Siouxland Historic Railroad District National Train Day

Keith Vanderloo of Merrill, Iowa, walks past Great Northern steam locomotive No. 1355 on display during the National Train Day event May 10 at the Milwaukee Railroad Shops Historic District.

Jim Lee, Sioux City Journal

SIOUX CITY | The iron horse that helped construct a modern America has had a home in Sioux City for nearly a century.

The Milwaukee Railroad complex, constructed in 1917 at 3400 Sioux River Road, first served as a repair and maintenance terminal for steam locomotives, passenger cars and cabooses on the Milwaukee Railroad line.

Now, the yard is a museum and testament to an earlier time in American history. The Milwaukee Railroad Shops Historic District houses the Great Northern steam locomotive No. 1355, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Milwaukee Railroad Shops Historic District itself is now vying for a position on the coveted register. The district claims to be one of only seven in the country that are left in such an excellent condition. 

The district, which attracted just under 50,000 visitors in 2013, has completed several projects in recent years.

In 2010, the district completed a blacksmith and machine shop. This exhibit allows visitors to investigate the inner workings of an operational steam engine and an ammonia compressor that were salvaged from an old Sioux City pork packaging plant.

More projects in the works include the renovation and expansion of buildings that will be used to feature a car repair shop, a sand-drying house and an engineer’s tool shed.

A small loop of 15-inch gauge operating railroad also is being installed in the district. A replica gas-powered F7 locomotive and three attached passenger cars will be able to run on the rail.

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