News & Current Events

This page shows interesting railroad happenings as well as breaking railroad news.  Check it often as you may learn the location or schedule of some interesting equipment in time to go out and get some great photographs! If you do go photo 'fanning, please share your pictures with and contact News Page Webmaster Wally Weart.

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Union Pacific OCS on the Joint Line

Tim was able to catch the OCS at Larkspur curve ©2023  TimTonge and Greenland ©2023 TimTonge
and Greenland ©2023 TimTonge and Monument ©2023 TimTonge
©2023 TimTonge  
Bob Thiele caught this UP OCS south on the Joint Line. Note the train northbound main.©2023 Bob Thiele Editor's note: The UP can still field a handsome train.

Heritage locomotives visit Denver

Union Pacific 1988, Katy Heritage SD70ACe, was one of 7-unit lashup on an empty auto unit train from Rolla, CO, to Laredo, Texas, March 19, 2023. The other Heritage unit was UP 1989 Rio Grande. ©2023 Chip UP 1989 Rio Grande Heritage unit with UP 1989 Katy unit up front were on the empty auto train headed for Laredo, TX, by way of Cheyenne, WY, and North Platte, NE, March 19, 2023. UP Greeley Subdivision. ©2023 Chip

Long Train Delays at Crossings Gets Supreme Court Attention
(Courtesy Transport Topics Magazine Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC)

The U.S. Supreme Court has invited the federal government to weigh in on whether state and local governments can regulate how long trains can block railroad crossings..

The invitation means the high court might eventually give a full hearing to the appeal of a lower court ruling that invalidated Ohio’s blocked crossing law. There’s no guarantee the court will grant the appeal, but the March 20 court order keeps the door open for now.

The high court refused to hear a similar case last year in which Oklahoma argued that lower courts were split over which federal agency has authority over blocked crossings and asked the justices for clarification.

Stay Tuned!

The UP's rotary on the move

Sunset March 13, 2023 found Union Pacific’s rotary 900082 at Rawlins, Wyoming. Deep wind blown snow has hampered operations west of Rawlins in early March. Rotary departed Cheyenne, WY, March 12th for Rawlins. Unit behind the rotary was recently rebuilt UP 6500 now model C44ACM. ©2023 Chip Union Pacific rotary snowplow 900082 was built in 1971 at the UP’s Omaha Shops (closed in 1988). Rotary reflected in water as a brief thaw was experienced at Rawlins, Wyoming, March 13, 2023. Meanwhile, UP forces and subcontractors were struggling west of Rawlins to free a snow trapped bare table train at Riner, WY, on main track 2. ©2023 Chip

UP 900082 rotary awaited the call at Rawlins, WY, March 13, 2023. ©2023 Chip  

From the Archives: The Rio Grande Zephyr 's last run.

DRGW 5771 leads the final westbound train #17, the Rio Grande Zephyr, on Apr 23, 1983.  Being the last privately run train in America, the event made national news, and thus the news helicopter, chasing the train.  ©2023 Tim Tonge

The going away shot is of Silver Sky, the dome obs, and a railfan hanging out the vestibule.  ©2023 Tim Tonge

Action on the Joint Line

BNSF 4661 leads a northbound merchandise train at Pinon, CO, on Feb 20, 2023 ©2023 Tim Tonge BNSF 4068 leads northbound merchandise H-SLADEN at Castle Rock, CO, on Feb 20, 2023  ©2023 Tim Tonge

MOW equipment on the move

Denver & Rio Grande Western lettered AX-41 Jordan spreader was removed from Granby, CO, by UP 3041, SD70AH-T4 Tier 4 unit on March 4th. Train was held at Rollinsville, CO, for Amtrak’s Winter Park Express and on time westbound California Zephyr on March 5, 2023. The Jordan spreader was needed at Rawlins, WY, for snow removal duty. ©2023 Chip

A visitor from south of the border

The KCS unit trails on shove move at Ft. Carson. Note the base red engines the background. ©2023 Ben Helsel

Kansas City Southern KCSM 4859 Safety Starts Here unit was at Union Pacific’s North Yard fuel track March 1, 2023. The Kansas City Southern Railway's newest special paint scheme is for their "Safety Starts Here” initiative was unveiled in March 2020. . The engine fireman's side is labeled KCSM and the compass emblem is in Spanish, the engineer's side reads in English and features the standard KCS octagon. ©2023 Chip

KCSM 4859 was at UP's North Yard, Denver, CO, March 1, 2023. The Safety Starts Here unit has made several trips to Grand Junction, CO, and one trip to Pueblo, CO. ©2023 Chip


A Canadian visitor

BNSF train had Canadian Pacific 8165, AC4400CWM, on the point of an Utah unit oil can train that had a train symbol from Grand Junction, CO, to Kansas City, Missouri. Trains’ power; BNSF 8788 and KCS 4008 Belle painted power up front. Three BNSF units were on the rear of the 91-car loaded oil can train at Rollinsville, CO, on UP’s Moffat Tunnel Subdivision. February 26, 2023. ©2023 Chip

Another steam era disappears

Union Pacific demolished the long out of service water tank at Speer, Wyoming, on February 21, 2023. UP’s Big Boy 4014 was undergoing testing and stopped at Speer on September 20, 2019. UP’s Laramie Subdivision. ©2019-2023 Chip

The real story about the railroad braking system
(Courtesy Railway Age Magazine)

Click here to read an article explains how the air brake system works and refute all the "comments" about "Civil War braking" that the "news" media included in their "factual reporting".

A KCS visitor

KCS ES44AC 4859 Pueblo Co 02-24-2023. Middle unit on todays M NYPU led by UP C44ACM 6265. Rock and Rail cars on left. © 2023 Ben Helsel

Joint Line Action

On Mon, Feb 20, 2023 at 3:39 PM H-SLADEN departing Crews at 15:35. © 2023 Tim Tonge
BNSF 4661 leads a northbound merchandise train at Pinon, CO, on Feb 20, 2023. © 2023 Tim Tonge

On the Denver & Rock Island

Shops on Franklin street © 2023 Denny Leonard  At Franklin Street shop. © 2023 Denny Leonard
 Train along Franklin Street. © 2023 Denny Leonard

Fly by rail

Northbound BNSF 5410 had four new Spirit Aerosystems built fuselages headed to Boeing at Interbay, Washington. Train came north on the Joint Line and stopped at Oxford Street in Sheridan, CO, February 16, 2023. © 2023 Chip

1309 on a photo freight

Clinton  Webb, a member the Denver HO Model RR Club, attended a Photo Freight charter on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad. The C&O 1309 was, off course, the featured attraction . Clinton was kind enough to share these pictures with the Club and Rocky Mountain RR Club. as well  Both  photos ©2023 Clinton Webb
©2023 Clinton Webb Helmstetter's Curve remains one of the most favored and photographed sites along the Western Maryland Railway ©2023 Clinton Webb
©2023 Clinton Webb

Rocky Mountain motors on the move

Rocky Mountaineer locomotives RMRX 8021 & 8020 ran light power (no passenger cars) from Union Pacific’s 36th Street Yard, Denver, CO, to Glenwood Springs, CO, on Monday, February 13, 2023. RMRX 8021 West passed stored Denver & Rio Grande Western lettered AX-45 Jordan spreader at Granby, CO, on UP’s Moffat Tunnel Subdivision. ©2023 Chip

Judge rules Denver’s RTD does not have to pay more than $100 million in fight over grade-crossing malfunctions
Ruling also turns down transit agency’s countersuit for damages, bid to end contract

February 13, 2023 Trains Newswire

DENVER — The Regional Transportation District does not have to pay builders of its commuter rail lines more than $100 million to cover costs related to grade-crossing problems, a Denver judge ruled Friday, while also turning down an RTD countersuit and effort to cancel its contract with those builders.

The construction consortium, Denver Transit Partners, had sought $111 million in costs related to crossing-gate malfunctions that forced the consortium to use flaggers for years on the commuter line to Denver International Airport, and delayed opening of a second line [see “Digest: Commuter rail builders seek $111 million (Trains News Wire, Aug. 26, 2020) RTD had countersued for $27 million.

Colorado Public Radio reports the system used new wireless technology mated with its positive train control system to control crossing gates, and it proved to be difficult to debug.
Denver District Judge Andrew McCallin said the failures of the system “appropriately rest” with the consortium. “This is a risk that DTP as the designer and builder of this system assumed when it entered into this public-private partnership,” he wrote in his 71-page decision. However, he also wrote, in determining that RTD could not void the ongoing contract, now that the system works, “it would be unfair to allow RTD to walk away from all of this.”

Both sides indicated they were reviewing the decision, but said it would not have an impact on operations.


Photos for Kansas

Quite a few Crab Orchard & Egyptian hoppers have been working grain trains on the UP. The COER purchased a bunch of former KCS hoppers made by American Railcar. There were a few on this grain train passing through Mingo, Kansas still carrying the KCS emblem. ©2023  Larry Dilts

On February 1, 2023, a MP grain hopper was loading at Frontier Ag in Mingo, Kansas. The car had some interesting graffiti on
 the side of the car. ©2023  Larry Dilts

On February 11, 2023, a westbound grain train passed through Mingo, Kansas with NS AC44C6M leading. The NS rebuilt the unit from a Dash 9-40C. The NS has painted several of these rebuilds in unique special paint schemes. Number 4004 was wearing one of three versions. Most of the rebuilds wear the more traditional paint scheme.. ©2023  Larry Dilts

Amtrak's OLI Commerative locomotive heads No. 5

AMTK 5 AMTK 203 Rio Grande memories flood my mind while I watch the Operation Lifesaver Amtrak motor swiftly gain altitude high in the Flatiron Range at Tunnel 3. Like a silver thread through the Rockies, not around them the yellow and black nose and all that stainless behind speak fluent Rio Grande Zephyr. ©2023 Erik Lindgren

Union Pacific’s ‘Sierra Snow Fighters’ Keep Service Running in California
by Union Pacific Corporate Communications

|When Union Pacific Railroad senior manager Mike Upton encounters a news crew from The Weather Channel in downtown Truckee, California, he knows it's all hands on deck in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range.
Upton, who manages track maintenance, and his fellow “Sierra Snow Fighters” are in charge of clearing the tracks and keeping the trains running in one of North America’s snowiest stretches of railroad track. ©2023 Erik Lindgren

Click here to read the full story and watch a video.

Military hardware on the move

Union Pacific SD70 ACe 8779 on home turf passes over the Kiowa Creek Bridge a structure with numerous alterations since it was constructed for the original Kansas & Pacific Extension the first transcontinental railroad more than 150 years originally contracted for the Chicago, Rock Island, & Pacific. A double intersection Warren Lattice steel truss built in the 1860s kept in service after a recent upgrade to the structure since 2019. In this frame SBTFC-01 with a full complement of military hardware is dashing on the K&P for Denver on the High Plains of Colorado after going on duty at Sharon Springs, KS at 0700 the 5th of February, 2023. A relief crew is called at Denver for 1345 for the trip south down the Colorado Joint Line to Fort Carson, CO. ©2023 Erik Lindgren
 ©2023 Erik Lindgren Union Pacific Beaumont, Texas, to Fort Carson, CO, unit military train South Denver Colorado, February 5, 2023. M1A2 Abrams tanks rolled down the Joint Line. © 2023 Chip

On the Joint Line

Tim caught this train on the Larkspur bridge.  This was the last southbound (126pm Larkspur) but 3 northbounds ran just ahead of sunset (with a 4th not too far behind) so didn’t come up empty. 
Also, work continues at 2nd and 3rd streets in Castle Rock to establish a quiet zone, most of the work appears done.  ©2023 Timothy Tonge

Action on the Moffat Sub, the Joint LIne and at Coors

Palmer Divide heavy snow and Joint Line action. 12/29/22  ©2023 Erik Lindgren Palmer Lake 12/29/22  ©2023 Erik Lindgren
Palmer Divide heavy snow and Joint Line action. 12/29/22  ©2023 Erik Lindgren  ©2023 Erik Lindgren
 ©2023 Erik Lindgren Coors Hops loading, Golden, Colorado 12/28/22  ©2023 Erik Lindgren

Action on the Kyle Railroad

Kyle Railroad 6843, SD40-2 ex-Burlington Northern, with Buffalo & Pittsburgh lettered 3333 stormed westward with the Goodland, KS, to Limon, Colorado, train on Saturday, February 4, 2023. In late January, one of their eastbound trains became stuck (January 26) in drifted snow west of Flagler, Colorado. ©2023 Chip Buffalo & Pittsburgh 3333, SD40­2 is now assigned to Genesee & Wyomiing owned Kyle RR. B & P 3333 was switching at Bethune, Colorado, February 4, 2023. Note trackmobile lettered Kelly Hill Company 93. ©2023 Chip

Switching in Golden

On February 2, the crew of the Golden Local is making up their train but they'll be delayed for a bit. The "Beer" train is holding ahead of them as a MOW crew is working near the small bridge along 44th St.  ©2023 Walter Weart I know the sign is hard to see but reads " Assigned Car, Do Not Reload, Penalties May apply". Are these assigned to Coors or one of the others industries which the BNSF serves?  ©2023 Walter Weart

OLI Amtrak locomotive on Number 6

Amtrak 188 the Operation Lifesaver locomotive leads towards Tunnel 1 on 2/1/23 ©2023 Erik Lindgren

Military hardware on the move

Denver RTD A Line commuter train to Denver International Airport ( DIA) crossed over UP westbound unit train Tuesday, 31 January  2023. ©2023 Chip

The Winter Park Express

Moffat Tunnel curfew today, Friday, January 27, 2023. Sounds like Amtrak closes and opens the line to rail traffic. Amtrak's Winter Park Express off to a good run. Amtrak California Zephyr on time-!  ©2023 Chip

Operation Lifesaver Amtrak locomotive visits Denver

Amtrak 203 50th Anniversary Operation Lifesaver unit was on train 5. The California Zephyr arrived only 4-minutes late at Denver Wednesday, Jan 25, 2023. Train at right is the Winter Park Express which operates Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays through March 2023. ©2023  Chip

A high wide load

UP crew change for Schnabel high/wide move west of Sidney, Nebraska, January 23, 2023. Train originated at Centralia, Washington, and was headed to Smithers Lake, Texas. The Schnabel car is loaded with a power generator. ©2023 Chip Farmers Elevator Company 7558 at Chappell, Nebraska, 23 January 2023. ©2023 Chip

Union Pacific 2578 East passed Potter, Nebraska, January 23, 2023 with high/wide generator from Centrailia, Washington, moving to Smithers Lake, Texas. The electrical power generator moved over the snow covered UP’s Sidney Subdivision. Train S CASLW-15. Generator was on KWUX 301 Schnabel car. ©2023 Chip

Action on the Front Range Sub

The first Winter Park Express train rounds the curve at the at Blue Mountain and downtown Denver is in the background. ©2023 James Nelson On the curve at Blue Mountain Road to catch the train again as he approached the Hot Box Detector at MP 22.6.   ©2023 James Nelson
I heard the Dispatcher tell an eastbound BNSF train he would meet the Winter Park Express at Tolland siding and the only other meet he would have would be with Amtrak #5. I found the train at Rocky siding where the dispatcher ran him through the siding to continue east to Leyden siding to meet Amtrak #5. This is a train load of crude oil from Utah. ©2023 James Nelson I decided to shoot Amtrak #5 at Plain siding. After meeting the BNSF train at Leyden he continued west up the hill to Plain siding. Not a bad morning to play with the new camera!  ©2023 James Nelson


Military hardware on the move

Recently refurbished UP 6463, AC44CWM, led the Beaumont, Texas, to Fort Carson, CO, train at Palmer Lake, CO, January 19, 2023.  Chip
Army Abrams tanks returned from Defender 2022 exercise in Europe. Union Pacific southbound train at Palmer Lake, CO, Jan 19, 2023. ©2023 Chip

RTD in the snow

This eastbound 10:19AM train approaching the Olde Town Arvada station. ©2023 Walter Weart

Flanger action on the D&S

Durango & Silverton flanger train plows thru snow banks at Shanola Crossing between Hermosa and Rockwood. January 4, 2023. Photograph by Jerry B. Day.

Durango & Silverton flanger train plows thru snow banks at Shanola Crossing between Hermosa and Rockwood. January 4, 2023. Photograph by Jerry B. Day.
Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad snowplow/flanger train with ex-D&RGW K-36 number 481, Flanger OF, and Caboose 0540 climb the 2.5% grade from Hermosa to Rockwood on the line to Cascade. January 4, 2023. Photograph by Jerry B. Day

The first Winter Park Express (ski train) trip will be this Friday, 13 Jan., operated by Amtrak.

The train departs Union Station at 7 am, on Fri, Sat. and Sun every weekend until Sunday, 26 March 2023.
 The good news is you can buy a one way ticket, and come back days later. or take the Calif. Zephyr back, the fare can be much cheaper than the Ski Train.You must board the Calif. Zephyr in Fraser, not at the ski resort platform. It is scheduled to depart Fraser at 3:50 pm, daily.

On the border


OmniTRAX’s Nebraska Kansas Colorado Railway put OMLX 4016 and 4013 to work on a Grant, Nebraska, to Sterling, Colorado, train at Venango, Nebraska. January 9, 2023 ©2023 Chip

CP Rio Grande to Acquire SLRG Assets

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor Railway Age

Colorado Pacific Rio Grande Railroad (CP Rio Grande) filed a verified notice of exemption to acquire and operate the approximately 149-mile San Luis & Rio Grande Railroad (SLRG) in Colorado, according to the Surface Transportation Board (STB), which on Jan. 5 reported the transaction could be consummated on or after Jan. 19, 2023.

Not only will CP Rio Grande acquire approximately 119 miles of track between Derrick and Walsenburg (Alamosa Subdivision), some 30 miles of track between Alamosa and Antonito (Antonito Subdivision), and other assets, but also incidental trackage rights conveyed to SLRG by Union Pacific (UP) in the vicinity of Walsenburg, STB reported.

A tardy Amtrak

Amtrak 189 West, 4-hours late train #5, had to stop and proceed at East 96 Avenue Irondale, Commerce City, Colorado, 4 January 2023. Note Amtrak crew member at left with red flag  ©2023 Chip

Happy New Year!

BNSF 9116 leads southbound coal load C-WTMAMH below the Palmer Lake holiday star, seen here on New Years eve 2022. The image is a composite of the train and the background scene and sky, necessitated since the train was moving.  ©2023 Tim Tonge

Santa at the throttle

Santa engineer on BNSF 1880 the Market Street Job at Sand Creek, Commerce City, CO, Saturday, 24 December 2022 - BNSF’s Brush Sub. ©2022 Chip

Two pictures from the Museum

491 prepares for another day of Polar Express activity at the Colorado Railroad Museum.  ©2022 Denny Leonard The Pavilion, located at the Colorado Railroad Museum at Golden, CO.,  is now fitted with roll up doors making the building useable year around  ©2022 Denny Leonard

Ex Iowa Pacific equipment on its way to a new home

Former sleeper GLEN SUMMIT was moved from Alamosa, CO, headed to Candor, North Carolina. Car was at Union Pacific’s North Yard, Denver, CO, December 14, 2022. Car acquired by Aberdeen, Carolina & Western Railway (ACWR) from Iowa Pacific auction held in 2021. Car was placed on UP train to North Platte, NE. ©2022 Chip Former sleeper GLEN SUMMIT departed Union Pacific’s North Yard, Denver, CO, after sunset December 14, 2022.  Car acquired by Aberdeen, Carolina & Western Railway (ACWR) from Iowa Pacific auction held in 2021.   Car with ex-Southern Pacific 3604 7/8 dome lounge was placed on UP train to North Platte, NE.  ©2022 Chip

Some very interesting pictures from Kansas and Colorado

Behind the Museum of the Great Plains in Leoti, Kansas is a AT&SF caboose and a Santa Fe depot. These were moved from a small park in Selkirk, Kansas to their new home at the museum. The depot was a former Santa Fe depot from Shallow Water, Kansas.  ©2022 Larry Dilts
The Greeley County Fair in Tribune, Kansas, operates a 24 Inch miniature gauge railroad at the fairgrounds. It operates only during the first week of August during the fair. It runs on a short loop around the carnival rides. The train was built by the National Amusement Device Company in Dayton, Ohio. That company was sold in 1973. The locomotive is lettered The Greeley County Eagle and painted in a Missouri Pacific scheme.©2022 Larry Dilts

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The Colorado Railroad operated from Pueblo to Stone City near Penrose. It was abandoned in the 1950s. There are a number of places where the grade is still visible but rapidly disappearing in housing developments. ©2022 Larry Dilts



On December 12th the Colorado Pacific fired up their two locomotives and performed routine maintenance. Although the weather was cloudy, the locomotives still looked nice. Most of the tank cars that were cleaned near NA Jct. have been distributed onto sidings as far east as Eads. There are still a few stored at NA Jct. The CP now has a long string of coal gondolas stored in the yard near NA Jct. On the east end of the line, the new grain elevator continues to expand. There are three more silos under construction. ©2022 Larry Dilts
National Sugar Manufacturing Company once had a large sugar beet plant at Sugar City, Colorado. The plant closed April 1967 and the plant torn down in the 1970s. All that remain of the facility are the entrance gates which have been repaired as an historic site structure. In the former Missouri Pacific Sugar City yard, the switch ties to the sugar plant trackage remain giving testimony of the once active sugar industry. ©2022 Larry Dilts
On December 12, 2022, Three Rock and Rail units were parked in their yard at Portland next to the Holcim Cement Plant. Number 401 was recently repainted in a red and white scheme while 501 and 201 are still in the attractive yellow and red scheme. ©2022 Larry Dilts

The Holcim Cement Plant at Portland switches cars within the plant. On December 12, 2022, two trackmobiles were inside one of the buildings and ex SP GP9 3416 was parked in the yard outside. It is now lettered OSS 3416. I have heard that OSS is an Omnitrax reporting mark, but I have not been able to find any verification of that. 

A real heavyweight

Canadian Pacific 8161, AC4400CWM, led northbound BNSF loaded unit frac sand train from Ottumwa, Iowa, headed to Fort Collins, CO. 99-loads at 14,055 tons. Great Western Ry takes the train from Fort Collins to Windsor, CO. BNSF Front Range Subd. ©2022 Chip

The back way in to Coors

The inbound "Beer Train" is taking the alternate route into quarters and is holding clear of the grade crossing at McIntyre. Don't often see this as the primary route is past the Museum into the BNSF yard 12-10-2022 ©2022Walter Weart

Switching, Museum's way

Actually, Steve Disher Trucking the preeminent mover of rail equipment was bringing back the locomotive that was used in the Golden Christmas parade as a float for the Museum. However this is generally the way switching is done at the Museum since a lot of the tracks are not connected and particularly the standard gauge ©2022Walter Weart


Action on Colorado Pacific RR

Sunrise, December 4, 2022, found Colorado Pacific RR locomotives, 1923 and 1946, parked at Eads, Colorado. Locomotives brought Santa Claus into town for "Merry on Maine" festival later that day. ©2022  Chip Santa Claus rode Colorado Pacific Railroad 1964 into Eads, Colorado, December 4, 2022.   Festival was delayed one day account high winds ravaged the eastern Colorado prairies on December 2nd. 2022 ©2022 Chip
Horses galloped around their corral as Colorado Pacific 1923 headed into Eads, Colorado, December 4, 2022 bringing Santa to the "Merry on Maine" holiday festival. .©2022 Chip  

KCS Veterans Honor unit stops in Colorado Springs

he KCS Veterans Honor unit was in Littleton on November 26.  ©2022 Erik Lindgren

Still going strong

Iowa Traction 54 Baldwin-Westinghouse ex-Southern Iowa Railway 400 built May 1923 steeple cab Mason City Iowa ©2022 Chip

Around Denver

Amtrak 168 West (2-hours late met BNSF 3678 East at Irondale Siding, Commerce City, CO, 8:25 AM, 23 Nov 2022.©2022 Chip BNSF 3678 led the Z DENCHI train out of Denver 7:50 AM, 23 November 2022. ©2022 Chip

UP heritage equipment on the move

UP Equipment donation between Odessa and Lexington, Nebraska, 14 November 2022. Westbound manifest on track 1. 
C&NW F-7 401 went to Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad. ©2022 Chip
Sunset found Union Pacific 3985, Alco 4-6-6-4 Challenger, west of Elm Creek, Nebraska, November 14, 2022. Behind the 3985 was UP 5511, 2-10-2 Baldwin. Special move was the Railroading Heritage of Midwest America donation headed for Silvis, Illinois. ©2022 Chip

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