Lake Superior & Ishpeming box car #2026 was built in 1903 for the Pennsylvania Railroad or one of its associated. It is one of the Pennsylvania Railroad’s class XL design – the first 50 ton capacity boxcar. More than 45,000 box, auto, stock, refrigerator, and ventilated fruit and vegetable cars of this basic design were used by the P.R.R. The #2026 is thought to have transported mine cable from Long Island to upper Michigan. LS&I #2026 is one of only two known XL design box cars to have survived to today.
LS&I boxcars #2026 and #2011 together were transported to Mid-Continent Railway Museum in 2007 after museum volunteers had located them in Upper Michigan a few years prior and targeted them for preservation. The two cars were stored on an isolated piece of track behind the original LS&I depot in Ishpeming, MI for 40 years. Both cars were intact and in good condition and were transported to the museum aboard three flatbed trailers, arriving on July 19, 2007. While #2011 was purchased by Mid-Continent, #2026 is privately owned by a museum member.
Since its arrival the museum, #2026 has been cosmetically restored to its LS&I era appearance.
The Lake Superior & Ishpeming Railway Company was formed in 1892 by the Cleveland-Cliffs iron ore company and completed a line from Presque Isle, Michigan (just north of Marquette) to Ishpeming in 1896. In 1923, a neighboring railroad, the Munising Marquette and Southeastern, was merged into LS&I for a total 173 miles trackage.
The core route of the Lake Superior & Ishpeming Railroad still operates out of Marquette, Michigan hauling iron ore from mines to Great Lakes ships.