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Location  Michigan
The Grand Trunk Western's flagship all purpose steam locomotives were the 'U3b' class 4-8-4 'Northern's, better known as 'Confederations'.
Twenty-five of these iron horses were built in 1942 during the 2nd world war, numbered from 6312 to 6336.
They were ideally powerful locomotives to haul crack passenger trains at 90 mph, especially when pulling hotshot freight trains consisting of eighty cars at actually 70 mph.
Four wheeled trailing trucks, eight 73 inch driving wheels, a Walschaerts valve gear, and a boiler pressure of 250 psi created these extremely favorable iron horses with their crews.
They were equipped with roller bearings on all wheel axles except for the driver axles, Boxpok driving wheels, Nicholson thermic syphons and also an Elesco exhaust steam injector.
Until the end of the steam era, the 'U3b's were known to exceed at speeds about 250,000 miles between heavy repairs while being used by the Grand Trunk Western.
Today only two out of twenty-five 'U3b' Confederations built for the GTW survive; no. 6323 and no. 6325.

The 6323 currently lives on display at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, Illinois.
This locomotive holds the distinction as the last steam engine to be used in mainline passenger service in the United States.
Before it was purchased by the Illinois Railway Museum, the 6323 made its last run under the ownership of the Grand Trunk Western on the 20th of Sept. 1961.

The 6323's sister locomotive; #6325 is also on current display at the Age of Steam Roundhouse in Sugarcreek, Ohio.
Before this happened, the 6325 was tasked with hauling the President Harry Truman's campaign train across Michigan on the GTW rails in 1948.
Retired in 1959, the locomotive was saved from scrap because of its historic significance had thrusted the engine as a donation to the city of Battle Creek, Michigan.
Twenty-six years later, an restoration effort was created to get the 6325 into operating condition again, but seven years later, the Grand Trunk Western and Canadian National
required the 'Confederation' locomotive to moved, in stepped an man who had the liberty to restore the engine; Jerry Joe Jacobson.
Having bought the 6325 for a thousand hundred dollars in 1993, Jerry had the steamer and tender taken to the Ohio Central steam shops in Morgan Run, Ohio.
From there, Jerry's crew focused their minds on restoring the 'Confederation' into operating condition, until the 6325 made its first test run in 2001.
However it's excursion career was short-lived three years when Jerry lost and sold his interest in the Ohio Central Railroad, moving his entire collection
of vintage locomotives and rolling stock to the new Age of Steam Roundhouse constructed in 2011.

On Sept. 13, two years ago, Jerry Joe Jacobson died.
And the 6323 of the Grand Trunk Western and its history are dedicated to his efforts of keeping steam locomotives alive.

Photograph (c) collection 
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