Coach, Pullman Co., Lot 3584, Plan 2078-O, 1908

#613 at North Freedom, April 2000.
#613 at North Freedom, April 2000.

This car was built for the Chicago & North Western Railway by Pullman in 1908 as a wooden coach. At an unknown date, it was renumbered X300325 and transferred to the MOW (Maintenance of Way) Dept. In 1964, it was purchased by a Mid-Continent member and moved to North Freedom. Today the car has been stabilized and is awaiting restoration by museum personnel.

Like many of the midwest granger roads, the Chicago & North Western Railway was formed with the consolidation of smaller lines and quickly expanded. C&NW was organized in 1859 by joint acts of the Illinois and Wisconsin state legislatures to comprise a main trunk route running northwest from Chicago to Janesville, Wisconsin and on to Green Bay.

In 1864, the pioneering Galena & Chicago Union was merged, and the C&NW was on its way to becoming a major link in the east-west transcontinental between Chicago and Council Bluffs, Iowa where it connected with the Union Pacific. By the turn of the century, C&NW reached seven states with over 5,000 miles of track. After the depression, prudent management kept the company successful by pruning unprofitable lines and long-distance passenger trains. C&NW soon merged several competitors to strengthen its traffic base, including M&StL in 1959, Chicago Great Western in 1968, and the Rock Island’s Minneapolis-Kansas City route in 1980. In 1995, C&NW succumbed itself when it folded into the Union Pacific.

Mid-Continent’s ties with C&NW heritage are extensive: ex-C&NW steam locomotive #1385 traveled the North Western’s system extensively in the 1980s, serving as its “goodwill ambassador,” and Mid-Continent’s rail line was purchased from the C&NW in 1963, allowing the museum to move to its present site.