Vintage Rail Car Tours

Vintage Rail Car Tours – September 23-24, 2017

Guided Tours Inside Mid-Continent Railway Museum’s Finest Restorations

Mid-Continent Railway Museum has a nationally-renowned, award-winning wooden car restoration program. While all museum visitors are able to see the beautiful restorations from the Coach Shed viewing platforms alongside the cars, much of the fine craftsmanship can only be appreciated from within the railcars. For one weekend only, September 23-24, 2017, museum visitors will have an opportunity to do just that. Guided tours will be provided by knowledgeable restoration volunteers and will take visitors beyond locked doors and inside these exquisitely restored railcars.

Tour of wooden passenger car

Guided Tour Cost

Adult = TBA;  Children (ages 3-12) = TBA

Visitors choosing to not take the guided tours can still enjoy the free, self-guided tour through museum, including the Coach Shed; however, self-guided tours do not allow access to wooden car interiors.

Vintage Rail Car Tour tickets are not valid for train rides and train ride tickets are not valid toward guided Vintage Rail Car Tours.

Tour Schedule

A maximum of 15 people will be allowed on each tour to ensure a quality tour experience. Tours begin at the following times on 23 & 24:

  • To be announced

Due to the limited quantity of tickets available per tour time, advance reservations are encouraged if a specific tour time is desired. Also see our cancellation policy.

Tour Details

Note: The toured areas are not wheelchair accessible and may require large steps to reach the car interiors.

Past tour included the following cars. The 2017 event tour list is not yet determined.

Badger #2


Fish tank room inside Badger #2

Wisconsin Fish Commission #2, or Badger #2, commonly referred to as the “Fish Car,” represents Mid-Continent Railway Museum’s most ambitious car restoration to date. Built in 1913 for the purpose of restocking Wisconsin’s rivers, streams and lakes with fish from hatcheries, it is the only remaining original fish car in the nation and Mid-Continent Railway Museum’s very first acquisition.

In 2008 the Badger #2 underwent a $950,000 restoration to return it to it’s 1913 configuration and appearance. The car’s transformation became the subject of an episode of the television show Ultimate Restorations.

Duluth South Shore & Atlantic #213 


DSS&A #213 interior

Built in 1888 and restored to it’s 1910 appearance, DSS&A #213 was a first-class coach. The interior of the car is trimmed in mahogany with end door entabler and window pilaster carvings. Of special note is the stenciling on the ceiling and the name “Duluth South Shore & Atlantic Ry.” above the end doors. This is the original stenciling that was uncovered during removal of up to seven layers of paint.


Milwaukee, Lake Shore & Western #63 

Ceiling detail of MLS&W #63

Coach #63 was built in 1888 by the Barney and Smith Co. for First Class service on the Milwaukee Lake Shore & Western Railway. A $350,000 restoration was completed in 2003.

The interior finish is varnished cherry wood and was designed by Edward Colonna. An unusual design feature of these cars is the Art Nouveau motif of the carvings above the doors and on the corner of the wash room. This is a departure from the Neo Classical motifs of other railroad interiors of the day.

Wisconsin Central “Oak Park”

Interior of Oak Park

Interior of “Oak Park”

“Oak Park” was built by the Barney & Smith Car Co. of Dayton, Ohio in 1884. The car was constructed for the Wisconsin Central as a 31-seat cafe-parlor car and named “Oak Park.” In 1909 the cars were relettered to reflect control by the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad (Soo Line). The Soo Line subsequently converted the “Oak Park” to a business car for traveling railroad officials. In this configuration the smoking rooms became observation rooms and the central parlor room was remodeled to contain a single large state room, kitchen, and a dining room. In 1968 the car was acquired by Mid-Continent and moved to North Freedom. The “Oak Park” was restored to its 1921 era business car appearance.