In 1960, Illinois Central 2613, a Mountain type engine with 4-8-2 wheel arrangement, became the last steamer to operate on the railroad, ending a 190 year tradition. Western Kentucky, with its many coal mines, were among the last places in the U.S. to depend on steam locomotives. The 2613 was one of 20 of its type built in the Paducah Shops in 1942, and was used for both freight and passenger service. Here it is pictured at Paducah's Union Station, so called because it served both Illinois Central and Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway passenger trains. Located near Caldwell Street, the station was for years the place to begin or end a journey or meet family and friends. The last passenger train called there in 1957.
Sponsored by Col. Wm. J. Ryan and Mrs. Bart Sullivan in Memory of Mr. & Mrs. Patrick H. Ryan
The Illinois Central Railroad Shops, located on Kentucky Avenue in Paducah, were built in 1927 for $6,000,000. At the peak, 1,447 workers were employed as this was one of the world's largest steam locomotive repair shop. In the late 1950's, the shops were converted to diesel re-manufacturing and repair, and in 1986 they were sold to a private investor. The name changed to VMV. Doing business with the U.S. and foreign railroads, VMV has made Paducahbuilt a byword in the industry. The General Purpose or "Geep" diesel locomotive shown is typical of the type used by Illinois Central and its Kentucky successor, Paducah & Louisville Railway, Inc. Their economy of operations caused the demise of the powerful, but costly, steam engines such as the 2613.
Sponsored by VMV Enterprises, Inc. and Paducah & Louisville Railway, Inc.
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