Mid-Continent Railway Museum has been awarded a $5,000 grant from the National Railway Historical Society. This grant will be utilized for the reproduction of 16 seat bottoms and back cushions needed to complete the restoration of the East Jordan and Southern No. 2 combination car. This car is the oldest in our museum’s collection, and we are thrilled to be able to begin the last step of this car’s restoration journey.
About the East Jordan and Southern No. 2 Car
East Jordan and Southern No. 2 was originally built in Nov. 1864 as first-class coach No. 112 for the Grand Trunk Railroad of Canada and operated between Detroit and Port Huron. The coach was renumbered 585 and received a major rebuild in 1889 to update its appearance and give it new mechanical gear. After refurbishment by Hicks Locomotive and Car works the coach came to the EJ&S in April 1902. In 1919 it was rebuilt as a baggage coach combination car by the EJ&S. The combine remained in service until 1961 when the line was abandoned. East Jordan and Southern No. 2 was acquired by the museum in 1963 and it has been at Mid-Continent for the past 60 years.
EJ&S No. 2 is one of the oldest passenger cars surviving in the United States. While the exterior has been considerably altered by two significant rebuilds, the interior of the passenger section still has the character and woodwork of the 1864 car. The plan is to restore the interior to that of an 1860s car which will be unique among the collection at our museum. No seats were in the car when it arrived at the museum. We must reproduce seats typical of the time which have cast iron frame parts and cushions made with plush mohair upholstery.
Restorations on the EJ&S No. 2 has been progressing since its start in 2014. Work thus far has included replacement of the side sills. Along with the rebuilding of the “east side” wall structure, windows, baggage doors, steps, and end platforms. The siding has been replaced thanks in part to a 2015 grant from the NRHS, and as for the interior woodwork, it has been stripped and is waiting to be refinished.
The remaining work includes installing canvas roof covering, clerestory screens, as well as installation of the window, doors, blinds, and interior hardware. The last step is reproducing and installing the seats in the passenger section of the car, and with help from this grant, it can now move closer to being completed.
How to Help this Project Move Forward
Thanks to the NRHS, we have some additional help in finishing this project. However, the full cost of this project still exceeds the amount we’ve been given. In total, the full cost of the seats will be around $30,750. If you would like to help us reach this goal, please donate at the link below.
About the National Railway Historical Society
The National Railway Historical Society is a non-profit organization that supports the preservation projects of trains, railways and stations with thousands of dollars awarded in Heritage Grants. This organization was founded in 1935 by rail historians and has since grown from a small group of 40 founding members. Today, they have over 13,000 members, who include men and women of all ages. Thus, making it the largest rail preservation and historical society.
About the 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. In 2023 Mid-Continent will be celebrating its 60th anniversary of sharing railroad history with museum visitors.