By Eric Berger
A Pan Am Railways SD40-2 that began its life on The Milwaukee Road will once again wear the Bicentennial scheme it wore in the 1970s, thanks to California-based Dieselmotive Company and the Oklahoma Railway Museum.
Built as Milwaukee Road 3026 in 1972, the locomotive was one of 90 SD40-2s on the MILW roster, outnumbering all other diesel models. Later renumbered as MILW 156, it was painted as Milwaukee Road’s Bicentennial unit in 1975 for the two-year celebration that began the following year. It wore that paint job for just a few years before being covered by a thin coat of MILW orange and black that eventually allowed traces of the red, white, and blue scheme to shine through in places by the time The Milwaukee Road was absorbed into Soo Line. It ended up in New England in the 2010s.
ABOVE: Milwaukee Road 156 at Bensenville, Ill., March 6, 1976. —James Claflin photo, WRP collection
Dieselmotive saved the locomotive from being scrapped in 2019 and it was moved to the Oklahoma Railway Museum in Oklahoma City in 2022. It has since been renumbered 156 and has BUGX reporting marks. ORM President Eric Dilbeck said the museum hopes to complete the restoration into the red, white, and blue scheme by next year. The museum also plans on restoring the locomotive to operating condition, meaning it could also be pressed into service on the museum’s excursions. Dieselmotive will retain ownership of the unit.