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 

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