The most famous locomotive of the Mid-Continent was built in March 1907 by the Schenectady Works of the American Locomotive Company. Between 1901 and 1908, 325 of these 82-ton class R-1 engines were built for the C&NW, making them the largest single class of locomotives that railroad ever owned. Designed for fast freight service, they also were used for secondary passenger trains and local switching from Upper Michigan to the Dakotas to suburban Chicago. The class R-1 locomotives, such as #1385, had a pivotal role in the development of C&NW steam motive power. When the R-1s were purchased, the railroad had to rebuild tracks, bridges, turntables, and engine houses to accommodate them. Over the years, #1385 underwent many modifications and is preserved as it was retired in 1956. In 1961, Mid-Continent members scraped together $2600 to purchase the locomotive from C&NW. #1385 powered the museum trains during their first season at North Freedom in 1963. Since 1982, #1385 has visited many midwestern communities on good-will tours. In the summer of 1992, she operated on Wisconsin Central Ltd. and Wisconsin & Southern, pulling passenger excursions in Wausau and Milwaukee (Granville) and freight trains in Horicon. #1385 has been listed on the Wisconsin Register of Historic Places, and the National Register of Historic Places. #1385 is the only operable C&NW steam locomotive today, and one of only eight C&NW locomotives that have been preserved. On July 1, 1998, #1385 came out of service for major boiler repairs and is currently in the museums shop awaiting a new firebox.
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