Seeley Creek Bridge Replacement Underway

UPDATE 5/4/2019

Construction of the new Seeley Creek Bridge is functionally complete. Only some minor landscaping and other small details are yet to take place in the coming weeks.

Join us for a first ride over the new bridge on May 11, 2019. The first train will depart North Freedom at 11:00 AM. Due to the step embankment on both sides of the track at the bridge’s location, there will not be a ribbon cutting ceremony. Instead, the train will slow or stop on top of the bridge for a short while to allow viewing from the train and will then continue on its normal schedule to Quartzite Lake and return to North Freedom.

MCRHS members can ride for free during this special trip. Public is also welcome aboard the first train to cross the bridge for the normal coach ticket rate of $20/adult, $17/senior, $15/student, and $10/children (3-12 yrs).

Tickets will be available at the depot ticket window starting at 9:30 AM that day. Tickets can also be purchased online using the Buy Tickets page.


UPDATE 3/20/2019

Construction is on schedule to be completed in time for the start of our season on May 11th. Join us for the first ride across the new bridge on May 11th aboard the 11 AM departure! Head over to the Buy Tickets page to reserve your tickets aboard the first train!


ORIGINAL POST

As our trains travel to Quartzite Lake, a scenic feature is crossing Seeley Creek, which is nestled in a wooded area near La Rue approximately two-thirds of the way to the end of the line at Quartzite Lake. This bridge has been in place on Mid-Continent’s rail line since 1927, serving us well for many, many years.

The piles of this bridge are over 90 years old, and the timber is over 50 years old. There is also a sharp “kink” in the track near the east side of the bridge that cannot easily be fixed with the placement of the existing bridge. In short, it was time for replacement!

bridge on Seeley Creek trestle

The 90+ year old Seeley Creek trestle’s last day in service was during Mid-Continent’s Santa Express event, Dec. 2, 2018. Jeffrey Lentz photo.

Engineering of a new bridge was completed by SW Engineers in fall 2018 and bid requests sent. The low bid was received from Lunda Construction of Black River Falls, WI., and was accepted. Construction began in December, with a completion date expected just prior to the opening of our new season in May of this year.

engineering plan view

Design of new ballast-deck design bridge over Seeley Creek.

The new bridge will be made of steel and concrete, fire resistant, and with new track alignment over the bridge and approaches. Thanks to the new bridge the stream crossing will remain a highlight of the train route for many, many more years!

Full funding for the this new bridge has already been pledged and comes from private foundations and parties, along with a grant from Sauk County.

partially removed trestle

Removal of the old Seeley Creek trestle. Jan. 11, 2019. Jeffrey Lentz photo.

aerial view of bridge site

Aerial view (looking north) of Seeley Creek work site. Jan. 11, 2019. Jeffrey Lentz photo.

Flood Update – September 2, 2018

Waters are steadily receding, although rains during the weekend and coming days will likely slow the rate at which it moves out.

The public is reminded to stay away for the time being. The area is currently unsafe for visitors. Everything is coated in a slick layer of mud and there may be hidden damage to steps, walkways and electrical systems.

Volunteers are reminded to leave everything as-is until FEMA and insurance inspectors arrive on scene.

All trains in the month of September have been cancelled. We’re still assessing whether or not the September 29-30th Vintage Rail Car Tours event will be able to be offered. We’re hoping to fully reopen in time for our October events, but it won’t be determined until we see how quickly the cleanup and repair process goes. After the 2008 flood of a similar magnitude, we were closed for 8 months, so reopening in just 1 month is an ambitious goal to be sure, but one we will try our best to meet.

Rolling stock damage assessment photos from August 31 around 4 PM are shown below. Water was near maximum height.

Based on these photos, it appears 1 or 2 cars had water reach their body and will require more extensive repairs (both are privately owned cabooses). Approximately 56 pieces of equipment had water enter their journal boxes (on their axles) and will require cleaning. That will be a time-consuming but relatively inexpensive process that can be done by volunteers. A total of 55 pieces of equipment, including all cars used for train rides, were either evacuated to the south or positioned on high enough ground to avoid any damage.

2018 Flood - August 31

Photos from the morning of September 2, 2018.

2018 Flood - September 2

Flood Update August 31, 2018

Train Cancellations and Refunds

Mid-Continent Railway Museum is closed until further notice due to flooding.

All trains through at least September 3rd will definitely not run. Also, the September 15th Pizza Train and Wine on the Rails train are cancelled. Further cancellations may be necessary as the water recedes and damage assessments are made to determine the scope of repairs necessary.

If you have a reservation on one of our cancelled trains, you will be contacted by Mid-Continent staff in the coming days and are eligible for a full refund. Please allow a few days for us to contact you. As of Friday morning, there is no power at the museum so refunds cannot be issued and phones may go unanswered as office staff is busy directing recovery efforts.

Photos

Below are photos taken during the day August 30, 2018 as the waters continued to rise. Waters continued to rise during the night. More photos will be posted as they become available. Lack of power at the museum is inhibiting frequent updates.

2018 Flood - August 30

Last updated: 11:52 PM, 8/30/2018