Chicago, Burlington & Quincy #4978 is located at the Union Depot Railroad Museum at 683 Main Street, Mendota, IL. The museum is open Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from Noon until 4.00pm.
#4978 is the museum's only full sized piece of motive power and, although you can still get good photos from the perimeter fence, if you don't go into the museum, you won't be able to climb up into the locomotive cab. As we arrived early one morning on our way to catch a flight out of Chicago, the museum was closed, so we weren't able to see the cab.
The locomotive is coupled to CBQ Cupola Caboose #14451. The museum also has a number of passenger cars, motor cars, switch stands and crossing signals in the yard. Inside, there are various railroad related artefacts and a working HO scale railroad model of the Mendota yard in the 1930s.
#4978 was donated to the LaSalle County Historical Society in Utica, IL, in 1965 by the CB&Q. It is currently on loan to the museum and was moved to its current location on 16th November 1997.
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Below, an Illinois Historical Society marker just north of the 8th Street crossing provides some history of railroads in Mendota.
There's also plenty of action along the main line. Click here to
see a video of a
Mendota is Native American meaning "crossing of the trails". In 1853 the Illinois Central and Chicago & Aurora crossed here (the Chicago & Aurora became the CB&Q in 1858) and, as a major interchange, Mendota was soon a sizeable town: in 1870, thirty-nine passenger trains stopped there every day, twenty-five CB&Q and fourteen Illinois Central. In 1904 the Milwaukee Road was the third railroad to arrive.
The original depot built in 1888 was torn down in 1942 except for the north end, which now serves as an Amtrak waiting room and houses the museum.
#4978 is a Mikado type locomotive (2-8-2), one of sixty ordered by the CB&Q in 1923 (#4940-
#4999) from Baldwin at a cost of $55,296 each designated class O-1A.
They were based on the earlier O-1 class but with outside admission valves instead of inside, and tapered boilers in place of wagon tops.
#4978 weighs 316,780 lbs and has 27" x 30" cylinders and 64" drivers. The 325 sq ft radially stayed firebox includes 33 sq ft of arch tubes and 59 sq ft of combustion chamber. With an additional 769 sq ft superheating, its total heating surface was 4,178 sq ft.
The tender weighs 195,200 lbs light and has a capacity of 10,000 gallons of water and 19 tons of coal. #4978 was originally assigned to the CB&Q Galesburg division, which included Mendota, and was active as late as 1961. It was retired in 1965, when it was donated to the LaSalle County Historical Society. It is now on display with wood cupola caboose CBQ #14451, which was built in CB&Q's Aurora, IL, shops in 1911 at the cost of $1,582.72.
You can see CBQ O-1A #4963 on the Illinois Railway Museum Train Shed page of this website.