Milwaukee Road Mississippi River Color Train
Winona, Minnesota to La Crosse, Wi
Steam Locomotive #261 leads the Milwaukee Road's annual Great River Road Color Train
With stops at LaCrescent, Winona and St. Paul Minnesota
Milwaukee Road 261
The Milwaukee Road offers a number of scenic train rides, including the Great River Road Color Train, which traditionally runs the first weekend in October. In 2007 we caught up with her in Winona, Minnesota and chased her along Minnesota's River Road to LaCrescent, MN.
The star of the train is Steam Locomotive #261, a gigantic powerhouse built in 1944 by the American Locomotive Company (ALCO) and delivered to the Milwaukee Road Railway in July 1944. She is an S3 style locomotive with a 4-8-4 wheel arrangement. The S3 was the zenith in steam engine technology. The 14 car train was made up of a number of classic train cars - including the Hiawatha Skytop Lounge car and the historic Super Dome #53 Observation car.
The route runs from St. Paul, Minnesota through Red Wing, Winona, and LaCrescent, Minnesota. Two fall color rides are available: St. Paul to Winona and back and Winona to LaCrescent and back. Travelers coming from St. Paul have a two hour layover in Winona while the train make the second leg to LaCrescent and back. The color train ride is repeated on Sunday.
People greet the arrival of Milwaukee Road #261 in Winona from St. Paul, Minnesota. Those passengers who have not also bought a ticket for the LaCrescent leg will get off here and tour Winona for two hours and then re-board the train on the return trip.
Passengers with First Class tickets ride in either the Super Dome car or the Skytop Lounge car. Food and beverages are included with the ticket. Get more info on tickets and prices here.
Like Steam Locomotives? Here's another Scenic Fall Color Train Ride (along Lake Superior) - Steam Locomotive #2719, from Duluth to Two Harbors.