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

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

Please consider making a donation to the DSS&A sleeper DULUTH “BUY A BERTH” Fund Drive and help put the berths back into the DULUTH sleeping car.

You can donate online by clicking the Donate button. This will take you to our secure PayPal payment portal.




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— BUY A BERTH” 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.

Coach Shed #2 to Open September 21st

The biggest expansion of indoor exhibit space at Mid-Continent Railway Museum in 43 years is set to officially open on September 21, 2019. The Laurence Dorcy Building, also known as Coach Shed #2, will add 10,500 sq. ft. of indoor display space to the museum and is planned to hold ten pieces of rolling stock.

Starting at 1:00 PM on September 21st, the new building will be opened up for all museum members and visitors to explore and enjoy. The building will be open each day thereafter when trains are operating (see Train Ride Info page for full schedule). Admission to the self-guided museum, including Coach Shed #2 is free – only train rides require a ticket purchase. Join us for opening day, or for a behind-the-scenes tour inside normally locked areas, visit us on October 5th and 6th for our Vintage Rail Car Tours event.

A walkway inside Coach Shed #2. Wisconsin Fish Commission #2, aka “Badger #2” on the left and Lake Superior & Ishpeming steam locomotive #22 is on the right. MCRM photo.

The rolling stock placed in the new building includes several items that were previously stored outdoors. Exposure to the rain, snow, and sun is the primary cause of degradation of historic railroad equipment. The ability to now keep a larger percentage of Mid-Continent’s collection indoors while still available for public viewing is a great advancement in helping preserve and protect Mid-Continent’s award-winning restorations for future generations.

Wisconsin Fish Commission #2, Mid-Continent’s “Fish Car” is rolled inside Coach Shed #2 in preparation for the building’s opening. MCRM photo.

The locomotive and cars on display in the new building include the following:

Item Type Year Built Status
Great Northern #A-22 Business car 1905 Unrestored
Duluth South Shore & Atlantic #701 Coach car 1902 Unrestored
Montana Western #31 Gas-electric self-powered railcar 1925 Original
Lake Superior & Ishpeming #22 Steam locomotive 1910 Restored, non-operational
Duluth South Shore & Atlantic #996 Gondola car 1899 Restored
Duluth Missabe & Iron Range #7122 Refrigerator car 1912 Restored
Chicago & North Western #10802 Drovers caboose 1909 Restored
Wisconsin Fish Commission #2 Fish car 1912 Restored
Copper Range #60 Coach car 1903 Restored
Copper Range #25 Baggage/Coach car 1903 Restored
Average Age 111 years

Want to learn more about the construction process? View previous construction updates.

Friends & Neighbors Days

Come discover the nationally-renowned railroad museum in your own backyard! Mid-Continent Railway Museum appreciates the support of our nearby communities and wants to thank you with discounted train rides during our FRIENDS & NEIGHBORS DAYS. Residents within the school district of REEDSBURG, … Continue reading

Mid-Continent to Participate in Blue Star Museums

Mid-Continent Railway Museum will offer free admission to military personnel and their families this summer

[NORTH FREEDOM, WIS] – Mid-Continent Railway Museum is pleased to announce it will join museums nationwide in participating in the tenth summer of Blue Star Museums, a program which provides free admission to our nation’s active-duty military personnel and their families this summer. The 2019 program launched on Saturday, May 18, 2019, Armed Forces Day, and ends on Monday, September 2, 2019, Labor Day. Military can find the full list of participating museums at arts.gov/bluestarmuseums.

Blue Star Museums is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in collaboration with Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums nationwide. This is Mid-Continent’s first year in the Blue Star program.

The free admission program is available for those currently serving in the United States Military—Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard as well as members of the Reserves, National Guard, U.S. Public Health Commissioned Corps, NOAA Commissioned Corps, and up to five family members. Qualified members must show a Geneva Convention common access card (CAC), DD Form 1173 ID card (dependent ID), or a DD Form 1173-1 ID card for entrance into a participating Blue Star Museum.


Discount Details and How to Claim Your Tickets

  • The Blue Star Museums program is limited to active military members and up to five family members. The serving military member need not be present. CAC card, DD Form 1173 ID card, or DD Form 1173-1 ID cards must be presented to the ticket agent.
  • The Blue Star Museums program ends on September 2, 2019.
  • Although the Blue Star program is for active military members only, we haven’t forgotten about retired military personnel! Mid-Continent offers both active and retired military members a discount of $10 off their ticket every day we’re open all season long. Retired military members also can claim a free coach ticket during our Stars & Stripes Special weekend.
  • Free or discounted tickets are valid toward coach car seating. Discounts not valid toward caboose, locomotive, or onboard dining tickets.
  • Free or discounted tickets must be purchased at the ticket window and are not available through the online reservation system.

About 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. Mid-Continent has operated at North Freedom, Wisconsin since 1963.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit arts.gov to learn more.

About Blue Star Families
Blue Star Families builds communities that support military families by connecting research and data to programs and solutions, including career development tools, local community events for families, and caregiver support. Since its inception in 2009, Blue Star Families has engaged tens of thousands of volunteers and serves more than 1.5 million military family members. With Blue Star Families, military families can find answers to their challenges anywhere they are. For more information, visit bluestarfam.org.