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RyPN Briefs October 25, 2006
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Friends of the 457

The Friends of the 457 is a volunteer group in Mason City, IA whose purpose is to preserve and enhance the integrity of the former Minneapolis ∓ St. Louis (M&StL) 2-8-0 steam locomotive No. 457 as it is displayed in a public park. Through research and cosmetic restoration, the "Friends" have made the locomotive come to life for the public with lights, sound, and "steam". This year the backhead restoration was essentially completed.

The M&StL #456 as it looked in 2002, inaccessible to the public. Photographer unknown.

The 457 is open for display in the summer on Saturday and Sunday afternoons with the help of volunteers, and the rest of the year by appointment. Over 5,000 people have visited during the 2006 season.

M&StL 2-8-0 No. 457 on display at East Park in Mason City, IA during the 2006 season. Restoration began in earnest in 2004 after some preliminary site work in 2003. Current photos by Cliff Hagman.

Fund raising continues to provide for a roof to shelter it, and for site improvements to simulate a depot platform.

Sound, lights, and a fog machine bring the #457 to life for visitors to the locomotive. This line of people waiting to climb up into the cab to ring the bell is typical for a Saturday afternoon.

The second annual "Cannonball Day" is scheduled for June 23, 2007 when the locomotive and rail themes are highlighted with food, music, and activities for the kids.

The Friends of 457 welcome any inquiries regarding the project and may be contacted through their website.