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.

DULUTH Project Gets Support from SLHTS

Mid-Continent Railway Museum is grateful for the continued support by the Soo Line Historical & Technical Society (SLHTS) to restore the museum’s DULUTH sleeping car. In mid-July 2018, Mid-Continent Railway Museum received a donation of $1,250 from SLHTS to assist with ongoing work on the car.

SLHTS has a history of supporting the acquisition and restoration of Soo Line heritage equipment at Mid-Continent Railway Museum. This new donation is in addition to $600 SLHTS donated for the DULUTH prior to the car’s arrival to aid in transporting the car from the shores of Lake Superior to its new home in North Freedom, Wis. In recent years, SLHTS has also supported projects such as Soo Line caboose #99085, the Soo Line steam locomotive #2645.

Mid-Continent Railway Museum is pleased to join SLHTS in sharing Soo Line’s rich history with present and future generations.

In 1988, Mid-Continent played host to the Soo Line Historical & Technical Society’s annual convention which included a special train ride featuring equipment of Soo Line heritage.

Tom E. Dailey Foundation Awards Grant for DULUTH

We are happy to share that on May 26th, Mid-Continent Railway Museum was awarded a $3000 grant from the Tom E. Dailey Foundation. We are very pleased to receive this grant as it will be combined with the recent Emery Rail Heritage Fund grant (see: DULUTH Project Earns $9000 Grant from ERHT) to help restore interior of the DULUTH sleeping car. The Tom E. Dailey Foundation has previously awarded Mid-Continent grants for our restoration projects, including helping to move the DULUTH to North Freedom in 2016. This grant is a great boost toward our $75,000 fundraising goal for the car’s restoration. The present fundraising balance stands at $27,351 [updated – 7/19/2018] with an overall goal of raising $75,000 to cover material acquisition and some paid labor – to compliment volunteer labor – over the next three years.

Thanks also goes to MCRM volunteer Peter B. for completing and submitting the grant application to the Dailey Foundation.

DULUTH Project Earns $9000 Grant from ERHT

We are very pleased to announce that Mid-Continent Railway Museum has received a $9,000 grant from the John H. Emery Rail Heritage Trust (ERHT). These funds will be used to kick off the interior restoration work in the Duluth South Shore & Atlantic sleeping car “DULUTH”. We sincerely thank the John H. Emery Rail Heritage Trust for their most generous grant. Mid-Continent is seeking donations to match the ERHT grant so the restoration process can move ahead at a faster pace and additional restoration tasks can be performed. Learn more about what’s next for DULUTH.

DSS&A original interior

As-built Interior photo of DSS&A DULUTH.

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Anyone interested in supporting the project is encouraged to make a contribution to the DULUTH Fund so Mid-Continent can restore the DULUTH sleeping car to its former glory. Make your donation via mail or donate online using the Donate button.




Be sure to write in “DSS&A Sleeper DULUTH Fund” on the printed form or check memo line if sending a donation by mail. Credit/debit card donations can also be accepted by phone at 608-522-4261 or 800-930-1385 during museum office hours. All donations are tax-deductible.

Additional information on the country’s oldest and most complete sleeping car can be found on the Duluth South Shore & Atlantic “DULUTH” Roster Page

Grant match fundraising goal announced May 7, 2018.
Grant match fundraising goal achieved on August 11, 2018.

What’s Next for DULUTH?

What’s Next for the DULUTH?

Given the scope of the project and the resources needed to restore the DULUTH, the restoration effort will be a multi-year project that will be executed in phases. Now that the DULUTH is back on 6-wheel trucks and has draft gear, the next step will be to reinstall the brake system. Plans also call for moving the DULUTH into one of the museum’s buildings after the completion of Coach Shed #2 (in 2018) to prevent further deterioration and to assist with restoring the car. A detailed scope of work, tasks, and the restoration schedule are presently in the process of being developed. To kick off the next phase of restoration tasks, a $75,000 fundraising effort is underway to allow major material acquisition and some labor cost during the next three years.

Request For Help

Please consider making a donation to the DSS&A Sleeper DULUTH Fund so Mid-Continent can restore the DULUTH sleeping car to its former glory. Make your donation via mail or donate online using the Donate button.



Be sure to write in “DSS&A Sleeper DULUTH Fund” on the printed form or check memo line if sending a donation by mail. Credit/debit card donations can also be accepted by phone at 608-522-4261 or 800-930-1385 during museum office hours. All donations are tax-deductible.

DSS&A sleeping car Duluth interior, May 2017

DSS&A sleeping car Duluth interior, May 2017.

DSS&A Duluth Sleeping Car floor plan in 1924

DSS&A DULUTH sleeping car floor plan in 1924.

DSS&A Duluth Sleeping Car floor plan as of 2017

DSS&A DULUTH sleeping car floor plan as of 2017 after modifications for use as a summer cabin.