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Missabe Iron

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Last steam locomotive in normal service in the USA?

NOT railfan or tourist service. I.E. regular commercial revenue earning service. What I want to know is what year it was and if possible what railroad and where. Of couse it is quite likely that the last one of all was in industrial use at a factory or similar - it would be nice to know where and when this was too.
I appreciate this is rather a grey area. In Britain, technically, the Vale of Rheidol Railway, Snowdon Mountain Railway and Isle of Man Railway have just carried on running and never dieselised - (fully at least) but these lines are run for tourists and steam is part of the 'attraction'. So I think that rules out the Pikes Peak railroad as one example.
Thank you in advance.

These types of questions are often difficult, primarily because "the last day of the last steam engine" as a strict matter of fact is probably lost to history, but there are accurate accounts of the last services of different road names and classes of steam engines. It is true the last "regular" service was in rock quarries and the like, and I know that at at least one US Naval Depot ran steam until as late as 1964. But I'm thinking you're more interested in the Class 1 railroads. In that category there were four "die hards" of steam.

The die hards were found east of the Mississippi with but one exception. Those eastern railroads were the Nickle Plate Road, Norfolk Western and the Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range. By the end of 1958, the last of these were classified as "stored ready for use".

The Nickle Plate Railroad used the 2-8-4 Berkshires until the end, between Ft. Wayne, Indiana and Chicago. On Sunday evening, June 15th, 1958, the last Berkshire delivered the last load of goods to Chicago, sent to the roundhouse, where the fire was dropped, unceremoniously.

Most railroads only used the newest, biggest, most advanced steam engines until the end, where they were not only worked, but worked hard. The steam rebels of the Norfolk and Western, the Y-6b 2-8-8-2s and class A 2-6-6-4s worked the coal trains of Kentucky and West Virginia north and east to ocean and lake ports, regularly handling 175 car, 13,000 ton trains. These too were silenced before the end of 1958, with the notable exception of the J class 4-8-4s, which made it as far as the mibble of 1959.

The behemoths of the Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range made it a little further, but the last of their laborious barking was heard in early 1960, in regular service. There were two kept on "standby" status, but they never saw the main line again.

The last of steam, in regular service for a class 1 railroad, was found at home on the property of the Denver and Rio Grande Western's 3 foot gage, which operated in regular revenue freight service until 1961. Of course it seemlessly moved into the realm of tourist railroad with the spectacular scenery and more than a couple of the old "mud hens" survive to this day, operating both in Colorado and southern California.

This is all I can find on the subject, so I would say the last of regular steam operations occurred in 1961.

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HO Scale Accurail 4406 DMIR Duluth Missabe Iron Range 40 Box Car 3332 RTR
HO Scale Accurail 4406 DMIR Duluth Missabe Iron Range 40 Box Car 3332 RTR
$14.95
RCR MDC 22ft ORE CAR DULUTH MISSABE  IRON RANGE 24000
RCR MDC 22ft ORE CAR DULUTH MISSABE IRON RANGE 24000
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RCR MDC 22ft ORE CAR DULUTH MISSABE  IRON RANGE 23997
RCR MDC 22ft ORE CAR DULUTH MISSABE IRON RANGE 23997
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RCR MDC 22ft ORE CAR DULUTH MISSABE IRON RANGE 23996
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RCR MDC 22ft ORE CAR DULUTH MISSABE  IRON RANGE 23987
RCR MDC 22ft ORE CAR DULUTH MISSABE IRON RANGE 23987
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HO Scale Duluth Missabe  Iron Range 1400 Freight Train Ore Car Bachmann
HO Scale Duluth Missabe Iron Range 1400 Freight Train Ore Car Bachmann
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Duluth Missabe  Iron Range 2 8 8 4 M4 w tender PFM Collectors Quality
Duluth Missabe Iron Range 2 8 8 4 M4 w tender PFM Collectors Quality
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Microscale 60 357 HO Duluth Missabe Iron Range DMIR SD9 Locomotive Decal Set
Microscale 60 357 HO Duluth Missabe Iron Range DMIR SD9 Locomotive Decal Set
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Herald King HO L 391 Duluth Missabe Iron Range DMIR Locomotive Decals
Herald King HO L 391 Duluth Missabe Iron Range DMIR Locomotive Decals
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Herald King HO L 390 Duluth Missabe Iron Range DMIR Locomotive Decals
Herald King HO L 390 Duluth Missabe Iron Range DMIR Locomotive Decals
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Herald King HO B 390 Duluth Missabe Iron Range DMIR Box Car Decals
Herald King HO B 390 Duluth Missabe Iron Range DMIR Box Car Decals
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HO Scale Ore Car Duluth Missabe  Iron Range 71302 BAC 18604
HO Scale Ore Car Duluth Missabe Iron Range 71302 BAC 18604
$24.30
Bachmann 18604 HO Scale 71302 Duluth Missabe  Iron Range Mineral Red Ore Car
Bachmann 18604 HO Scale 71302 Duluth Missabe Iron Range Mineral Red Ore Car
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Tenshodo HO Brass Duluth Missabe  Iron Range Caboose C129
Tenshodo HO Brass Duluth Missabe Iron Range Caboose C129
$89.95
Ho Scale Decals Only Duluth Missabe  Iron Range Enough to do one Loco
Ho Scale Decals Only Duluth Missabe Iron Range Enough to do one Loco
$12.00
Walthers 932 4468 Duluth Missabe  Iron Range or DMIR 12pk of Ore Cars 3
Walthers 932 4468 Duluth Missabe Iron Range or DMIR 12pk of Ore Cars 3
$56.00
Walthers 932 4558 Duluth Missabe  Iron Range 12pk of Ore Cars Taconite version
Walthers 932 4558 Duluth Missabe Iron Range 12pk of Ore Cars Taconite version
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Bachmann 18643 HO Duluth Missabe  Iron Range Ore Car Silver Series
Bachmann 18643 HO Duluth Missabe Iron Range Ore Car Silver Series
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HO Duluth Missabe  Iron Range Diesels Decals 2 Sheets Microscale 87 131 b
HO Duluth Missabe Iron Range Diesels Decals 2 Sheets Microscale 87 131 b
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vintage Roundhouse H 151 Ore Car DMIR HO NIB Duluth Missabe  Iron Range 26593
vintage Roundhouse H 151 Ore Car DMIR HO NIB Duluth Missabe Iron Range 26593
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Bachmann HO Scale Duluth Missabe  Iron Range 1400 Freight Train Ore Car
Bachmann HO Scale Duluth Missabe Iron Range 1400 Freight Train Ore Car
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K4 HO Decals Duluth Missabe and Northern Ore Hopper Cars Pre DMIR Iron Range
K4 HO Decals Duluth Missabe and Northern Ore Hopper Cars Pre DMIR Iron Range
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K4 HO Decals Duluth and Iron Range Ore Hopper Cars White Pre DMIR Missabe
K4 HO Decals Duluth and Iron Range Ore Hopper Cars White Pre DMIR Missabe
$6.85
K4 HO Decals Duluth Missabe and Iron Range Ore Hopper Cars White DMIR
K4 HO Decals Duluth Missabe and Iron Range Ore Hopper Cars White DMIR
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RCR MDC 22ft ORE CAR DULUTH MISSABE  IRON RANGE 24704
RCR MDC 22ft ORE CAR DULUTH MISSABE IRON RANGE 24704
$7.99
RCR MDC 22ft ORE CAR DULUTH MISSABE  IRON RANGE 24713
RCR MDC 22ft ORE CAR DULUTH MISSABE IRON RANGE 24713
$7.99
RCR MDC 22ft ORE CAR DULUTH MISSABE  IRON RANGE 23977
RCR MDC 22ft ORE CAR DULUTH MISSABE IRON RANGE 23977
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Bachmann HO Scale Silver Series Duluth Missabe  Iron Rance Ore Car 1400
Bachmann HO Scale Silver Series Duluth Missabe Iron Rance Ore Car 1400
$9.99
RCR MDC 22ft ORE CAR DULUTH MISSABE  IRON RANGE 24719
RCR MDC 22ft ORE CAR DULUTH MISSABE IRON RANGE 24719
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RCR MDC 22ft ORE CAR DULUTH MISSABE  IRON RANGE 23983
RCR MDC 22ft ORE CAR DULUTH MISSABE IRON RANGE 23983
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26699 Roundhouse Kit HO Scale Duluth Missabe  Iron Range
26699 Roundhouse Kit HO Scale Duluth Missabe Iron Range
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26587 Roundhouse Kit HO Scale Duluth Missabe  Iron Range
26587 Roundhouse Kit HO Scale Duluth Missabe Iron Range
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26554 Roundhouse Kit HO Scale Duluth Missabe  Iron Range
26554 Roundhouse Kit HO Scale Duluth Missabe Iron Range
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26521 Roundhouse Kit HO Scale Duluth Missabe  Iron Range
26521 Roundhouse Kit HO Scale Duluth Missabe Iron Range
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26543 Roundhouse Kit HO Scale Duluth Missabe  Iron Range
26543 Roundhouse Kit HO Scale Duluth Missabe Iron Range
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26565 Roundhouse Kit HO Scale Duluth Missabe  Iron Range
26565 Roundhouse Kit HO Scale Duluth Missabe Iron Range
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26576 Roundhouse Kit HO Scale Duluth Missabe  Iron Range
26576 Roundhouse Kit HO Scale Duluth Missabe Iron Range
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26532 Roundhouse Kit HO Scale Duluth Missabe  Iron Range
26532 Roundhouse Kit HO Scale Duluth Missabe Iron Range
$10.00
26500 Roundhouse Kit HO Scale Duluth Missabe  Iron Range
26500 Roundhouse Kit HO Scale Duluth Missabe Iron Range
$10.00
26510 Roundhouse Kit HO Scale Duluth Missabe  Iron Range
26510 Roundhouse Kit HO Scale Duluth Missabe Iron Range
$10.00


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