Mid-Continent to Participate in Blue Star Museums

Mid-Continent Railway Museum will offer free admission to military personnel and their families this summer

[NORTH FREEDOM, WIS] – Mid-Continent Railway Museum is pleased to announce it will join museums nationwide in participating in the tenth summer of Blue Star Museums, a program which provides free admission to our nation’s active-duty military personnel and their families this summer. The 2019 program launched on Saturday, May 18, 2019, Armed Forces Day, and ends on Monday, September 2, 2019, Labor Day. Military can find the full list of participating museums at arts.gov/bluestarmuseums.

Blue Star Museums is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in collaboration with Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums nationwide. This is Mid-Continent’s first year in the Blue Star program.

The free admission program is available for those currently serving in the United States Military—Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard as well as members of the Reserves, National Guard, U.S. Public Health Commissioned Corps, NOAA Commissioned Corps, and up to five family members. Qualified members must show a Geneva Convention common access card (CAC), DD Form 1173 ID card (dependent ID), or a DD Form 1173-1 ID card for entrance into a participating Blue Star Museum.


Discount Details and How to Claim Your Tickets

  • The Blue Star Museums program is limited to active military members and up to five family members. The serving military member need not be present. CAC card, DD Form 1173 ID card, or DD Form 1173-1 ID cards must be presented to the ticket agent.
  • The Blue Star Museums program ends on September 2, 2019.
  • Although the Blue Star program is for active military members only, we haven’t forgotten about retired military personnel! Mid-Continent offers both active and retired military members a discount of $10 off their ticket every day we’re open all season long. Retired military members also can claim a free coach ticket during our Stars & Stripes Special weekend.
  • Free or discounted tickets are valid toward coach car seating. Discounts not valid toward caboose, locomotive, or onboard dining tickets.
  • Free or discounted tickets must be purchased at the ticket window and are not available through the online reservation system.

About Mid-Continent Railway Museum

Mid-Continent Railway Historical Society–also known as Mid-Continent Railway Museum–is an outdoor, living museum and operating railroad recreating the small town/short line way of life during the “Golden Age of Railroading,” with operating trains, educational exhibits, and displays of restored rolling stock. Mid-Continent has operated at North Freedom, Wisconsin since 1963.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit arts.gov to learn more.

About Blue Star Families
Blue Star Families builds communities that support military families by connecting research and data to programs and solutions, including career development tools, local community events for families, and caregiver support. Since its inception in 2009, Blue Star Families has engaged tens of thousands of volunteers and serves more than 1.5 million military family members. With Blue Star Families, military families can find answers to their challenges anywhere they are. For more information, visit bluestarfam.org.

Mid-May 2019 Boiler Progress

Here are the latest photos of C&NW #1385’s new boiler, courtesy of Continental Fabricators in St. Louis. The photos were taken on May 20, 2019.

The backhead stays are all installed and they are currently completing welding on them.

backheadThe right and left side sheet stays are progressing as well.

The large horizontal braces that were previously attached to the outsides of the side sheets and backhead are now being removed as progress continues. The braces were installed temporarily to prevent warping from the heat generated during welding.

The throat sheet – the sheet that connects the firebox to the bottom of the boiler barrel – has all of its rigid stays installed and is in the process of welding.

 

Seeley Creek Bridge Completed

Passengers Take First Trip Across New Bridge

On Saturday, May 11, 2019, Mid-Continent Railway Museum celebrated the first crossing of its new bridge over Seeley Creek bridge. The bridge measures nearly 100 feet in length and is located along Mid-Continent’s train ride route near the quiet unincorporated town of La Rue – once a bustling iron mining community.

Museum members and the public were invited aboard the first train to cross the bridge, which departed the North Freedom depot at 11 AM. Local government representatives and project contractors were joined by museum leaders in the train’s first-class cars. After the crossing, the train stopped just clear of the bridge to allow invited guests to view the bridge up close while project leaders gave a brief speech before the train continued on its way.

New Seeley Creek Bridge.Taken May 3, 2019. MCRM Photo.

 

 

At a total cost of over $800,000, the bridge represents one of the larger infrastructure improvements ever undertaken by the organization in its 60-year history and comes less than a year after the completion of a major rehabilitation of the museum’s other bridge over the Baraboo River, which itself was a nearly $700,000 project. The two projects were made possible thanks to major financial support from private foundations and individuals and the Sauk County Economic Development Committee.

Balancing History with Usability

The new bridge, made of concrete and steel, replaces a wooden trestle that had been in use since 1927. Decay of the wooden components over time had weakened the structure. The bridge had been closely monitored by structural engineers and it was expected that the weight limit would need to be lowered within a matter of few years. This would have effectively closed the bridge to all train traffic.

One of Mid-Continent Railway Museum’s “Santa Express” trains rolls over the former Seeley Creek trestle on December 2, 2018, the final day of use of the wooden trestle. MCRM Photo.

Repairing the existing bridge was an option, but the shorter lifespan of wooden components would have locked Mid-Continent into a continuing cycle of expensive maintenance on the bridge every 20-30 years. Finding a design that could easily withstand flash flooding on Seeley Creek was also an important consideration due to increasing numbers of extreme weather events in recent years. Lastly, the anticipated return of steam locomotive operation to Mid-Continent’s rail line also meant that fire-resistance had to be considered as well. Given these factors, museum leaders looked to long-lasting and relatively maintenance-free steel and concrete bridges as the safest and most economical choice.

Ballast-deck design bridges began to appear in common use on the Chicago & North Western Railway in the 1920s. The general design has remained largely unchanged since that time and many such bridges constructed in that era remain in use today. The new Seeley Creek bridge is expected to not require more than minor maintenance during its first 100 years. Cosmetic details of the bridge such as the shape of the concrete tubs, pier caps, and reinforcing walls were modeled after designs of the 1920s versus more current designs to keep the bridge’s appearance as era-appropriate as possible.

This ex-Chicago & North Western Railway Bridge over South Blvd. in Baraboo, Wis. was built in 1928. It was one of many such ballast-deck bridges that inspired the design of the new Seeley Creek bridge. MCRM photo.

With the new Seeley Creek bridge and rehabilitated Baraboo River bridge both complete, Mid-Continent Railway Museum can look forward to offering historic train rides for many decades to come without any major investments in bridge maintenance.

Related Posts

Seeley Creek Bridge Replacement Underway

DULUTH Fundraising Status

Created using the Donation Thermometer plugin https://wordpress.org/plugins/donation-thermometer/.$75,000$34,609‘Thanks46% Other Donors ($21,359) SLHTS ($1,250) Dailey Foundation ($3,000)Emery Trust ($9,000)

A $75,000 fundraising effort is presently underway to allow major material acquisition and some labor cost for the DULUTH to allow its restoration to move forward. This post will be updated on occasion to show progress toward reaching that goal.

To help Mid-Continent restore the DULUTH to its former glory, please consider making a donation to the DSS&A Sleeper DULUTH Fund. Donating is tax-deductible and easy to do. You can make your donation via mail or donate online using the Donate button.



Be sure to write in “DSS&A Sleeper DULUTH Fund” on the printable donation form or check memo line if sending a donation by mail. Credit/debit card donations can also be accepted via phone at 608-522-4261 or 800-930-1385 by speaking to our staff during administrative office hours Monday-Saturday.

Fundraising total shown is as of May 1, 2019.

DULUTH Progress Update May 2019

Fred B. has spent the past few months reproducing the six missing berth partitions and lower berth seat backs for the DSS&A DULUTH Sleeping car. The berth partitions are an integral component for the berths as they support the upper berths while also separating each berth in the car. The yellow pine pieces are all custom made per the original partitions in the car and they are recessed into the wall framing, the carlines, and the floor.

In late April Fred began installing the beth partitions in the car as seen in the photos below.

By the end of April, all six berth partitions were secured in place. The seat backs were also placed temporarily. The final installation of the seat backs will occur after additional work is completed inside the car including the reconstruction of the new berth seat ends.

sleeping car partitions and seatbacks

Berth partitions and seatbacks installed in the DSS&A DULUTH sleeping car. April 29, 2019.

Next up… on the weekend of May 18-19 volunteers will once again be working on the air brake piping under the DULUTH. Plans call for completing the trainline, signal line and retainer piping during this work session.