2021 COVID-19 Impacts

Mid-Continent Railway Museum is presently closed as part of its normal seasonal closure. After having remained closed for the entirety of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mid-Continent is currently planning to reopen its doors to the public starting on May 8, 2021. Here are some important notices about the planned 2021 season.

Schedule Changes

In response to anticipated decreases in the number of visitors and greater operating challenges during a pandemic, Mid-Continent has reduced its museum and train ride schedule to Saturdays and Sundays only in 2021. Typically Mid-Continent would be open 7-days-a-week during the summer. Please see the Train Ride Info page for full schedule information.

Groups of 20 or people may still be able to be charter a train ride on weekdays between May and October. Please contact our office with any group inquiries.

Increased Likelihood of Cancellations

Due to the evolving pandemic situation, Mid-Continent Railway Museum reserves the right to cancel or alter schedules from those advertised. Please refer to www.midcontinent.org for the most up-to-date schedule information. 

In the event train departures are canceled, reservation-holders will be notified as soon as possible and will be offered a full cash-back refund or the ability to transfer the ticket value to a future departure or a gift card.

Book with Confidence

During the pandemic, we understand that last-minute changes of plans may become necessary due to the need to follow self-isolation protocols, quarantines, or if experiencing the onset of COVID-19 symptoms. For this reason, we have adjusted our cancellation policy. If you need to cancel your booking due to COVID-19 related concerns, please contact us as soon as possible to be offered the greatest flexibility on refunds or rebooking.

Health Safety Precautions

Mid-Continent is in the process of establishing its health and sanitation guidelines for our trains and museum property. More information on this is expected to be made available closer to the museum reopening date as these plans are finalized.

Volunteers and Member Activities

As part of pandemic safety and cost-reduction measures, the Mid-Continent Railway Museum property remains closed to all non-essential personnel through April 3, 2021. No on-site volunteering sessions will occur before that date. Additionally, the member meeting and banquet originally scheduled for April 3, 2021 has been canceled. Upon the return of volunteering sessions, previously adopted social distancing and safety protocols will remain applicable.

Contacting Mid-Continent

To assist with minimizing risk to office staff, our administrative office hours during the winter and early spring are expected to remain very limited. Phone messages, emails, and postal mail are typically read and responded to within two business days.

Mid-Continent to Remain Closed for Remainder of 2020

For the safety of our patrons, volunteers, and staff as the pandemic continues in Wisconsin and across the nation, Mid-Continent Railway Museum will remain closed for the remainder of 2020. This closure includes the cancellation of all train rides, tours, and special events including Vintage Rail Car Tours, Harvest Limited, Autumn Color Weekend, Pumpkin Special, and Santa Express. The museum displays will also remain closed to the public.

Mid-Continent Railway Museum is a seasonal operation that closes each winter. This means the Museum’s reopening and return of train rides are presently scheduled to take place on Saturday, May 8, 2021, although this too is subject to change if necessary.

We are saddened to have not been able to welcome visitors to explore railroad history at Mid-Continent this year and hope you will plan to join us next year. You can stay up-to-date with any future announcements, restoration updates, and more by subscribing to Mid-Continent emails.

Impacts on Volunteer Sessions and Member Events

As part of the Mid-Continent’s closure for the remainder of 2020, the following changes are in effect.

  • Volunteer work sessions organized by department superintendents can continue as they are now until September 20, 2020. To conserve resources, all museum buildings will be closed to members and departments from September 21, 2020 through May 2021.
  • The Annual Meeting of the Members and banquet scheduled for November 7, 2020 is canceled.

Supporting Mid-Continent During the Pandemic Closure

Mid-Continent relies on ticket sales as a primary source of revenue so the COVID-19 pandemic closure has had and will continue to have a significant impact on the organization’s finances. Steps have been taken to minimize operating costs and stretch our available funds as far as possible, but some expenses like insurance premiums, loan payments, and essential maintenance do not go away. Donations made to Mid-Continent’s General Fund will directly help offset these expenses and are greatly appreciated. If you would like to assist Mid-Continent during this time, please visit our Donation page.

MCRM Remains Closed to Public, Volunteer Sessions Set to Resume

Museum and Train Rides Remain Closed

Mid-Continent Railway Museum remains closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Museum’s Board of Directors is meeting regularly to review the latest pandemic data and coordinate changes to Mid-Continent’s practices and procedures that are needed to allow museum operations to safely resume. At this point, no reopening date is set; however, it known that Mid-Continent will remain closed at least through the month of August.

Volunteer Work Sessions to Resume June 6th

Starting Saturday June 6th, Mid-Continent members will be allowed to return to museum property to volunteer in the shops and facilities. For now, only Mid-Continent members will be allowed to volunteer. Non-members looking to volunteer will either need to wait for restrictions to be lifted or must join as a member before attending a work session.

Members will be required to follow guidelines laid out by the department superintendent, foreman, or project manager and must sign up in advance for work sessions to make sure sessions do not exceed 10 participants as well as to make sure they receive important notices about safety. More information is available on the Members Webpage.

Instructions for how to access the members’ webpage can be found on the front of each Steamer! newsletter and the back cover of each Mid-Continent Railway Gazette magazine.

Supporting Mid-Continent During this Crisis

Train ride ticket sales represent the largest portion of Mid-Continent Railway Museum’s annual income. The extension of the closure will cause a significant financial strain on the museum. Please consider supporting Mid-Continent in one of the following ways:

Mid-Continent is an independently operated 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational corporation and is not funded by the state or any other government entity. All donations are tax-deductible.

Thank you for your understanding and support during this time. We look forward to welcoming you back aboard in the future!

Originally posted: June 1, 2020
Last updated: June 29, 2020

Coronavirus Update: MCRM Closed Until Further Notice

Closure Update

UPDATE: The Wisconsin Supreme Court’s strike-down of the Governor Ever’s Safer-at-Home order on May 14th has not changed the closed status of Mid-Continent Railway Museum. Safety is always our first concern when it comes to our visitors and volunteers. Despite the absence of a state order, Mid-Continent is remaining closed until we are confident we can welcome visitors back safely.


On May 5th, Mid-Continent’s Board of Directors voted unanimously to keep the Museum closed to the public until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This action was necessary to protect our employees, members, and visitors from contracting the virus while at the Museum.

The Board will re-evaluate on a month-by-month basis when it will be safe to open the museum and coach train rides again to the public.

During the closed period, all buildings and display areas will be inaccessible to the public. There will be no train rides or dining services. Any passengers with reservations on upcoming trains will be contacted and offered full refunds.

Due to higher exposure risk while eating and the very limited ability to social distance within our dining cars, all onboard dining trains are canceled for the remainder of 2020.

Supporting Mid-Continent During this Crisis

Train ride ticket sales represent the largest portion of Mid-Continent Railway Museum’s annual income. The extension of the closure will cause a significant financial strain on the museum. Please consider supporting Mid-Continent in one of the following ways:

Mid-Continent is an independently operated 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational corporation and is not funded by the state or any other government entity. All donations are tax-deductible.

Thank you for your understanding and support during this time. We look forward to welcoming you back aboard in the future!

Restoration Work Sessions and Operating Department Training Canceled

Due to the continuing risk posed by the Coronavirus pandemic, the following changes have been made to scheduled volunteer opportunities.

  • All Restoration Department work sessions are canceled until further notice.
  • The new Trainman training course has been canceled. This course may be rescheduled for a later date in 2020.
  • The new Conductor training course for 2020 has been canceled and is not expected to be offered this year.

For specific questions relating to these program cancelations, contact the department superintendent or department manager.