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.

Coronavirus Update: MCRM to Remain Closed through June 5th

For the safety of our visitors, volunteers and employees during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, Mid-Continent Railway Museum has taken the proactive step of delaying the start of its 2020 operating season. Previously, Mid-Continent was to open to the public on weekends starting May 9th. This change means the museum will now remain closed to the public through Friday, June 5th. The new season opening date is Saturday, June 6th. This too may be subject to change as the situation develops.

What this Means for Museum Guests

  • All scheduled trains during the month of May are canceled, including Coach/Caboose trains, the May 9th Pizza Train and Elegant Dinner Train, and the May 10th Mother’s Day Brunch Trains.
  • Any persons with reservations for trains in May will be contacted within the next few days. Affected individuals will be offered a refund, the option to reschedule to a future departure, or the ability to apply the balance to a gift card good toward future visits.
  • The museum property, including all displays and gift shop will be closed to the public through June 5th. Please note the museum property is not public land. It is trespassing to enter museum property while closed.

If You Need to Contact Mid-Continent Staff

  • As long as the State of Wisconsin’s “Safer at Home” order is in effect [currently May through 26th] and possibly longer, the museum’s administrative office will remain closed for the safety of our employees. Phones will not be staffed; however, voicemail messages will be checked regularly and responded to within 2 business days. To leave a voice message for museum staff, call 608-522-4261.
  • Museum email addresses will continue to be monitored and responded to, including the museum’s general email address: inquiries@midcontinent.org. Email is the best method of communication during this time.
  • All U.S. Postal Service mail sent to Mid-Continent continues to be checked and processed like normal.

Additional Impacts on 2020 Schedule

Further changes to the 2020 schedule including additional cancellations may be required as the timeline of the pandemic and its impact on tourism becomes clearer. Please check back on our website for the latest schedule information before your visit. Persons with reservations will be contacted if their departure is impacted.

What this Means for Museum Volunteers

The State of Wisconsin’s “Safer at Home” order is currently set to expire at 8:00 AM on April 24th but may be extended. [UPDATE 4/16/2020: The “Safer at Home” order has been extended through 8:00 AM on May 26th]. During the time the order is in effect no departments will be allowed to work on projects on Mid-Continent property. This order includes staying in private rail cars.

 

Thank you for your understanding and stay healthy.

Sincerely,

The Mid-Continent Railway Historical Society President & Office Staff