In an online vote last fall and winter, rail enthusiasts chose the Little Rock Express for this year’s steam engine excursion over routes in Iowa and Illinois, Utah and Idaho, and Texas and Louisiana.
KANSAS CITY: Deck work No, 844 left its base in Cheyenne, Wyo., on Friday, stopping for the night in North Platte, Neb. On Saturday, it goes to Marysville, Kan., and on Sunday it arrives at Union Station in Kansas City. It’s scheduled to arrive at 1 p.m., but those who want to see or shoot pictures of it pulling in should note that the train often runs a little ahead of schedule. Last fall, another historic UP steam engine arrived a few minutes early at Union Station. The train will be on display the rest of the day that Sunday and Memorial Day.
BUCKNER: The Little Rock Express officially starts at 8 a.m. Tuesday, when No.844 leaves Union Station, heading east and passing through northern Independence, along the north edge of Lake City, then Buckner. The Buckner whistlestop is from 9:15 to 9:30 a.m. The train then heads east again, passing through Levasy, and makes whistlestops in Lexington, Grand Pass, Malta Bend, Blackwater and Boonville before stopping for the night in Jefferson City. (It’s on display 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday in Jefferson City.) And so it goes, with whistlestops all the way to St. Louis, over into Illinois for a few stops, then south to Cape Girardeau, then arrives at the end of the excursion on June 8 in North Little Rock, Ark.
KANSAS CITY: Although the Little Rock Express itself will be over, No. 844 still has to get home to Cheyenne. It chugs home by a different route, leaving North Little Rock on June 10. On June 12, it leaves Coffeyville, Kan., and arrives at Union Station at 12:55 p.m. and sits the rest of the day. It leaves at 8 a.m. June 13, stops for a few days in the Omaha area and arrives back in Cheyenne on July 3.
Why the visit?
In an online vote last fall and winter, rail enthusiasts chose the Little Rock Express for this year’s excursion over routes in Iowa and Illinois, Utah and Idaho, and Texas and Louisiana. The voting between the Little Rock Express and the Tuscola Turn in Iowa and Illinois was close, with Little Rock steaming ahead at the last minute and winning by a little more than 3,000 votes out of more than 178,000 cast. Many communities along the proposed routes had get-out-the-vote efforts.