Burlington Northern E9Am 9914, Chicago, Illinois March 23, 1983, photo by Chuck Zeiler

Built as Chicago Burlington and Quincy E9 9989B January 1956 (c/n 20542) on Order 2071, it had the distinction of being the last E9 (in fact the last E-unit) delivered to the CB&Q. It was built with electro-pneumatic brake equipment for Zephyr service (although this system wasn't used after the early 1960's), straight air relay valves for suburban operation, twin steam generators, and 55:22 gearing with overspeed control set for 94 mph.

It was not the highest numbered E-unit, which was 9995, but the Q ordered ten additional E9's after the 9995 was delivered. Seeing they would run out of four-digit numbers, they moved the last E's into the number block reserved for subsidiary Fort Worth & Denver as it was apparent that the FW&D would not be purchasing new passenger power. Note the construction number (20542), some web sites list this as 20545, which was a SW1200 delivered to the Q. I'm attempting to correct this error with this photo. I have three sources (so far) listing this locomotive as c/n 20542. As an aside, I list the number as a construction number instead of a serial number, because there are several serial numbers on a locomotive, and I hope this prevents confusion. Maybe not.

Number 9989B worked in the Zephyr pool, rotating between Zephyr assignments and suburban service until March 2, 1970, becoming BN 9984. Its Zephyr assignments over, it worked in suburban service until August 18, 1972, when it was sold to the West Suburban Mass Transit District (MSMTD). During September 1973, it was rebuilt by Morrison Knudsen in Boise, Idaho, exchanging its twin 12-cylinder 567C prime movers for 12-cylinder 645's. It was stripped to the frame, sandblasted, the wiring was replaced, the steam generators were replaced with twin Cummins 350Kw generators for Head End Power. The model designation was unofficially E9Ak (Knudsen) to indicate it was essentially a new locomotive and not just a modified E9. When it returned to BN rails, numbered 9914, it was leased to the BN for operation and maintenance, and named "Village of Riverside". It continued to power suburban trains between Chicago and Aurora until retired in October 1992. One source has it as the property of the CN and stored at Woodcrest, so it may still exist.

Some folks might not know about the rails passing overhead with the C&NW boxcars. This was known as the St. Charles Air Line, the east-west line of the Illinois Central, and by this date, the ICG. It passed over the south throat of Union Station, as well as the former Dearborn Street Station. It came back down to earth about a half mile to the left in this photo. The Air Line designation was an early turn of the century (1899-1900) term used to describe a railroad built straight as an arrow, with few curves, as if a line was drawn in the air.