EJ&S #2 Awarded Grant from Tom E. Dailey Foundation

Mid-Continent Railway Museum is happy to announce the museum has been awarded a $1,500 grant from the Tom E. Dailey Foundation. This grant will assist Mid-Continent with creating reproductions of the original coach seat design to appear in the historic East Jordan & Southern #2 passenger car, the oldest railcar in Mid-Continent Railway Museum’s collection.

EJ&S No. 2 was originally built in 1864 as coach 112 for the Grand Trunk Railway of Canada. It was purchased in 1902 by the EJ&S and was operated on that railroad until abandonment in 1961. After purchase by a private party, the coach was donated and moved to the Mid-Continent Railway Museum in 1963. Exterior restoration is nearly complete after five years of volunteer work. Attention is now turning to the car’s interior. Blinds and window sash have been reproduced and refinishing of the interior is now in progress.

The next step in the restoration, and the most costly, is the production of replacement seats. Reproduction coach seats are required because all seats were removed when the East Jordan & Southern ended regular passenger service in 1946.

The seat ends are ornate cast iron of a design patented by George Buntin which is different than the seats found in other cars at the museum. Volunteers plan to build the wooden frames for the seat backs and seat bottoms. Finally, upholstery work will be done professionally by a skilled contractor. This grant from the Tom E. Dailey Foundation will help begin the process of making the seat backs and bottom cushions. Work on the wooden frames and seat cushions is anticipated to take place this winter with upholstery expected to be completed in 2021.

East Jordan & Southern #2 was among the first cars acquired by Mid-Continent Railway Museum and was used as a ticket office during the museum’s first year of operations at North Freedom as seen in this 1963 photo. The car is currently receiving a comprehensive restoration in Mid-Continent Railway Museum’s Car Shop. Ron Jones photo.

ALSO SEE:  Mid-Continent’s Equipment Roster page for EJ&S #2 

EJ&S #2 Restoration Update – November 11, 2020

Even with the somewhat shortened restoration work season volunteers made significant progress on No. 2. Starting with the exterior, the west side letter was completed with the filling of screw and nail holes, sanding and priming. The east side letter board required patching, installation, and fabrication of the north end extension which was missing. That was followed by filling, sanding and more priming to complete the letter board. The north end drip boards were also installed.

Three of the four platform steps have been taken apart and are in the process of being rebuilt. Work was also started on cleaning up the trucks. We were surprised to fine remnants of pinning striping probably dating to the 1902 refurbishment by Hicks Locomotive and Car.

North end truck. Note pin striping with the blue tape protecting more.

In the last half of the summer work moved to the interior. The east side wall boards had previously been dismantled. The paint was stripped from the boards and the wall is in the process of being rebuilt.

East side interior. The wall is rebuilt below the window sill and work was started above the window sill.

Much of the paint on the west side wall has also been removed although the wood needs to be cleaned up with chemical stripper. Also work was done on the floor to replace some bad wood and missing boards.

West side interior. Pink primed board is a new replacement.

Finally, all the clerestory windows were removed. The stained glass will be remounted in new frames during the winter months.

I have plenty of work to do a home over the winter. Hopefully we will have more in shop work time next year.

Update provided by Peter Becker

DULUTH Update: Spring 2020

by William Buhrmaster, MCRM Restoration Dept. Manager

Although we’re not currently able to work on the DULUTH as planned due to the Coronavirus shutdown there still is some progress and news to report on.

Work inside the DULUTH took place during work sessions in February and March. Stu M. lead a crew of volunteers removing the deteriorated headlining panels in the sleeping section of the car. The panels have all been removed and the roof boards and carlines have now been exposed. From inside the car the lower roof boards and carlines look to be in very good condition with the exception of a few carlines and boards on the east side of the car.

I recently received an email from Bob Berghorst reporting that he has the mahogany veneer applied to the seat ends and he has received the first of the newly cast brass claw feet.  Bob is getting eight claw feet cast for the four seat ends that he is making. There are eight claw feet in the car and four claw feet were acquired from the Sault Ste. Marie last year when we acquired two of the seat ends from the SSM.

One of four original claw feet from the Sault Ste. Marie car, before and after cleaning and polishing for use in the DULUTH.

With a tip from Pete B., I recently purchased a Barney & Smith corner sink off of eBay. The sink came at a very reasonable price and the buyer generously donated the shipping cost from California. The sink is close to what we need in the smoking room with the exception that it does have a provision for a drinking water tank. We can use the sink in the DULUTH unless a better or more appropriate sink surfaces down the road. Photos of the sink are attached.

Barney & Smith sink purchased on eBay for use in the DULUTH’s smoking room.

I have also completed the restoration of the nine coach lamp roof vents that were donated to MCRM last summer thanks to Bob K.’s sister and brother in-law’s efforts in North Dakota last summer. With seven lamps in the car and two vents per lamp we are still in search of five more vents.

before view of roof vent with rust and peeling paint and after view of vent painted black

Before and after view of a coach lamp roof vent. The vent was salvaged from a car in North Dakota and restored for use on the DULUTH.

That’s the latest.

DULUTH Sleeping Car “Buy a Berth” Fund Drive Reaches Goal

Mid-Continent’s efforts to fully restore one of the nation’s oldest and most intact railroad sleeping cars just got one step closer to reality. In late January 2020, Mid-Continent Railway Museum achieved the goal set forth four months earlier when the “Buy a Berth” fund drive was announced. The goal was to raise $32,000 to cover the cost of replicating the car’s berths as part of the car’s restoration back to its original appearance and making it mechanically operational. Mid-Continent is extremely pleased and thankful for the generous support that donors have provided for this fund drive.

When the sleeping car, named DULUTH, is complete it will be a rare time capsule demonstrating what long-distance overnight rail travel was like over a century ago. The car is what is known as a 10-section sleeper. In addition to a private stateroom, a smoking room, and washrooms, the car’s main feature was a central room with 10 compartments. The compartments contained seats by day and were converted to beds at night. Each compartment had an upper and lower berth where passengers would sleep as their train traveled the Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic Railway between Duluth, Minnesota, through northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Two sets of the original berths survived, but the eight other sets of berths were removed over 80 years ago when the car was retired from railroad service and moved to the shores of Lake Superior where it was used as a family’s summer cottage.

people listening to tour guide

A tour group views the DULUTH in Sept. 2019. New berth partitions between sleeping compartment sections were fitted in 2019 in preparation for the reproduction of the car’s missing berths. MCRM photo.

In 2015 the car was donated by its owners and moved to North Freedom, Wisconsin. The small town of just 701 people is home to Mid-Continent Railway Museum which boasts a nationally-renowned wooden railcar collection and restoration program. Railroads used railcars primarily built out of wood until the early 1900s when manufacturers transitioned to primarily steel construction. Mid-Continent is home to one of the largest collection of wooden railroad passenger cars in the country.

The original berths featured expertly crafted woodwork including curved shapes and marquetry patterns set within the mahogany veneer. To replace the intricate woodwork and patterns, Mid-Continent Railway Museum turned to help from a master woodworker and a marquetry expert. The craftsmen began working on the project soon after donations from the fund drive began coming in. As the fund drive wraps up, work on the berths is already well underway. The upper berths are completed but awaiting finishing (stain and varnish). The lower seat ends are still in the process of being fabricated. The following photos by William Buhrmaster taken on January 28, 2020, illustrate the current status of the berths and lower berth seat ends.

man next to patterned berth

Bob Berghorst shows the fine marquetry on one of the completed upper berths for the DULUTH during a visit to his shop on January 28, 2020.

Thank you to everyone who bought a berth!

The DULUTH has already seen a great deal of progress since it arrived at Mid-Continent Railway Museum. The wheels and trucks – the assembly that holds the wheels – were removed from the car along with the berths when it became a cottage. Replacements wheels and trucks from a similar car were procured and installed upon the DULUTH’s arrival at the museum. Similarly, replacement draft gear – the parts that allow connecting railcars together – and the air brake equipment have also been salvaged from other cars and installed on the DULUTH.

Many hours of work still lay ahead for the Mid-Continent volunteers leading the restoration effort. The men’s washroom and smoking room were removed to make way for a kitchen when the car was used as a cottage and still requires restoration, along with things like light fixtures, upholstery, flooring, and many other details.

Mid-Continent Railway Museum is seeking donations to help with the restoration of these other areas of the DULUTH. To make a donation or see the current overall DULUTH fundraising status, check out our earlier post titled DULUTH Fundraising Status.

Members of the Soo Line Historical & Technical Society tour through the Mid-Continent Car Shop, including through the DSS&A DULUTH sleeping car (at left) on Sept. 13, 2019. MCRM photo.

 

 

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 [FUND DRIVE COMPLETED AS OF JAN. 29, 2020]

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

UPDATE: The “Buy a Berth” Fund Drive was completed on Jan. 29, 2020. Donations are still needed for other areas of the DULUTH’s restoration. Consider helping us reach our $75,000 goal for the DULUTH’s other restoration needs

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” 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. Any donations received in excess of the Buy A Berth Fund Drive goal amount will be used to assist with other areas of the DULUTH’s restoration.