Yesterday, April 5, a special C&NW 1385 open house was held at SPEC Machine for Mid-Continent Railway Historical Society members. The much larger public open house held in February took place during MidContinent’s Snow Train weekend and thus prevented numerous museum volunteers from being able to see the 1385’s progress for themselves at that time. This members-only open house was scheduled in the hours before MidContinent’s spring member meeting and banquet.
With the driving wheels already shipped out for repairs at Strasburg Rail Road’s specialized shop, what currently remains behind at SPEC Machine has perhaps become difficult for the casual observer to still identify as being from a locomotive. Recall that the original boiler remained behind at MidContinent’s engine house (and construction of the replacement boiler has not yet begun), the tender which holds the locomotive’s coal and water was completed last year and is on display near MidContinent’s depot, and the cab is being worked on separately in a shop in Fond du Lac, Wis. While it can be difficult for many people to see one of their favorite locomotives in such an advanced state of disassembly, it is the ideal point from which to begin a “from-the-rails-up” complete repair job that is currently underway and will once again make the 1385 a mainstay of Mid-Continent’s operating fleet for many years to come.
View more photos of the open house on Brian Allen’s Flickr album.