Soo Line 1003

Soo Line 1003 is a class "L-1" 2-8-2 "Mikado" type steam locomotive built by the American Locomotive Company (ALCO) in March 1913 as a member of the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad ("Soo Line") L-1 class. It was retired from regular revenue service in 1954 and restored to operating condition on October 27, 1996. Today, it is occasionally operated on the major railroads of the American Upper Midwest.

Soo Line 1003
SOO 1003 in Slinger.jpg
Soo Line No. 1003 operating in Slinger, Wisconsin on November 2, 2019
Type and origin
Power typeSteam
BuilderSchenectady plant of American Locomotive Company (ALCO)
Serial number52826
Build dateMarch 1913
Rebuild dateOctober 1996
 • Whyte2-8-2
 • UIC1′D1′ h2
Gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Leading dia.33 in (838 mm)
Driver dia.63 in (1,600 mm)
Trailing dia.42 in (1,067 mm)
Loco weight290,000 lb (131,500 kg; 131.5 t)
Fuel typeCoal
Fuel capacity35,000 lb (15,900 kg; 15.9 t)
Water cap10,000 US gal (38,000 l; 8,300 imp gal)
Boiler pressure170 lbf/in2 (1.17 MPa)
CylindersTwo, outside
Cylinder size28 in × 30 in (711 mm × 762 mm)
Valve gearWalschaerts
Valve typePiston valves
Performance figures
Maximum speed50 mph (80 km/h)
Tractive effort53,947 lbf (239.97 kN)
Factor of adh.4.15
OperatorsMinneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad ("Soo Line")
Number in class3rd of 10
LocaleUnited States Upper Midwest
Retired1954 (revenue service)
RestoredOctober 27, 1996
Current ownerSteam Locomotive Heritage Association
DispositionOperational, based in Hartford Wisconsin at the Wisconsin Auto Museum


The locomotive was built in 1913 by the American Locomotive Company (ALCO). It was used by the Soo Line until retirement in 1954, when it went into serviceable storage in Gladstone, Michigan as part of the railroad's strategic reserve. In December 1959, the railroad donated the locomotive to the city of Superior, Wisconsin where it was put on public display. In the mid 1970s, Superior Shortline Steam Railroad Ltd. was organized to restore the locomotive to operations.

It made a few short runs in 1983 in Superior, WI before going back in for a major overhaul. The work slowed due to a lack of money and some notable errors (including ordering boiler flues that were three quarters of an inch too short). The locomotive was sold partially disassembled in 1994 to Wisconsin Railway Preservation Trust (WRPT), another organization whose goal was to return the locomotive to operations. WRPT raised $250,000 for the locomotive's restoration. It was originally hoped that the locomotive could be used for excursion trips on the weekend of October 5, 1996, but boiler tests showed the engine to not be ready in time.

No. 1003's first run after restoration under its own power occurred on October 27, 1996, when it steamed up the Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway's Proctor Hill. It performed a few more test runs before its first public excursion in 1997. In 1998 it ran the "triple-header" excursion with Northern Pacific 328 and Soo Line 2719.

Excursion serviceEdit

The locomotive made its final journey under its FRA-mandated 15-year boiler certificate on November 13, 2010. But shortly afterwards, the operators raised funds to have the engine overhauled and certified for another 15 years of operation. No. 1003 returned to service in September 2012, but flue problems delayed its first excursion run until November 2014.


  • Gilchinski, Steve (February 1997). "Soo Line 2-8-2 back in steam". Trains magazine. Vol. 57 no. 2. pp. 24–25.

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