Last night in my final class of Transportation Management my teacher pointed out the wallpaper photo on the computer we used to give slideshow presentations. The train is notable because of its nickname, “Little Joe.”
The amazing Illinois Railway Museum in Union, Illinois, has a Little Joe the Chicago, South Shore & South Bend converted to Standard Gauge (4 feet, 8.5 inches). The unit is operational.
Long story short: General Electric (GE) built twenty electric locomotives to fulfill an order the Soviet Union made in 1946. The Cold War “happened” and GE couldn’t ship them out. The engines were built for a 5-foot gauge track. Two American railroads (Milwaukee Road and South Shore) and a Brasilian railroadÂ bought up the stock.
Little Joe is named after Joseph Stalin, Generalissimo of the Soviet Union at the time.
The Wikipedia entry on the Little Joe locomotive doesn’t mention the relationship, but High Iron Illustrations, an aviation and railfan art store, confirms my teacher’s story. The Illinois Railway Museum has more on its history, after the jump. Continue reading