About the Train
The “4-spot” Steam Locomotive was built in 1916 by the Vulcan Iron Works in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. It was purchased September 22, 1926, and was brought to Laona for use in the logging industry. The steam engine pulls two all-steel passenger coach cars, an open-air observation car and three cabooses.
The “4-spot” is the only “PRAIRIE” style steam locomotive operating in the World. The “PRAIRIE” style steam locomotive is a classification based on wheel arrangement. The PRAIRIE style is a 2-6-2, which means there are 2 leading wheels, 6 coupled driving wheels, and 2 trailing wheels. The first American Prairie type was built in 1900 by Brook for the Chicago Burlington & Quincy Railroad for use in the Mid-West prairies (hence the name). Baldwin also made a number of these engines which were used by the Aitchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe Railroad and also by the Burlington Railroad. A majority of American 2-6-2 Prairie type were tender locomotives.
The American Car and Foundry Company built the coach named the “Hamilton Roddis”, in 1923 for the Soo Line. Barney and Smith built the coach named the “Otter Creek” in 1911 also for the Soo Line. It was rebuilt in 1941. The cabooses have unique cupolas and offer a treetop view of the passing forest. The Camp 7 caboose is an 18 passenger cupola style caboose. It was originally the Duluth, Mesabi, & Iron Range caboose #589. The Camp 5 caboose was Soo Line’s Caboose No. 147.
In 2008 the Lumberjack Steam Train added a new feature; an old boxcar originally built by Haskel and Barker in July 1920 and part of the Laona & Northern Railway, has been carefully converted into an open-air observation car.
Laona Soo Line Depot
Visitors board the Lumberjack Steam train at the 1880’s Soo Line Depot, located 1/4 mile West of the junction of Highways 8 & 32 on Highway 8. Inside the depot, tickets can be purchased for the train ride, just as people did at the turn of the century.
The depot has an old fashioned railway clock, roll top desk, early typewriter, and barrel stove. It also has an unusual elm bow, used by passing train conductors to catch dispatches from a depot agent.
Today, a ticket on the Lumberjack Steam Train takes you out to the site of an Old Logging Camp. Lumberjacks numbered their Camps, and this site was the site of Camp 5. Later it became the site of the Lumber Company Farm. Today when you arrive, you find some of the old buildings which were a part of the Lumber Company Farm. There is the old Hog Barn which is now the Petting Corral, the Blacksmith Shop which is now a part of the Museum, and the Old Slaughter House. In the distance is the old Boarding House and several original barns, as well as the “Woods Boss’s House”.
Your ticket is all-inclusive and includes the Round-trip Ride on the Lumberjack Steam Train and admission into the Logging Camp Complex of historic and natural attractions, including the Logging Museum and Blacksmith Shop, Green Treasure Forest Tour, Animal Barn and Corral, the Nature Center, Cracker Barrel Store and Choo Choo Hut Restaurant.