GTW 4-8-4 6323

4 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    December 2006
  • From: Trieste, Italy
  • 258 posts
GTW 4-8-4 6323
Posted by GN_Fan on Friday, September 30, 2022 3:45 AM
I’m not sure if this is the correct forum, but I’ll give it a shot.  Back on Aug 6, 1961, the GTW ran a fan trip out of Chicago to I think, Battle Creek behind 4-8-4 # 6323.  IIRC, there were several CBQ fan trips that weekend and the GTW trip was a semi-bust as we went back to Chicago coupled to the Maple Leaf, rather than the planned RT.  The loco’s whistle was the most horrible whistle I’ve ever heard, kind of like a very horse gurgle under water.  It also had a mechanical on/off as there was zero quilling or lead-in/trail off. 
Does anyone know if this was the only GTW fan trip ever?  What was the disposition of 6323?  Love to know.
Alea Iacta Est -- The Die Is Cast
  • Member since
    November 2008
  • 1,851 posts
Posted by Leo_Ames on Friday, September 30, 2022 8:47 AM

I know that GTW ran a lot of fan trips behind several steamers. While I don't have a listing available, just typing in 6323 into the Trains Magazine DVD archive program reveals some of what was going on. Not every trip behind her noted a mention (or at least they didn't include her number which was my search term, and thus didn't show up in the search results), including yours.

The 6322 ran one on August 7th 1960 from Chicago to South Bend.

On August 20th the 6323 ran a chartered picnic special for Ford from Detroit to Port Huron (Not a fan trip, but I'm including it to show how GTW wasn't shy at running steam excursions in the early 60's while they still had serviceable steamers; the 6323 also starred in a Ford commercial at the time).

The 6323 ran another on October 8th 1960 on a Detroit - Durand excursion.

Then on April 23rd of 1961, there was a farewell trip for the 6322 from Detroit (Brush Street Station) via Durand to Port Huron and return. 6323 was her assigned backup and it appears she ended up being used.

On May 7th, she ran a trip for the Michigan Railroad Club from Detroit to Battle Creek.

On May 20th, the 6323 ran a special from Detroit to Durand to dedicate 4-6-2 #5632 which was put on display there. GTW also displayed the 5043, 2683, 6319, and 4070.

Then on June 4th, the 6323 ran a fan trip era on GTW with a round trip excursion from Detroit to Muskegon. 

And on July 29th, she was leased to run a Grand Rapids to Jackson round trip for the New York Central, organized by the Michigan Steam Engine & Thresher's Association at Charlton Park.

Lastly, the June 1961 issue of Trains reports that the 6323, the "Grand Trunk Western's last steam engine, will be serviceable until September 21. Some trips have already been run and at least one more, for the NRHS Chicago convention, is scheduled".

That last trip ran on September 2nd and was a round trip to South Bend. But the story wasn't quite finished yet, with GTW putting the 6323 on #21, the regularly scheduled trip from Detroit to Durand, on September 20th to close out the steam era on GTW.

The 6323 was preserved and today is on display at the Illinois Railway Museum. 6322, also the star of several fan trips, was scrapped in the Fall of 1961. The static displays at Durand that I mentioned on a May 20th trip were all scrapped except for 2-8-2 #4070, preserved today in Cleveland Ohio (And has ran in the preservation era).

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • 2,571 posts
Posted by kgbw49 on Friday, September 30, 2022 6:54 PM

Don't forget 6325 at the Age of Steam Roundhouse in Ohio.

  • Member since
    November 2008
  • 1,851 posts
Posted by Leo_Ames on Friday, September 30, 2022 7:20 PM

Given her slightly early retirement in 1959 (regular GTW steam operations continued until the end of March 1960), I'm not sure she ever ran a fan trip until her brief resurrection back around 2000 (bearing problems sidelined her a few short years later).

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • 2,571 posts
Posted by kgbw49 on Friday, September 30, 2022 8:15 PM

Roger that. Just an opinion but I always thought GTW had steam power that just looked like a steam locomotive should look. Those vestibule-cabbed Pacifics were unique for US Pacifics.

I bet the crews really appreciated them on winter nights as they hurtled across Michigan with theit whistles carried on the north wind at every grade crossing.

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Search the Community

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy