A $75,000 fundraising effort is presently underway to allow major material acquisition and some labor cost for the DULUTH to allow its restoration to move forward. This post will be updated on occasion to show progress toward reaching that goal.
To help Mid-Continent restore the DULUTH to its former glory, please consider making a donation to the DSS&A Sleeper DULUTH Fund. Donating is tax-deductible and easy to do. You can make your donation via mail or donate online using the Donate button.
Be sure to write in “DSS&A Sleeper DULUTH Fund” on the printable donation form or check memo line if sending a donation by mail. Credit/debit card donations can also be accepted via phone at 608-522-4261 or 800-930-1385 by speaking to our staff during administrative office hours Monday-Saturday.
Fundraising total shown is as of November 1, 2019.
Given the scope of the project and the resources needed to restore the DULUTH, the restoration effort will be a multi-year project that will be executed in phases. Now that the DULUTH is back on 6-wheel trucks and has draft gear, the next step will be to reinstall the brake system. Plans also call for moving the DULUTH into one of the museum’s buildings after the completion of Coach Shed #2 (in 2018) to prevent further deterioration and to assist with restoring the car. A detailed scope of work, tasks, and the restoration schedule are presently in the process of being developed. To kick off the next phase of restoration tasks, a $75,000 fundraising effort is underway to allow major material acquisition and some labor cost during the next three years.
Request For Help
Please consider making a donation to the DSS&A Sleeper DULUTH Fund so Mid-Continent can restore the DULUTH sleeping car to its former glory. Make your donation via mail or donate online using the Donate button.
Be sure to write in “DSS&A Sleeper DULUTH Fund” on the printed form or check memo line if sending a donation by mail. Credit/debit card donations can also be accepted by phone at 608-522-4261 or 800-930-1385 during museum office hours. All donations are tax-deductible.
DSS&A sleeping car Duluth interior, May 2017.
DSS&A DULUTH sleeping car floor plan in 1924.
DSS&A DULUTH sleeping car floor plan as of 2017 after modifications for use as a summer cabin.
Mid-Continent Railway Museum has been working on restoring the oldest and most complete wooden sleeping car in the country to its original beauty and operating condition. Thanks to many supporters and generous donations the car was acquired and moved to the Mid-Continent Railway Museum in September 2016. Upon arrival, the car was placed on a pair of 6-wheel trucks and within 12 months Mid-Continent volunteers had installed couplers and draft gear. This summer the air brake system including the air brake cylinder, reservoir and all of the air piping was completed. Inside the car, the missing berth partitions and lower berth seatbacks have been replicated and installed.
The next step in the program is to replicate the missing upper and lower berths that will be installed between each of the berth partitions. New berths are required as the past owners removed 8 of the 10 berths from the car over 80 years ago. The upper berths are challenging to reproduce due to their curved shape and the fine marquetry patterns set into mahogany veneer. Fortunately, we have located a master woodworker and marquetry expert in Michigan that have the needed skills and abilities to accurately reproduce the missing berths from the DULUTH. In order to replicate the missing berths, we must raise $32,000 to get the DULUTH one step closer to being a restored masterpiece.
Introducing the “BUY A BERTH” Fund Drive
To fully restore the sleeping section of the DULUTH, your help is needed to raise $32,000 for replicating the upper and lower berth seat ends. With the “BUY A BERTH” Fund Drive donors can donate towards replicating the eight missing upper or lower berths. With a $1,500 donation (for a lower berth) or a $2,500 donation (for an upper berth) we will be able to get a berth replicated and you’ll have your name associated with one of the berths in the car. Donors that make a donation to the “BUY A BERTH” Fund Drive in the full amount of a berth ($1,500 or $2,500) will have their name placed on a plaque mounted inside the car. All donations less than $1,500 will be pooled together to go towards the cost of replicating a berth.
How You Can Help
Please consider making a donation to the DSS&A sleeper DULUTH “BUY A BERTH” Fund Drive and help put the berths back into the DULUTH sleeping car.
You can donate online by clicking the Donate button. This will take you to our secure PayPal payment portal.
You can also donate by mail by sending a check to:
Mid-Continent Railway Historical Society
PO Box 358
North Freedom, WI 53951
Please be sure to write “DULUTH Sleeper— BUY A BERTH” in your check memo line, in the online donation form, or in the special projects box of our printable donation form.
The Mid-Continent Car Shop is just about done for the year so this is a final post for the EJ&S No. 2 for 2019. We made some good progress this year as you can see from the photos of both sides of the No. 2. The east side work was finished off except for the letter board and it now has two coats of primer. The west side had new siding, board and battens, and window lintels installed, and the letter board was reinstalled. This side also has two coats of primer now except for the letter board which still needs to have some screw and nail holes filled.
EJ&S No. 2 east side – October 2019. Peter B. photo.
EJ&S No. 2 west side – October 2019. Peter B. photo.
The completion of the exterior (except for the roof) is now in sight. Next year we look forward to having the finish gloss paint on and the lettering applied.
With the C&NW 1385’s new boiler fabrication just completed, Mid-Continent Railway Museum wasted no time getting it on the road to Wisconsin. The boiler has now joined the running gear at SPEC Machine outside Middleton, Wis., where the locomotive will be reassembled.
The boiler left St. Louis on a truck last night and arrived at SPEC Machine around 2 AM today (September 25, 2019). Crews from SPEC Machine, Ideal Crane, and Mid-Continent Railway Museum’s #1385 Task Force volunteers worked together this morning to safely lift the 41,000 lb. boiler from the trailer onto the locomotive frame. Work wrapped up around 2 PM this afternoon.
We took lots of photos and video and will share a more complete account of the day’s activities along with video in the next day or two once we’ve had an opportunity to edit it all together. In the meantime, here are a few quick photos from today’s activities.
C&NW 1385’s boiler is gently lowered onto the locomotive frame. Jeffrey Lentz photo.
Crews prepare to unload 1385’s boiler at SPEC Machine. Jeffrey Lentz photo.
A 100-ton crane lowers 1385’s boiler onto the frame. Jeffrey Lentz photo.
1385’s boiler rests on the frame and the locomotive is readied to roll inside the shop where further reassembly will continue. Jeffrey Lentz photo.
By the end of the workday, the 1385, now with boiler, was rolled inside a shop bay at SPEC Machine that was specially built for to accommodate the 1385’s reassembly. Jeffrey Lentz.
We appreciate the public’s enthusiasm to see the 1385’s progress first-hand; however, the contractor shops where the #1385 work is taking place are private property and not open to the public. Anyone requesting to see the locomotive at those locations will be turned away. Please help #1385 return to operation as expeditiously as possible by respecting our contractors’ wishes.
With the hydro test successfully completed, 1385’s boiler has received a shiny coat of paint on the boiler exterior and it looks great! Most of it will be covered later though by lagging (insulation) and boiler jacketing.
C&NW 1385’s new boiler – painted and ready for delivery. Photo courtesy Continental Fabricators.
The smokebox has also been attached for shipment. The smokebox has only been tack welded in place as it will need to be detached later. It will need to be attached to – and become part of – the cylinder saddle first. Then the boiler is attached to it.
Front view of 1385’s boiler with smokebox attached. Photo courtesy Continental Fabricators.
Sharp-eyed viewers will notice in the smokebox door ring has been bolted in place upside down. It has just been temporarily fastened in place and it too will be removed and re-added probably multiple times before the locomotive is completed.
With this, the work at Continental Fabricators is complete. Now the boiler will join the cab and running gear at SPEC Machine in Middleton, Wis.
PLEASE NOTE: We appreciate the public’s enthusiasm to see the 1385’s progress first-hand; however, the contractor shops where the #1385 work is taking place are private property and not open to the public. Anyone requesting to see the locomotive at those locations will be turned away. Please help #1385 return to operation as expeditiously as possible by respecting our contractors’ wishes.
This is our 100th C&NW #1385 steam status update posted to our website and it is a momentous one! The locomotive’s new boiler has passed its hydrostatic test (a.k.a. hydro test). This test affirms the new boiler remains sealed with no leaks while at pressures well in excess of its designed operating pressure.
This test is conducted by filling the boiler to the point there is no (or practically no) air trapped in the boiler. Additional water is then pumped in until it reaches the designated test pressure – this can require as little as a few cups of water. Excluding the air allows the boiler and appurtenances to be safely tested for. If a leak appears the pressure quickly drops by relieving that cup or two of water.
To complete the test, the boiler is then left under pressure for a period of time. An inspector then checks to see if the pressure has dropped. If the pressure has gone down more than a few percentage points, it indicates a significant leak which must be tracked down and corrected. If the pressure does not see a drop by more than a few percentage points, it indicates there are no significant leaks and it passes the test.
The 300 PSI you see on the pressure gauge is 1 ½ times the designed maximum working pressure of the boiler. This is one standard benchmark percentage for testing and helps prove the boiler has a margin of safety when in use. The 1385’s boiler has been designed for a maximum allowable working pressure (MAWP) of 200 PSI with a minimum safety factor of four. This means the boiler is designed to withstand pressures of at least four times greater than the MAWP which you can see gives a sizable margin of safety when in use. The 200-pound pressure also marks a return to the R-1 class locomotives’ design pressure, meaning the engine will be restored to its original capabilities.
C&NW 1385’s boiler being fed water as part of the boiler’s hydro test. Photo courtesy Continental Fabricators.
Closer view of the finished tube work. Photo courtesy Continental Fabricators.
Up next: Prepare and attach the smokebox and paint the boiler exterior.