DSS&A Sleeping Car DULUTH Fund Drive Begins

The Car:

Duluth South Shore & Atlantic sleeping car “DULUTH” is one of a series of five 10-section sleeping cars built by The Barney & Smith Car Company of Dayton, Ohio in 1902.  The car is of all wood construction, with varnished mahogany interior, fine marquetry throughout, stained glass windows and green plush upholstery. In addition to the sleeping section the car features a stateroom, a smoking room as well as men and women lavatories. The car was used on the DSS&A’s North Country Mail (between Duluth, MN and Sault Ste. Marie) and remained in active service until 1934. The car left the DSS&A in December 1934 when it was sold to a Michigan resident and hauled to the shores of Lake Superior where it has been used as a summer cottage for the past 80 years.

THE OFFER:

The current owners recognizing the significance and the fine condition of the car approached Mid-Continent about donating the DULUTH to the museum. The MCRM Restoration Department inspected the car and determined it to be an outstanding addition to Mid-Continent’s Collection of wooden cars. The MCRHS Collection Committee recommended to accept the donation of the DULUTH and the Board of Directors accepted the recommendation at the December 12, 2015 meeting.

DULUTH diagram

DSS&A “DULUTH” car diagram

THE GOAL:

The immediate goal is to raise $35,000 for moving this remarkable car to North Freedom in the summer of 2016. Once at North Freedom, the car will be placed on trucks and initial restoration efforts will be focused on acquiring the appropriate 6-wheel trucks for the car, installing draft gear and steps on the car. A comprehensive restoration plan will be developed and fundraising will continue with restoration work proceeding in a staged manner. Ultimately, the restored car will provide Mid-Continent with a very unique and rare passenger car that can be used on special occasions, placed on display or included in Mid-Continent’s Wooden Car Tours events.

THE REQUEST:

Help Mid-Continent bring this rare and unique car to Mid-Continent by making a donation. We need your help to raise the $35,000 by May 15, 2016. Please consider making a donation to the DSS&A sleeper DULUTH Fund and help bring the DULUTH sleeping car to its new home.


UPDATE May 5, 2016:

Thanks to the support of donors like you, we have successfully raised the funds necessary to bring the DULUTH to Mid-Continent Railway Museum. Preparations are presently underway to move the DULUTH to its new home.

Despite the car’s overall excellent condition, some restoration work will still be necessary. For this reason, donations toward the DSS&A sleeper DULUTH Fund continue to be accepted.


THE INSTRUCTIONS:

Make your donation via mail using our printable donation form or donate online using the form on our Donation page. Be sure to write in “DSS&A sleeper DULUTH Fund” on both the printed and online forms. Credit/debit card donations can be accepted by phone at 608-522-4261 or 800-930-1385 during museum office hours. All donations are tax-deductible.

Last updated May 5, 2016

DULUTH photo collage

C&NW #1385 Wins Grant from John H. Emery Rail Heritage Trust

Mid-Continent Railway Museum’s restoration of Chicago & North Western #1385 was recently named one of the winners of the first ever round of grants offered by the John H. Emery Rail Heritage Trust. The grant gives the C&NW 1385 project a $10,000 boost toward the production of a new boiler. A new boiler is major component of the 1907 locomotive’s overhaul to make it steam-worthy well into the 21st century.

check presentation

Tom Sharratt and Naurine Lennox present a $10,000 check from Emery Rail Trust to Mid-Continent Railway Museum, accepted by museum President Jeff Bloohm. The grant is in support of Chicago & North Western #1385’s new boiler.

Sometimes referred to as Mid-Continent’s “ambassador of steam,” the C&NW #1385 was the first steam locomotive ever operated by Mid-Continent Railway Museum in 1963. In the 1980s it was used by the Chicago & North Western Railway as their goodwill ambassador to the public, traveling extensively on the C&NW network and bringing operating railroad history to many thousands of people in their hometowns. At Mid-Continent Railway Museum’s North Freedom, Wisconsin location, the locomotive was often seen in service pulling museum visitors up and down the former C&NW branch line which Mid-Continent calls home.

These past achievements and future plans for the locomotive fit perfectly within the goals of the John H. Emery Rail Heritage Trust. Among the criteria Mr. Emery established for the Trust were:

  1. To help re-create and preserve, to the extent possible, the rail passenger travel experience as it was in the U. S. from approximately 1920 through 1960.
  2. To preserve and restore to working order rolling stock and other working artifacts from the “Golden Age” of the U.S. rail passenger service.
  3. The emphasis shall be on organizations that offer the general public an opportunity to ride historically significant equipment over historic rail lines. The Trust may, however, support organizations that would use modern equipment to restore passenger service over historic rails, or to build new rails on which to operate historic equipment in passenger service.

John Emery, a native of Chicago and lover of classic passenger trains, founded the Trust as way to support ongoing efforts to preserve examples of America’s great passenger trains. Emery was a world traveler, visiting over 125 nations. As an avid railway buff both abroad and in the U.S., John rode the rails as often as possible. Utilizing his talents as a businessman, investor, and accomplished writer, he grew to become a great philanthropist, sharing his success through multiple foundations. Emery passed away peacefully in 2012 at the age of 75. Now his legacy lives on through the foundations he established and the Advisory Committee now appointed to continue his philanthropy.

In all, 11 grants totaling $162,500 were awarded in this first series offered by the Emery Rail Heritage Trust. Grant winners spanned the country from Tennessee to New England, New Mexico to Michigan. Among the grant winners were several other steam locomotive restorations, rolling stock, and infrastructure projects.

Running Gear Gets Cleaned, Further Disassembly Underway

The rebuilding process of Chicago & North Western No. 1385’s running gear is underway. While the R-1 class locomotive had seen considerable disassembly already at North Freedom, further disassembly remained the first order of business on the running gear at its temporary home at Spec Machine in Middleton, WI.

Before starting, the entire running gear received a thorough cleaning. The parts need to be clean in order to allow for accurate inspections moving forward. The 1385 was pulled outside the shop on temporary track for the cleaning to take place on Dec. 2nd.

On Dec. 6 and 7, members of the 1385 Steam Task Force joined employees of Spec Machine to remove the brake rigging, valve gear and rods. After being removed, each part had an aluminum tag with the original C&NW part numbers then attached. Mike Wahl, Project Manager elaborates:

We were able to determine the original part numbers from the C&NW arrangement and layout drawings we were able to obtain from Lake State Railway Historical Association. Not only have we been able to obtain these arrangement and layout drawings, but also many details drawings of the parts. On items like the brake and spring rigging, we have a complete set of detailed drawings with the exception of one or two drawings. These will be extremely helpful in the rebuild process.

The next steps are to drop the wedges and remove the binders, pistons, rods and crossheads and prepare for the lift to remove the 1st and 2nd wheel sets. Once the wheel sets are out we will remove the rest of the spring rigging and begin preparation for inspection and measurement of the frame.

On the project fundraising front, the goal set earlier this year of raising enough donations to complete the $250,000 Wagner Foundation challenge grant by the end of 2013 is very close to being attained. With 16 days left in 2013, less than $8,500 of the challenge grant remains unmatched. For anyone wishing to have their donation matched dollar-for-dollar, this is the time to act!

NOTE: Clicking either photo below will link to the corresponding photo album with more images from that day.

C&NW 1385’s running gear gets steam cleaned on December 2, 2013 in preparation of further disassembly and inspections. Photo by Brian Allen. Click on image to browse more of Brian’s photos from the day.

An overhead crane and a good deal of muscle are used to remove one of 1385’s rods on December 7, 2013. Photo by Brian Allen. Click on image to browse more of Brian’s photos from the day.

Tender Nearing Completion

Back in May, members of the C&NW #1385 Steam Task Force inspected the tender tank (the car that carries the locomotive’s fuel and water) progress at DRM Industries in Lake Delton, Wis. for what turned out to be the last time before it was to be sandblasted, cleaned & painted inside and out. The last details to be completed will be the addition of anti-slip dots on the steps and shoveling deck, drilling of an anti-siphon vent in one water fill pipe and attachments for the brackets for the electrical conduit. This will culminate over 15 months of work on the tank.

There are still other goals to accomplish which will be much easier with the tank out of the way. These include repair work on the drawbar pocket and pin, draft gear pocket and fitting of the white oak decking that goes on the frame under the tank.

The replacement trucks purchased for the tender are in Lake Delton, waiting to go under the frame so any necessary adjustment of height can be made where the tender can be more easily handled. When the tender is ready to roll it will be shipped back to North Freedom to receive lettering and go on public display. It is planned for this to occur around the end of August 2013.

Meanwhile, fundraising efforts continue. The Wagner Foundation’s $250,000 challenge grant has now been over 70% matched through the generosity of many, many donors. That positive momentum and spirit of generosity will need to continue for the C&NW #1385 project to progress. With the tender rebuild nearing completion, the boiler represents the next major hurdle and it will most certainly be the single most expensive portion of the 1385’s restoration.

C&NW 1385 Steam Status

C&NW #1385’s initial restoration efforts were documented within the pages of the Mid-Continent Railway Gazette and Mid-Continent’s The Steamer! newsletter and were not documented online. The following is an overview of #1385’s status written for the website as of June 29, 2006.


The image most people have of Mid-Continent involves the Chicago & North Western #1385 under steam, pulling either the Prosperity Special or the Circus Train or one of our own special excursions like Snow TrainTM or the Santa ExpressTM. The power of this image is so strong that museum guests still come here expecting to see the R-1 sitting in front of the depot, ready to make the day’s runs, even though she has been out of service since June of 1998.

We knew several years ago that her time was limited and began a fund raising campaign in 1996 entitled “Help Steam Live.” The campaign goal was a mere $250,000, when we thought the needed repairs would simply be tube and flue replacement plus patching the interior side-sheets of the firebox. But once the work commenced, the extent of the firebox damage from over eighty years of service became apparent. The result of a visual inspection by the State’s boiler inspector was the condemnation of the firebox.

While Mid-Continent’s volunteer shop crews wrestled with the decisions on how to proceed with the repair work, Federal guidelines for steam boiler operation changed, mandating even further major repairs. The museum engaged Steam Services of America in 2001 to perform a complete inspection of the boiler in light of these new requirements. The result was a significant expansion of the repair plan to encompass a major overhaul of the entire boiler. And the new price tag approached $750,000, well beyond the money raised by the “Help Steam Live” campaign. The R-1 was parked in favor of repairing less costly locomotives.

Still the museum was holding a significant amount of money restricted for the purpose of restoring this specific locomotive to operating condition. So in 2004 an agreement was entered with Deltak Construction Services of Plymouth, MN for the manufacture of a completely new boiler using all-welded construction techniques. The cost of $415,000 proved to be significantly lower than the cost of repairing the old boiler. And the long-term maintenance cost would also be less, insuring the R-1’s ability to operate far into the future.

Phase 1 of this program is now complete with Deltak delivering the engineering study and approved boiler drawings to the museum. Phase 2 will be the purchase of the needed materials. And Phase 3 will involve the boiler’s actual construction at Deltak’s shop, concluding with a successful hydro test.

When finished, the C&NW #1385 will be the most expensive of the three steam locomotives currently under repair. And that is why she is at the end of the list in terms of priority. But no concept of a steam program at Mid-Continent has ever been considered that would exclude the R-1 from being returned to operating condition. She is the gem of the steam locomotive collection.

View a history of C&NW #1385 here.