Union Pacific steam locomotive to be on display Sunday in Cape

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The sounds of whistles, horns and chugging wheels will fill the air Saturday afternoon as Union Pacific Railroad's steam locomotive No. 844 rolls into town.

Cape Girardeau is one of several stops the locomotive will make on The Little Rock Express, a tour starting in Kansas City, Mo., en route to North Little Rock, Ark., as part of Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure -- You Route the Steam contest.

The locomotive will arrive in Cape Girardeau at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at 500 Aquamsi St. It will be on display from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. People will be able to climb steps and peek into the cab of the locomotive. They can board a concession car to look at souvenirs. The train will depart at 8 a.m. Monday.

Dana Gordon, director of public relations and marketing for the Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitors Bureau, said people can come downtown to watch the train arrive and leave "from a safe distance."

On Sunday four shuttle buses will transport individuals to the location, which will be blocked off from other traffic. The buses will be running from Southeast Missouri State University's River Campus parking lot and Hutson's Fine Furniture. She said people should only have to wait about five minutes for the shuttle.

Cape Girardeau Mayor Harry Rediger will give a welcome speech at 1 p.m. in front of the train.

Union Pacific spokesman Mark Davis said several passenger cars will be traveling along with the locomotive engine, including a dome coach called Challenger, regular coach called Katy Flyer and a business car dubbed Feather River.

The Little Rock Express was one of four proposed routes in the Union Pacific contest. Votes were cast on a website to determine which route the train would go on. It received 76,217 of the 178,675 online votes.

Chuck Martin, executive director of the Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitors Bureau, was one of those who received an invitation to ride from Cape Girardeau to Poplar Bluff, Mo. He said around 40 people will ride the four-and-a-half-hour trip and take a bus back to Cape Girardeau after stopping in Poplar Bluff.

Martin said he was fascinated with trains growing up and that he is excited to see a working steam locomotive.

"It's a tremendous honor," he said. "I'm very excited about that opportunity."

Gordon said it will be an enjoyable outing for all ages.

"There's so much history behind the steam locomotive," she said. "I truly think that everyone can enjoy this."

The locomotive will continue to make stops in Dexter, Mo., Poplar Bluff, Walnut Ridge, Ark., Bald Knob, Ark., and arrive in North Little Rock on June 8.

rrolwing@semissourian.com

388-3654

Pertinent address:

500 Aquamsi St., Cape Girardeau, MO

Dexter, MO

Poplar Bluff, MO

Walnut Ridge, AR

Bald Knob, AR

North Little Rock, AR

Map of pertinent addresses

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