This article was requested by the IllniRail YAHOO! Group and the IRMlist YAHOO! Group members! ENJOY!
Who does not know the famous Dennis the Menace? Always causing Mr. Wilson trouble, even if he is trying to help out. In 1994, the lovable comic strip character and Cartoon Character came to live. Shot in the Greater Chicago area, one of the final scenes is Dennis, unknowingly, defeating a thief who had stolen Mr. Wilsons valuable coin collection. The scene, witch takes place under a bridge that covers a stream, was shot outside the Elgin, IL area. The tracks on the bridge belong to the recently fallen flag of the EJ&E. “The J,” as it was better known, was more than happy to supply a locomotive for this shot. We will take a better look at the locomotive in bit. The Line the crosses the bridge is part of the EJ&E mainline, however, in 2006, the EJ&E was bought from its owner, US Steel, by the ever growing Canadian National Railway, with a huge out cry from some neighborhoods the J ran through. They lost their battle, because they feared that having 20 more trains go through their towns would ruin their home values, and the merger took place in 2007. Today, this location is OFF LIMITS as it is on Railroad property, and Canadian National has a very strict No Trespassing rules that are always enforced.
The locomotive seen near the end of the movie is Elgin, Joliet and Eastern SD38-2 #661. The 661 was built by the Electro Motive Division of General Motors in January, 1975. The units was built in the Chicago Suburb of La Grange. So for petty much of its entire existence, the locomotive has stayed in the Chicago Area. The locomotive was delivered in Late January by the Indiana Harbor Belt to the J in Gary, Indiana. By crossing New locomotives across a state line into either Missouri, Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa or Kentucky, the railroads did not have to pay an enormous Sales Tax on the locomotive. The locomotive was one of the J’s many SD38-2’s. The EJ&E bought 13 SD38-2’s brand new from EMD, and that tied with 1st place for the most owned, the other railroad being the Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad that also owned 13. Only 88 SD38-2’s were ever built, and the production ran from 1972 to 1979. However, the Models sister unit, the 4 axle GP38-2, sold 2,222 copies.
The 661 is still in everyday use on the EJ&E’s new owner, Canadian National. Still in the Bright orange paint of the J, the unit has been used on local trains on the CN in Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, and has even made it down to Fort Worth, Texas! With the purchase of the J by the Canadian National, a-lot of the locomotives that CN got in the deal, have left the Chicago Area, but they usually turn back up, since the J is only a subsidiary of the CN, and they still own the locomotives. Keep your eyes out, because you never know when a EJ&E locomotive might turn up on your local CN line!
Here’s a Photo of EJ&E 661 as she looked when only 2 months old in March 1975: http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=1893785
Here’s a Photo of the EJ&E 661 as she looked during the filming of Dennis the Menace: http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=2103205
Here’s proof the the EJ&E 661 has made it out of the Chicago area to Fort Worth, Texas: http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=1559513
Here’s the most recent photo of the EJ&E 661 as she looks today: http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=2873190
I sure hope you enjoyed this study on the EJ&E and the EMD SD38-2. Keep your eyes out for trains in the movies, you never know what might pop up! It may be a rare locomotive, like this SD38-2 (Only 88 built), or it could be something that might be from your area! As always, if you have any ideas, check out the “Submitting Ideas” tab under the CineTrains banner to find out how to contact me if you have anything you want me to look up!And remember, HAPPY RAILFANNING!