Railroad Shop in Silvis Purchased with Purpose to Make It America’s Largest Steam Locomotive Museum | Local News

Steam locomotion, the specialty of the RHMA, was phased out in the mid-1900s as the country switched to diesel engines.

In 2020, the Mt. Vernon, Illinois-based railroad company announced it would close its Silvis plant to consolidate multiple production lines to its Mt. Vernon, Illinois, and Padcuah facilities, in Kentucky. A company spokesperson at the time said the decision was expected to affect 40 to 50 workers at the Silvis plant.

Then, of course, the RHMA joined us.

Sandberg said next year the nonprofit’s management plans to clean up the site and assess its needs, such as installing new windows or demolishing old, dilapidated small buildings. He said there was no timetable yet on when he hoped to open to the public. The nonprofit receives funding from donations, grants and tickets for train rides, and Sandberg said much of its timing will depend on finances.

“We would really like to encourage people in the Quad-Cities area to donate if you are interested in supporting the restoration and saving this facility to go to our website,” Sandberg said.

The Silvis complex includes a wheelhouse, a warehouse and several overhead cranes powerful enough to lift steam locomotive engines and passenger cars.

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