The biggest steam event of 1990 took place in June when four of the nation’s largest steam locomotives met at Union Station in St. Louis, Missouri for the NRHS convention. On hand were Cotton Belt 819, Frisco 1522, Norfolk & Western 1218, and Union Pacific 844. Pentrex fielded six camera crews to capture all the exciting events this gathering produced. We’ll bring you coverage of the locomotives on their way to St. Louis, the convention excursions, and the doubleheader starring UP 844 and Frisco 1522 as they depart for home. Get ready for a two-hour steam bonanza!
We start our coverage with Frisco 1522 being readied. Then we pick up the 844 in Kansas City and follow her along the Sedalia Sub through the hills of Missouri. Next we track N&W 1218, pulling the Independence Limited, from Mt. Vernon, Illinois to St. Louis. We begin our record of the Cotton Belt 819’s inbound journey as she crosses the Mississippi over Thebes Bridge in southern Illinois.
The initial excursion sees UP 844 pulling her train to Findlay Junction and return over UP’s Pana Sub. We’re not only trackside but we take you aboard the train for a different perspective. Frisco 1522 steps up next with the first trip on its home rails in 39 years. The trek to Newburg, Missouri, and return is a rollercoaster ride over several steep grades. The last excursion, featuring Cotton Belt 819 billowing black smoke, is a one-way trip from the East St. Louis to Illmo. The final treat occurs at the close of the convention, when UP 844 and Frisco 1522 doublehead from Ewing Yard to the National Museum of Transportation at Kirkwood. You’ll see it all: four powerful locomotives steaming across beautiful countryside and over scenic bridges; captured up close, from interesting vantage points, and in great pacing sequences; multiple historic journeys taking place in the heartland of America. This is St. Louis Steam Celebration!