There are only about 150 operating steam locomotives in North America, and one of them is returning to service on the North Shore Scenic Railroad in Duluth.

After a year’s work rebuilding the Duluth & Northeastern’s No. 28’s pony truck and bearings, timing the piston valves and painting it in its original DM&IR No. 332 livery and number, the engine will be back on the rails pulling tourist trains to Two Harbors from downtown Duluth.

On June 25, the Federal Railroad Administration inspectors approved the operation of the No. 332 following a stringent review of her boiler and operating equipment, according to a news release from the North Shore Scenic Railroad. All the engine’s safety features were thoroughly tested under live steam and passed.

The No. 332 was built in 1906 by ALCO and is a 2-8-0 “Consolidation”-type locomotive. It was purchased by the Duluth, Missabe & Northern RR, a DM&IR predecessor. Sold to the DN&E in Cloquet in 1955 and renumbered their No. 28, the engine ran until the late 1960s.

It holds the significance of being the last steam locomotive to operate in regular freight service in Minnesota and one of the last in the country. It was donated to the museum in 1974 and restored by the museum’s steam crew and volunteers to operating condition.

Steam train schedule

Two Harbors dates

  • July 12, 13 and 14
  • Aug. 9, 10, 11, 23, 24, 25, 30 and 31
  • Sept. 1, 7, 8, 13, 14 and 15

Duluth Zephyr dates

  • July 20 and 21: Festival of Steam featuring the display of the Union Pacific No. 4014 Big Boy and other events at the St. Louis County Heritage & Arts Center, the Depot in Duluth.

For more information and to reserve tickets, go to duluthtrains.com or call the North Shore Scenic Railroad in Duluth at 218-722-1273 or 800-423-1273.