Great Northern #1355
An American Treasure
Great Northern 1355 is a Class H-5, 4-6-2 Pacific style steam locomotive. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as nationally significant for its mechanical and technological attributes. GN1355 is listed as a Save Americas Treasure official project by the White House, National Parks Service and National Trust for Historic Preservation. This locomotive gains its significance as the sole surviving member of a class of fifty-two steam locomotives that were rebuilt with the new state of the art steam technologies of the time.
Working Life of GN1355
GN1355 was originally built in 1909 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works as a ten-wheel Class E-14 passenger locomotive #1020. In 1924, the Great Northern Railway rebuilt the locomotive in the twelve-wheel arrangement, Class H-5 Pacific style passenger locomotive with the following new steam-era technological advancements: Belpaire boiler, superheated steam, and other new steam appliances. Originally renumbered #1494 after the rebuild it was renumbered for a final time on 10 April 1926 to #1355. The engine’s operating career spanned over forty-five years in the Pacific Northwest, the Iron Range of Minnesota and the branch lines of Northwest Iowa and Minnesota.
Retirement of GN1355
GN1355 was retired from service and was placed on exhibition July 14, 1955, in Sioux City, Iowa. The gift from the Great Northern Railway Company was a token of thanks to the cities support of the railroad. This singular event not only gave Sioux City a beautiful locomotive but, also gave GN1355 a new nickname. In the news report describing the arrival and presentation of the GN1355, the Sioux City Journal introduced the locomotive to its readers as “Old Chief Ironhorse”. While this has never been an official name for GN1355 the nickname took to the hearts of this community and it has stuck with us since that day.
Today, Ironhorse has completed over a decade of intensive cosmetic restoration work. Working from old photographs, research of other steam locomotives, and input from retired engineers and firemen we have achieved the most historically accurate restoration possible. We have received compliments from former steam locomotive trainmen about its cleanliness, and accuracy. The locomotive and tender are repainted to its 1920’s and 30’s passenger paint scheme, known as the Great Northern Glacier Park paint scheme. The GN1355 is a stunning example of the romance and beauty of the heyday of passenger trains.