In June of 2017, The Friends of the Milwaukee Road 261 brought 4-8-4 #261 and passenger consist to eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota for a series of employee appreciation and public trips on the Red River Valley & Western. On Friday June 2nd, 261 pulled two excursions from Davenport, ND 40 miles west to Lisbon, ND. Due to a lack of turning facilities on the railroad, one-half of all trips would be pulled by diesel locomotives. A small mechanical problem with the 261 caused her to be sidelined from one of Saturday's trips, but all was made well in time to pull her last trip, a sunset excursion from Breckenridge, MN 35 miles to Kindred, ND and return with the 261 facing east.
Following four days of successful excursions both public and private, 261 and train departed Breckenridge on Sunday the 4th to make the 200+ mile trip back to Minneapolis Junction, the home of The Friends of the 261.