May 14, 2023
Dear Mid-Continent Railway Historical Society Members,
I hope you are all doing well as the weather is changing from spring to summer. With the change of weather comes another exciting season at Mid-Continent. This year we will be celebrating our 60th anniversary on May 27th with lots of special activities on the grounds so make sure to mark your calendar and come out to spend the day with us. This spring we have been very busy preparing the museum for opining season. Just because it is cold out does not mean the work stops. This is just a small list of some of the more major accomplishments that have happened since our last progress report.
- Trainman classes were held.
- The new batteries were installed in MCRY #7 (1944 Alco S-1 locomotive)
- Brake testing of our cars for operation.
- Restoration Department was awarded $5,000.00 NRHS grant for the East Jordan Combine Car.
- Restoration Department was awarded a $10,000.00 Emery Rail Heritage Trust Grant for the Duluth car.
- Purchased and set up a new planer in the car shop.
- Completed the two platforms on LS&I #64. New end beams, new steps, new platform deck, and rebuilt buffers.
- Completed the installation of the headliner panels and berth partition in the Duluth.
- Purchased a scaffold platform to assist with performing roof work on the end of cars.
- Repair track and replace ties on the track damaged behind the restoration building.
- Rail relay project replacing the 70-pound rail with 100-pound rail between the North Freedom yard and Ulrich Road. Also, the S curves at LaRue. This included almost 2 truck loads of new ties. New ballast and raising the road bead some 2 inches.
- C&NW #1385 Painting of parts for the fire box.
- C&NW #1385 working on the form 4 for our hydro inspection. (Work in progress)
- Rebuilding the steam engineer/fireman training program. (Work in progress)
- Montana Western #31 The engine has been unhooked from the car and is ready to be removed for rebuilding.
- Gift shop has ordered new inventory and been pricing and getting the shop ready for opening.
- D&R #9 (Steam Locomotive) removed the generator and is getting prepared for painting.
- Shay locomotive, Contract written, and scope of work covered with contractors. We did meet the matching grant with the support of the members.
- MCRY #1256 (Baldwin RS-4-TC-A1 locomotive) and MCRY #4 (General Electric 45-ton locomotive) prepared for service.
- The DL&W #425 coach/baggage car roof has been repainted.
Projects coming up we will need funding for and laborers. (Short Term)
- DM&IR #C-74 caboose exterior repair and repaint.
- Volunteers to sign up and participate in the 5-day “ALL HANDS ON DECK” restoration event June 21st-25th.
- Work on the side bearings of the Domtar #1001 (1949 EMD NW2)
- Working with engineering on cleaning up and organizing the property around the engineering building.
- LS&I car #64 Complete stripping the old finish off the interior woodwork and strip the paint of the car ends and install the car siding.
- EJ&S #2 Paint the upper and lower roof decks. Install and paint the canvas roof. Complete the deck window screens.
- Complete Goodman Shay #9 Jacketing painting wiring and headlight.
- D&R #9 Finish painting and lettering the tender.
- Finish our archives area off in the office building.
- Siding and window repair for the depot.
- Come up with a plan to save the crossing tower.
- Come up with a plan to save the LaRue station structure.
- Power wash the exterior of the office building.
Large Project We Need Help With
Canadian National #5375 and Chicago Rock Island and Pacific #1094 cars have had ownership given back to the museum. The museum has removed these cars from the collection due to the amount of work and funding needed and the lack of storage for these cars. We need your help! We will remove a few items from these cars for our working fleet then the cars will be scrapped. We have attempted selling and even giving the cars away for several years with no luck. If you know of any other museum that has the ability to and desire to take cars, please contact our office. We will not be reaching out to others and doing all the leg work – if you have a suggestion for a new home, be prepared to personally do the legwork to coordinate the transfer. They are here and available for $1.00 for a final chance. If we cannot find them a home by the closing of our season, we will make arrangements with a scrapper.
I will not get into some of the longer-term projects here. Management and the board are working on a list of larger projects, and we don’t want to take on more than we can accomplish with good results. As you all know our limitations are funding and labor.
I want to thank you all for your help and support at the museum. Remember you can support the museum in many ways and just a few cannot do all the work. If you feel you can help or even want to support a project, reach out to our friendly office staff, and let them know what you would be interested in. This is our 60th anniversary and is just the beginning.
Help Add Special Events to Mid-Continent’s Calendar
Fellow members and volunteers, Owen Hughes and Nancy Kaney, have started a project called Special Events and are looking for your help. The goal of Special Events is to get groups (cars, trucks, motorcycles, others?) to put MCRM on their agenda. These groups might then attract other people to stop by. You can help by sending contact information of a group you are acquainted with. Please send to Owen at firstname.lastname@example.org or Nancy at email@example.com. Special Events will then send the group a letter, brochure, etc. to get the ball rolling on their visit. If you have any other ideas or suggestions, send it along. The only thing Special Events is not interested in is hosting animal-based events. Thanks for your help.
Spring Fling a Success
On May 6th, Mid-Continent held a “Spring Fling,” the return of an event from the past geared toward first-time volunteers. The day involved numerous departments having open volunteer sessions on the same day, giving new volunteers a chance to try out numerous areas of volunteering within the span of hours with the hopes of catching their interest enough to make them choose to become a recurring volunteer.
Tom Phillips took the reins in organizing the event, coordinating with department leaders to get the ball rolling. In all, more than 60 people attended, including a mix of first-time volunteers and regulars, and even a corporate volunteer team Saputo Cheese of Reedsburg. The day started off at 9 AM by introducing various department leaders who each gave a brief introduction to the work their department followed by jumping right into work. A delicious lunch of sirloin burgers and hot dogs was provided and grilled by Director Bob Anderson.
With many hands makes light work and the list of accomplishments was impressive:
- Lackawanna car nos. 425, 595, and 557, including having their floors repainted and exteriors washed. Director Jeff Huttenburg has also come several times since and has been repainting the roof of #425.
- Coach Sheds 1 and 2 were cleaned, including floors, benches, and windows
- Depot was cleaned inside and out, including the basement
- The Restoration Department on several projects in the Car Shop
- A team cleared brush from along the east end of MCRM’s rail line, around the turntable, and between the office and the museum’s recently acquired bulk plant property, now called Storage Building 2.
- Items were moved and organized between the office attic, Storage Building 1 and Storage Building 2.
- Work was done on the C&NW #1385’s tender and WC&C #1’s engine truck
On Sunday, several volunteers stuck around and did additional painting on Lackawanna #425 plus the DM&IR caboose C-74 was moved inside the Car Shop for siding repair and repainting so it can be used on the train this summer.
Many thanks to those who gave their time to make this event a success.
Donate to Help Get Our Coach Fleet up to Full Strength
Mid-Continent’s four Delaware, Lackawanna & Western coaches are the backbone of the museum’s operating passenger car fleet. Over the last decade, Mid-Continent has been, one at a time, having these cars’ wheels replaced and their trucks rebuilt by a contractor shop as time and funding permit. Additional funds are needed now to complete the repairs to the fourth and final car, DL&W #563. The goal is to have this completed this summer.
We need to raise $50,000 for this crucial work. We’ve been without the use of this coach for too long, and with your help, we will be able to get this project wrapped up in a matter of months.
This is a unique project because your donation helps Mid-Continent not once, but many times! When #563 returns to service, it will unlock extra capacity. This is particularly important at events such as Autumn Color Weekend or Pumpkin Express – events where trains can and do sell out. With #563’s seventy additional seats, the ability to accommodate visitors that would otherwise be turned away is important – both for the visitor who made the journey to visit us, and for Mid-Continent’s ability to generate ticket revenue. The sooner this project is completed, the sooner those benefits will be felt. Will you join in on this worthy project?
To make a donation, please use the provided donation form and self-addressed return envelope (don’t forget to add a stamp). Thank you for your consideration and generosity.