miles between heavy repairs, and were used by the Grand Trunk until the very end of steam.
Of the (25) U3b’s built for the Grand Trunk Western in 1942, only (2) survive today:
#6323 is on display at the Illinois Railroad Museum in Union, IL. #6323 holds the distinction of being the last steam locomotive to be used in mainline passenger service in the United States. She made her final run under GTW ownership on September 20, 1961.
#6325 is on display at the Age of Steam Roundhouse in Sugarcreek, OH. #6325 was tasked with handling President Harry Truman’s campaign train across Michigan on GTW rails in 1948. She was retired in 1959, and because of her historical significance, she was spared the scrapper’s torch, and was donated to the city of Battle Creek Michigan. In 1985, an effort was made to restore the locomotive, but by 1992, GTW/CN required the locomotive be moved, in stepped Jerry Joe Jacobson. Jerry purchased the 6325 in 1993 and had the locomotive and tender moved the Ohio Central steam shops in Morgan Run, OH. There, Jerry’s crew restored the locomotive to operating condition, and she made her first test run in 2001, and she operated until the end of 2004. Jerry sold his interest in the Ohio Central Railroad, and moved his collection of vintage locomotives and rolling stock to the new Age of Steam Roundhouse constructed in 2011.
Jerry Joe Jacobson passed away on September 13, 2017. This model and promo video are dedicated to his efforts in keeping steam alive!
GTW/OHCR U3b Confederation set includes: (4) Locomotives, (2) Tenders, (1) Aux Tender, (1) Tool Car, (2) Baggage Cars and (7) Coaches
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