"Little Obie" mini-diesel visits St. Joseph's Catholic School in Freeburg

Published at 4:15 p.m. on April 16, 2014 | Modified at 4:15 p.m. on April 16, 2014

Little Obie, a miniature diesel locomotive (on rubber tires) visited St. Joseph's Catholic School in Freeburg on Wednesday. The train took the entire student body in small groups on rides around the neighborhood. It's all part of the Operation Lifesaver train safety program which had previously visited the school and imparted their railroad safety awareness message for both children and adults. The diesel is named after Donald "Obie" Bryant, who was a former supervisor and safety director at the Illinois Central's Memphis, Tennessee rail yard. That rail line is now owned by Canadian National, and CN has kept the Little Obie safety program running. Little Obie has been to schools, churches and company functions throughout the United States (and two counterparts travel throughout Canada). The train is 44 feet long, a little over six feet wide, and over six feet in height. It has an operating diesel engine, a customized trailer that holds the children and resembles a railroad flat car, and of course, a red caboose, that can hold a few more youngsters.

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