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F units and Santa, Shortline Style

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  • F units and Santa, Shortline Style

    Saturday 12/08/12, after spending the morning shooting the CN-IC Santa train, we began the trek West to Canton Illinois to begin part 2 of our Holiday train marathon. The Keokuk Junction Railway was running their annual Santa Special using a pair of F9's, a bi-level coach and a ex Southern Railway bay window caboose from the RR's headquarters in Mapleton, West to Smithfield Illinois. This would be my first time shooting this line, and being fond of short lines, I was looking forward to it.

    We caught up to the train at Canton Il, and spent the rest of the day following them as they made stops in several small towns along the way. The area they run in has been hard hit by the economy, and a lot of kids took advantage of the trip to visit with Santa and get the grand tour of the train. In true shortline fashion, the crew went the extra mile to make sure everyone left with a smile and a little Christmas spirit. We also enjoyed the hospitality, and it was nice to be around a bunch of "old school" railroaders that where proud of their line and profession. You simply cant buy good PR and goodwill like these trips produce!

    Here are a few samples of what I shot on the KJ. The whole set can be found at this link..a lot more than you see here!

    The Keokuk Junction Railway Santa Special Photo Gallery by E.M. & Carmon Bell at

    KJ 1750, a former Algoma Central F9, leads the train just West of Canton IL

    Rolling through rural Fulton County Illinois near Cuba.

    East end of "UE" siding near Cuba IL

    A "Standing Pan" as the train hustles out of Cuba IL just before dark.

    An Amish family stops to watch the train near Smithfield. Unplanned, unexpected, and one of my favorite shots of the day!

    The train sits on the mainline at Smithfield IL as the last of the days children visit with Santa back on the Caboose.

    The best seat in the house. Running around the train for a night time trip back East
    E.M. Bell, KD4JSL
    Salvisa, KY

  • #2
    Thanks for the pics, Used to live around there, miss it still!