Chicago and North Western 175 was built in 1908 by the American Locomotive Company in Schenectady, New York. The locomotive hauled freight and passenger trains from rural Wisconsin to the iron-mining territory of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula on the Chicago and North Western Railroad until the early 1950’s. It is a relatively-late example of a 4-6-0 Ten-wheeler; the standard dual-purpose locomotive of the early 1900’s and used on light trains until the 1940’s. Between 1900 and 1950, a large share of the transportation in the upper Midwest was accomplished by locomotives like the 175.
The Chicago and North Western and related railroads had 395 4-6-0’s built to this general design by 2 builders between 1901 and 1910, but the 175 is one of the 40 most modern; being equipped with the Walschaerts valve gear instead of the more primitive design. With 63-inch driving wheels, these locomotives were known to exceed speeds of 60 miles per hour.
The 175 is the only C&NW locomotive in Michigan and was the last steam locomotive to operate on the railroad before its retirement in 1957. The locomotive was sold to private owners in 1960 and spent many years in storage near Calumet, Michigan. In 2017, the 175 was generously made available for purchase to the Steam Railroading Institute by Mineral Range Inc, operator of the Mineral Range Railroad in Ishpeming. After final agreements and purchase was conducted, the locomotive was moved to its new home in Owosso.
SRI has begun the restoration of the Chicago and North Western 175 to operating condition alongside the Pere Marquette 1225. Grants and gifts to finance the project are currently being sought. This will be the organization’s second locomotive restoration project, following 1225’s return to service.