DULUTH Sleeping Car Update and “BUY A BERTH” Fund Drive

DULUTH Restoration – November 2019 Update

Mid-Continent Railway Museum has been working on restoring the oldest and most complete wooden sleeping car in the country to its original beauty and operating condition. Thanks to many supporters and generous donations the car was acquired and moved to the Mid-Continent Railway Museum in September 2016.  Upon arrival, the car was placed on a pair of 6-wheel trucks and within 12 months Mid-Continent volunteers had installed couplers and draft gear. This summer the air brake system including the air brake cylinder, reservoir and all of the air piping was completed. Inside the car, the missing berth partitions and lower berth seatbacks have been replicated and installed.

The next step in the program is to replicate the missing upper and lower berths that will be installed between each of the berth partitions. New berths are required as the past owners removed 8 of the 10 berths from the car over 80 years ago. The upper berths are challenging to reproduce due to their curved shape and the fine marquetry patterns set into mahogany veneer. Fortunately, we have located a master woodworker and marquetry expert in Michigan that have the needed skills and abilities to accurately reproduce the missing berths from the DULUTH.  In order to replicate the missing berths, we must raise $32,000 to get the DULUTH one step closer to being a restored masterpiece.

Introducing the “BUY A BERTH” Fund Drive

To fully restore the sleeping section of the DULUTH, your help is needed to raise $32,000 for replicating the upper and lower berth seat ends. With the “BUY A BERTH” Fund Drive donors can donate towards replicating the eight missing upper or lower berths. With a $1,500 donation (for a lower berth) or a $2,500 donation (for an upper berth) we will be able to get a berth replicated and you’ll have your name associated with one of the berths in the car. Donors that make a donation to the “BUY A BERTH” Fund Drive in the full amount of a berth ($1,500 or $2,500) will have their name placed on a plaque mounted inside the car. All donations less than $1,500 will be pooled together to go towards the cost of replicating a berth.

How You Can Help

Please consider making a donation to the DSS&A sleeper DULUTH “BUY A BERTH” Fund Drive and help put the berths back into the DULUTH sleeping car.

You can donate online by clicking the Donate button. This will take you to our secure PayPal payment portal.




You can also donate by mail by sending a check to:

Mid-Continent Railway Historical Society
PO Box 358
North Freedom, WI 53951

Please be sure to write “DULUTH Sleeper— BUY A BERTH” in your check memo line, in the online donation form, or in the special projects box of our printable donation form.

All donations are tax-deductible.

EJ&S #2 Restoration Update – Oct. 22, 2019

The Mid-Continent Car Shop is just about done for the year so this is a final post for the EJ&S No. 2 for 2019. We made some good progress this year as you can see from the photos of both sides of the No. 2. The east side work was finished off except for the letter board and it now has two coats of primer. The west side had new siding, board and battens, and window lintels installed, and the letter board was reinstalled. This side also has two coats of primer now except for the letter board which still needs to have some screw and nail holes filled.

The completion of the exterior (except for the roof) is now in sight. Next year we look forward to having the finish gloss paint on and the lettering applied.

1385’s Boiler Arrives in Wisconsin

With the C&NW 1385’s new boiler fabrication just completed, Mid-Continent Railway Museum wasted no time getting it on the road to Wisconsin. The boiler has now joined the running gear at SPEC Machine outside Middleton, Wis., where the locomotive will be reassembled.

The boiler left St. Louis on a truck last night and arrived at SPEC Machine around 2 AM today (September 25, 2019). Crews from SPEC Machine, Ideal Crane, and Mid-Continent Railway Museum’s #1385 Task Force volunteers worked together this morning to safely lift the 41,000 lb. boiler from the trailer onto the locomotive frame. Work wrapped up around 2 PM this afternoon.

We took lots of photos and video and will share a more complete account of the day’s activities along with video in the next day or two once we’ve had an opportunity to edit it all together. In the meantime, here are a few quick photos from today’s activities.

C&NW 1385’s boiler is gently lowered onto the locomotive frame. Jeffrey Lentz photo.


**PLEASE NOTE**
We appreciate the public’s enthusiasm to see the 1385’s progress first-hand; however, the contractor shops where the #1385 work is taking place are private property and not open to the public. Anyone requesting to see the locomotive at those locations will be turned away. Please help #1385 return to operation as expeditiously as possible by respecting our contractors’ wishes.

1385’s Boiler Painted, Ready for Delivery

With the hydro test successfully completed, 1385’s boiler has received a shiny coat of paint on the boiler exterior and it looks great! Most of it will be covered later though by lagging (insulation) and boiler jacketing.

C&NW 1385’s new boiler – painted and ready for delivery. Photo courtesy Continental Fabricators.

The smokebox has also been attached for shipment. The smokebox has only been tack welded in place as it will need to be detached later. It will need to be attached to – and become part of – the cylinder saddle first. Then the boiler is attached to it.

Front view of 1385’s boiler with smokebox attached. Photo courtesy Continental Fabricators.

Sharp-eyed viewers will notice in the smokebox door ring has been bolted in place upside down.  It has just been temporarily fastened in place and it too will be removed and re-added probably multiple times before the locomotive is completed.

With this, the work at Continental Fabricators is complete. Now the boiler will join the cab and running gear at SPEC Machine in Middleton, Wis.

PLEASE NOTE: We appreciate the public’s enthusiasm to see the 1385’s progress first-hand; however, the contractor shops where the #1385 work is taking place are private property and not open to the public. Anyone requesting to see the locomotive at those locations will be turned away. Please help #1385 return to operation as expeditiously as possible by respecting our contractors’ wishes.

C&NW 1385 Boiler Passes Hydro Test

This is our 100th C&NW #1385 steam status update posted to our website and it is a momentous one! The locomotive’s new boiler has passed its hydrostatic test (a.k.a. hydro test). This test affirms the new boiler remains sealed with no leaks while at pressures well in excess of its designed operating pressure.

Pressure gauge showing 300 PSI during 1385’s hydro test. Photo courtesy Continental Fabricators.

This test is conducted by filling the boiler to the point there is no (or practically no) air trapped in the boiler.  Additional water is then pumped in until it reaches the designated test pressure – this can require as little as a few cups of water.  Excluding the air allows the boiler and appurtenances to be safely tested for. If a leak appears the pressure quickly drops by relieving that cup or two of water.

To complete the test, the boiler is then left under pressure for a period of time. An inspector then checks to see if the pressure has dropped. If the pressure has gone down more than a few percentage points, it indicates a significant leak which must be tracked down and corrected. If the pressure does not see a drop by more than a few percentage points, it indicates there are no significant leaks and it passes the test.

The 300 PSI you see on the pressure gauge is 1 ½ times the designed maximum working pressure of the boiler. This is one standard benchmark percentage for testing and helps prove the boiler has a margin of safety when in use.  The 1385’s boiler has been designed for a maximum allowable working pressure (MAWP) of 200 PSI with a minimum safety factor of four.  This means the boiler is designed to withstand pressures of at least four times greater than the MAWP which you can see gives a sizable margin of safety when in use.  The 200-pound pressure also marks a return to the R-1 class locomotives’ design pressure, meaning the engine will be restored to its original capabilities.

 

Up next: Prepare and attach the smokebox and paint the boiler exterior.