DSS&A Sleeping Car DULUTH Fund Drive Begins

The Car:

Duluth South Shore & Atlantic sleeping car “DULUTH” is one of a series of five 10-section sleeping cars built by The Barney & Smith Car Company of Dayton, Ohio in 1902.  The car is of all wood construction, with varnished mahogany interior, fine marquetry throughout, stained glass windows and green plush upholstery. In addition to the sleeping section the car features a stateroom, a smoking room as well as men and women lavatories. The car was used on the DSS&A’s North Country Mail (between Duluth, MN and Sault Ste. Marie) and remained in active service until 1934. The car left the DSS&A in December 1934 when it was sold to a Michigan resident and hauled to the shores of Lake Superior where it has been used as a summer cottage for the past 80 years.


The current owners recognizing the significance and the fine condition of the car approached Mid-Continent about donating the DULUTH to the museum. The MCRM Restoration Department inspected the car and determined it to be an outstanding addition to Mid-Continent’s Collection of wooden cars. The MCRHS Collection Committee recommended to accept the donation of the DULUTH and the Board of Directors accepted the recommendation at the December 12, 2015 meeting.

DULUTH diagram

DSS&A “DULUTH” car diagram


The immediate goal is to raise $35,000 for moving this remarkable car to North Freedom in the summer of 2016. Once at North Freedom, the car will be placed on trucks and initial restoration efforts will be focused on acquiring the appropriate 6-wheel trucks for the car, installing draft gear and steps on the car. A comprehensive restoration plan will be developed and fundraising will continue with restoration work proceeding in a staged manner. Ultimately, the restored car will provide Mid-Continent with a very unique and rare passenger car that can be used on special occasions, placed on display or included in Mid-Continent’s Wooden Car Tours events.


Help Mid-Continent bring this rare and unique car to Mid-Continent by making a donation. We need your help to raise the $35,000 by May 15, 2016. Please consider making a donation to the DSS&A sleeper DULUTH Fund and help bring the DULUTH sleeping car to its new home.

UPDATE May 5, 2016:

Thanks to the support of donors like you, we have successfully raised the funds necessary to bring the DULUTH to Mid-Continent Railway Museum. Preparations are presently underway to move the DULUTH to its new home.

Despite the car’s overall excellent condition, some restoration work will still be necessary. For this reason, donations toward the DSS&A sleeper DULUTH Fund continue to be accepted.


Created using the Donation Thermometer plugin https://wordpress.org/plugins/donation-thermometer/.$35,000$35,000100%

Make your donation via mail using our printable donation form or donate online using the form on our Donation page. Be sure to write in “DSS&A sleeper DULUTH Fund” on both the printed and online forms. Credit/debit card donations can be accepted by phone at 608-522-4261 or 800-930-1385 during museum office hours. All donations are tax-deductible.

Last updated May 5, 2016

DULUTH photo collage

C&NW #1385 Wins Grant from John H. Emery Rail Heritage Trust

Mid-Continent Railway Museum’s restoration of Chicago & North Western #1385 was recently named one of the winners of the first ever round of grants offered by the John H. Emery Rail Heritage Trust. The grant gives the C&NW 1385 project a $10,000 boost toward the production of a new boiler. A new boiler is major component of the 1907 locomotive’s overhaul to make it steam-worthy well into the 21st century.

check presentation

Tom Sharratt and Naurine Lennox present a $10,000 check from Emery Rail Trust to Mid-Continent Railway Museum, accepted by museum President Jeff Bloohm. The grant is in support of Chicago & North Western #1385’s new boiler.

Sometimes referred to as Mid-Continent’s “ambassador of steam,” the C&NW #1385 was the first steam locomotive ever operated by Mid-Continent Railway Museum in 1963. In the 1980s it was used by the Chicago & North Western Railway as their goodwill ambassador to the public, traveling extensively on the C&NW network and bringing operating railroad history to many thousands of people in their hometowns. At Mid-Continent Railway Museum’s North Freedom, Wisconsin location, the locomotive was often seen in service pulling museum visitors up and down the former C&NW branch line which Mid-Continent calls home.

These past achievements and future plans for the locomotive fit perfectly within the goals of the John H. Emery Rail Heritage Trust. Among the criteria Mr. Emery established for the Trust were:

  1. To help re-create and preserve, to the extent possible, the rail passenger travel experience as it was in the U. S. from approximately 1920 through 1960.
  2. To preserve and restore to working order rolling stock and other working artifacts from the “Golden Age” of the U.S. rail passenger service.
  3. The emphasis shall be on organizations that offer the general public an opportunity to ride historically significant equipment over historic rail lines. The Trust may, however, support organizations that would use modern equipment to restore passenger service over historic rails, or to build new rails on which to operate historic equipment in passenger service.

John Emery, a native of Chicago and lover of classic passenger trains, founded the Trust as way to support ongoing efforts to preserve examples of America’s great passenger trains. Emery was a world traveler, visiting over 125 nations. As an avid railway buff both abroad and in the U.S., John rode the rails as often as possible. Utilizing his talents as a businessman, investor, and accomplished writer, he grew to become a great philanthropist, sharing his success through multiple foundations. Emery passed away peacefully in 2012 at the age of 75. Now his legacy lives on through the foundations he established and the Advisory Committee now appointed to continue his philanthropy.

In all, 11 grants totaling $162,500 were awarded in this first series offered by the Emery Rail Heritage Trust. Grant winners spanned the country from Tennessee to New England, New Mexico to Michigan. Among the grant winners were several other steam locomotive restorations, rolling stock, and infrastructure projects.

Summer 2015 Road Closure

Due to the ongoing construction of a US Highway 12 bypass around Baraboo, State Highway 136 in West Baraboo is closed while an interchange is constructed. The closure is expected last until mid-September 2015. Highway 136 is normally the most frequently used route to reach Mid‑Continent Railway … Continue reading

Steam Readiness Auction May 2, 2015

Steam power will soon be a reality once again at Mid-Continent. As part of the Steam-Readiness Program, certain items that do not fit the focus or needs of the museum will be offered at auction.

Open House – May 1, 2015 — 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Auction – May 2, 2015 — 10:00 a.m.

at North Freedom, Wisconsin


With ‘Full Steam Ahead’ the museum is offering many years of hidden treasures that do not fit the time period or focus under which the museum operates.

Included in the auction will be rolling stock, equipment, car and engine parts, rail, steam engine tires, and a large assortment of artifacts and memorabilia from C&NW, Soo Line, Canadian National, Illinois Central, Milwaukee Road, Burlington Northern, Monon, Rock Island, Baltimore & Ohio,  and many other railroads.  Items to be auctioned will be of interest to railroad museums, railroad companies, and all railroad enthusiasts.

Rolling Stock:  2 steam locomotives, caboose, Mt. Harvard coach/sleeper car, CN coach car, AC&Y cars, steam wrecker/cranes, tender, American crane.

Equipment and Parts:  Wheel lathe, LeRoi Self-Propelled Air Compressor, Grade-All Excavator, GMC truck, portable steam boiler, and much more.

Artifacts and Memorabilia: Many lanterns, conductor hats, collectible framed photos, old wall phones and teletype, old suitcases, some railroad dining china, boxes of date nails, many old timetables from various railroads, railroad dining menus, old railroad operations paperwork, and much more.

Other:  Large 12-ft wide metal ‘Chicago Great Western Freight Office’ outdoor sign, Elevated crossing shanty, HO model train sets (brass, Disney, and Marklin).

Final listing of items may change due to logistics and other considerations.



TERMS: 10 % Buyers Fee. Online bidder’s 13% buyer’s fee, 3% Convenience Fee for all Credit / Debit card (Master, Discover & Visa Cards) payments. No Tax Cash or Check, Positive Photo ID required, Bank letter of guarantee for all rolling stock paying with a check. $50 Fee on all Returned Checks. Everything sold AS-IS. No Refunds. Announcements made the day of auction have precedence over prior advertisements. All items must be removed day of sale, except rolling stock has 30 days and  must be prescheduled for pick-up.
UNITED COUNTRY HAMELE AUCTION & REALTY & UNITED COUNTRY BILL PERKINS AUCTION & REALTY: 1325 W. Wisconsin St. Portage, WI 53901 608-742-5000 Registered Wisconsin Auctioneers: Travis Hamele #2224 Pardeeville, WI. 608-697-3349, Bill Perkins #1956 Avalon, WI 608-755-1802

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