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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Ladysmith in Rusk County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Sweet ‘Soo’

 
 
Sweet 'Soo' Marker image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, July 21, 2011
1. Sweet 'Soo' Marker
Inscription. Locomotive 500-A, nicknamed Sweet 'Soo', was the first passenger diesel on the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railway ("Soo Line"). The 1,500 h.p. FP7 heavy passenger engine was built in November of 1949 by the Electro-Motive Division of General Motors as a demonstrator. It was acquired by the Soo Line in the spring of 1950 along with a cabless F7 booster. Numbered 500-A and 500-B, they were repainted in the Soo Line's maroon and gold color scheme.

Before 1950 all Soo Line passenger trains were powered by steam locomotives. The 500-A and B were the first Soo Line diesel-electric locomotives in regular passenger service, pulling the "Soo-Dominion" on May 22, 1950. Steam power on the Soo Line ended in 1955.

The 500-A pulled passenger trains until the mid-1960's when that era ended, it was in freight and later snow plowing service until 1985, when it was retired with over 1.5 million miles.

This historic diesel, owned by the City of Ladysmith, has been restored to its 1950 appearance. The 250,000 pound locomotive is the only streamlined Soo Line F unit preserved in the State of Wisconsin.

It is displayed with U.S. Rail Post Office-Railway Express Agency car 552, baggage-passenger car 358, and 1st Class coach 998 – all original Soo Line equipment.
 
Location.
Sweet 'Soo' Marker image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, July 21, 2011
2. Sweet 'Soo' Marker
45° 27.785′ N, 91° 6.655′ W. Marker is in Ladysmith, Wisconsin, in Rusk County. Marker is on West 9th Street South (State Highway 27) 0.1 miles south of Lake Avenue West (U.S. 8), on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at the Rusk County Visitor's Center & Rail Display. Marker is at or near this postal address: 205 West 9th Street South, Ladysmith WI 54848, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 3 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Old Smoky (approx. 0.3 miles away); Rusk County World War I Memorial (approx. 0.6 miles away); Apollonia (approx. 9.3 miles away).
 
Also see . . .  Railroad Displays-Ladysmith Area. (Submitted on May 6, 2012.)
 
Categories. Railroads & Streetcars
 
Locomotive 500-A; Sweet 'Soo' image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, July 21, 2011
3. Locomotive 500-A; Sweet 'Soo'
Locomotive 500-A; Sweet 'Soo' image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, July 21, 2011
4. Locomotive 500-A; Sweet 'Soo'
Soo Line Cars image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, July 21, 2011
5. Soo Line Cars
Locomotive and Cars image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, July 21, 2011
6. Locomotive and Cars
Caboose at Visitor's Center image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, July 21, 2011
7. Caboose at Visitor's Center
Visitor's Center Sign image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, July 21, 2011
8. Visitor's Center Sign
Rusk County Visitor's Center & Rail Display
Wisconsin Heritage Sign image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, July 21, 2011
9. Wisconsin Heritage Sign
Railroad Display & Depot #300
Sign by Marker image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, July 21, 2011
10. Sign by Marker
The Rail Exhibit
The first railroad, The Minneapolis, Sault Ste. Marie, & Atlantic Railway (forerunner of the Soo Line), was built from Bruce through what is now Ladysmith in 1885. The station was named Flambeau Falls and a village by that name was platted. The railroad changed the station name to Warner in about 1887, and the village's name also changed. The railroad was completed to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan in 1887. It was built by Minneapolis Flour Mill Owners - Washburn, Pillsburry, and others - to transport their product to the East coast. The railroad also hauled logs and lumber from the forests of northern Wisconsin. A second railroad was built to Ladysmith in 1905 by the Wisconsin Central. The line ran from Chicago to Duluth - Superior.
***
The City of Ladysmith acquired a retired Soo line FP-7 Locomotive 500 in 1986. It was Soo Line's first passenger train diesel-locomotive. Prior to this train, all passenger trains on the Soo Line were powered by steam-locomotives. It was built in 1949 and put into service in May of 1950. Three former Soo line passenger cars, which had been used by railroad section crews after discontinuance of passenger service in 1965, were acquired privately and displayed behind the locomotive. The cars consist of a rail post office car (RAIL EXPRESS AGENCY (REA)), a combination of passenger/baggage coach, and a 64-passenger coach, all dating from 1911-1914. The rail display also includes a wooden Soo line caboose which dates from 1911. The locomotive was painted in the original Soo line maroon and yellow diesel color scheme, and the passenger cars were also cosmetically restored. All three coaches were tipped over by the September 2002 tornado and subsequently placed back on the track by three large cranes. Restoration and development work continues.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 6, 2012, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 496 times since then and 52 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. submitted on May 6, 2012, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.
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