September 14, 2017

Train Enthusiasts visit Locomotive 451

By Edna Sailor
Part one of a two part story
Sitting in the parking lot of the New Town Civic Center, the Soo Line Locomotive No. 451 probably hasn’t seen this much attention since it was installed in its place of honor at the end of Main Street in New Town and later dedicated there in May of 1960.
Approximately forty people from nine states and a few towns in North Dakota hopped a bus and made their way to New Town to see and examine 451 for themselves. In addition to the train, the New Town Library staff displayed an impressive array of memorabilia about Locomotive 451 and the advent of the Soo Line service to New Town in general. A small collection of books about trains was also available. Mayor Dan Uran and Warren Bratvold were on hand to welcome the visitors.
It did not take long for the enthusiasts to make it to the train for plenty of photos. Some focused on particular equipment while others went for the long shot.
Visitors traveled from Wisconsin, Illinois, Idaho, Maryland and Minnesota, Colorado, Indiana and some Canadian Provinces among others. North Dakotans also joined the group. The visitors commented on the great North Dakota hospitality.
The tour to New Town originated from a Soo Line Historical & Technical Convention held in Minot this past week. It was the group’s 39th Annual National Convention in Minot.
One special day was set aside to visit United Quality Coop and Engine 451 in New Town.
If you are wondering why people get excited about Soo Line trains, there are probably as many reasons as people. Several took time to share their passions.
Don Mahoney is no stranger to our area. He grew up in Parshall and his interest started there. He worked as a Soo Line Section Foreman and a telegrapher at the depot in Plaza. His career spans 90 years with Soo Line. He currently resides in Madison, Wisc. His brother is also a retired agent from the Soo Line days in both Wabek and Sanish, but makes his home in Douglas now.

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