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Wheels-a-Rolling – The Chicago Railroad Fair of 1948 & 1949

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As a part of the 1948 Chicago Railroad Fair, there was a twice-daily pageant based on the history of American transportation called Wheels-a-Rolling. Significant historic events were related with a railroad background. Hundreds of actors participated and many of these were steam powered!

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In 1948 and 1949, the railroad industry came together to produce the Chicago Railroad Fair. As a part of the Fair, there was a twice-daily pageant based on the history of American transportation. It was called Wheels-a-Rolling. Significant historic events were related with a railroad background. Hundreds of actors participated and many of these were steam powered! Whether actual or a reproduction of the original, many ancient locomotives paraded before the crowds. Stevenson’s “Rocket”, the “Best Friend of Charleston”, “John Bull”, the “Atlantic” and the “Pioneer” all were represented. “Tom Thumb”, “Lafayette”, the “DeWitt Clinton”, “William Mason” and the “Minnetonka” performed. The fastest steam engine, New York Central’s No. 999, the Lincoln Funeral Train, the Burlington’s “Pioneer Zephyr” and then “modern” diesels also participated.

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