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.
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.
The biggest expansion of indoor exhibit space at Mid-Continent Railway Museum in 43 years is set to officially open on September 21, 2019. The Laurence Dorcy Building, also known as Coach Shed #2, will add 10,500 sq. ft. of indoor display space to the museum and is planned to hold ten pieces of rolling stock.
Starting at 1:00 PM on September 21st, the new building will be opened up for all museum members and visitors to explore and enjoy. The building will be open each day thereafter when trains are operating (see Train Ride Info page for full schedule). Admission to the self-guided museum, including Coach Shed #2 is free – only train rides require a ticket purchase. Join us for opening day, or for a behind-the-scenes tour inside normally locked areas, visit us on October 5th and 6th for our Vintage Rail Car Tours event.
A walkway inside Coach Shed #2. Wisconsin Fish Commission #2, aka “Badger #2” on the left and Lake Superior & Ishpeming steam locomotive #22 is on the right. MCRM photo.
The rolling stock placed in the new building includes several items that were previously stored outdoors. Exposure to the rain, snow, and sun is the primary cause of degradation of historic railroad equipment. The ability to now keep a larger percentage of Mid-Continent’s collection indoors while still available for public viewing is a great advancement in helping preserve and protect Mid-Continent’s award-winning restorations for future generations.
Wisconsin Fish Commission #2, Mid-Continent’s “Fish Car” is rolled inside Coach Shed #2 in preparation for the building’s opening. MCRM photo.
The locomotive and cars on display in the new building include the following:
The busy bees at Continental Fabricators have been making excellent progress on C&NW #1385’s new boiler. By late August work on staybolt installation was wrapping up. The next few photos show that work taking place.
The first shot is looking from inside the firebox at the firedoor ring and we can see the finished welding.
In this second picture we’re looking toward the front of the firebox at the crownsheet and rear tubesheet. The small group of staybolts not yet welded in are the flexible stays and the larger holes in the firebox sheets will accept the arch tubes. The arch tubes have a dual purpose in that they will form a structure to hold the arch brick in the firebox. They will also promote much better water circulation around the firebox while the locomotive is in operation.
This third shot shows the outside of the staybolts yet to be finished and with the boiler rotated on its side. We’re looking at the top of the vessel in the center of the picture.
This fourth picture is looking down through the steam dome inside the boiler at the braces welded in place to support the rear tubesheet. Those braces were discussed in an earlier update and this is a look at the finished product.
With the structural welding completed, as people across the nation were getting ready to fire up their grills for Labor Day weekend cookouts, the folks at Continental Fabricators were preparing a roast of their own. C&NW 1385’s boiler was moved inside Continental’s enormous heat treating oven for its Post Weld Heat Treatment (or PWHT). This process helps to relieve stresses built up during the welding process. The following two photos were taken while the boiler was cooling off after completing the heat treatment.
Next up, the boiler will get sandblasted and painted. The interior will receive Apexior paint which will help protect the steel from corrosion as it boils the water for steam.
Work continues at SPEC Machine in Middleton which includes creating a new lubrication system for the main axle journals on our engine. The Chicago & North Western’s drawings give specifications for either using oil or hard grease on the axles and as the 1385 came to us the engine used hard grease. As the serious running gear work was begun, the decision was made to convert the journals to oil lubrication. The largest change necessary was to design and build oil cellars to replace the grease cellars that had been used previously.
Grease cellar from 1385.
The first picture shows old and new side by side. The next picture shows the simple box the grease cellar is. It is shaped to hug the axle to keep big chunks of ballast out and the holes in the bottom are there to allow the indicator chains to hang down to give the servicing crew an idea of how much grease was left in the cellar. While it works well in this service it won’t hold much oil for very long. To use oil you need a sealed box to hold some extra oil to constantly feed the lubricating pad that will be pressing up on the journal.
Shown below on the bottom of the oil cellar from left to right are a drain plug, the water drain/oil fill port and the plug for the oil level standpipe. The eight small holes are there for the mounting bolts that will attach the mounting lugs to the bottom of the cellar.
The next shot shows the cellar in place below the axle and in the bottom of the driving box.
The next picture shows how “form-fitting” the cellar is in following the shape of the axle.
With the end cover removed you can see the oil level standpipe standing up into the oil space. Once we receive the custom made pads from Armstrong they will also tell us where the oil level should be kept while the engine is in service. Knowing that we will cut off the standpipe to the proper level to indicate when the cellar is full.
The C&NW’s history of frugality earned it the nickname the “Cheap & Nothing Wasted.” It is easy to see how that nickname came about when you see things such as the engine number 135 stamped on the right-hand jaw of the driving box next to the machined surface. On the other jaw is stamped 1385. The photo above is repeated below with the stamped text enlarged for easier viewing. Even years ago the railroads practiced recycling and “repurposed” useful parts to keep the R-1 fleet running.
As a reminder, SPEC Machine is a private facility and the 1385 is not accessible to the public nor open for tours. We are looking forward to showing off the 1385 to everyone upon its return to Mid-Continent Railway Museum.
August has arrived and with it is a new update on 1385’s boiler as it progresses toward becoming a finished vessel.
The fire door ring has been fitted to the firebox and backhead sheets and will be welded in place. The firemans’ shovel will pass through this opening many, many times feeding the fire that will keep 1385 running.
Looking at the other end of the firebox we can see where the rear tubesheet braces will be installed. Those are the wider-spaced holes below the field of closely spaced 2” tube holes. The braces are necessary because the holes in the tubesheet are above the top of the throat sheet so the braces are welded to the inside of the belly of the boiler. The braces are shaped like an elongated and squished “Z” so they can enter the hole in the tubesheet at a right angle and also lay flat on the boiler shell belly as they are welded in place.
The shot of the top of the boiler shows that just a ‘few’ stays need finish welding. You can also see that the steam dome base has been finished. The holes that do not have stays inserted are going to be some of the flexible stays and are awaiting the installation of the sleeves on the outside of the shell before the bolt itself can be applied and welded in place.
We do not have an anticipated return-to-service date for the 1385 but every weld is one step closer. Stay tuned to this webpage or our official Facebook and Instagram pages to keep up with most up-to-date information on 1385’s progress.
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 not open to the public. Anyone showing up at our contractor’s locations requesting to see the locomotive will be turned away. Please help #1385 return to operation as expeditiously as possible by respecting our contractors’ wishes.
Welding and patience continues at Continental Fabricating as more stays are completed on the R-1 boiler. No, the pictures are not upside down, that is merely the positioner at work to allow the greatest productivity and weld quality possible. The steel forging which makes the base of the steam dome has been tack welded in place and you can see the welder’s feet as he makes the root and fill-in welding passes while he’s standing on the floor.
The other parts of the steam dome are being fitted together and the welding has been partially completed and soon will be done. For the new boiler we have adopted a more European approach by having a removable steam dome. This will make maintenance and inspection tasks much easier in the years to come.
Photos are courtesy of Continental Fabricators.
1385’s firebox is upside-down to facilitate easier working conditions. Photo courtesy Continental Fabricators.
Staybolt installation is nearing completion. Photo courtesy Continental Fabricators.
A worker stands partially inside the boiler as he welds the base of the steam dome in place. Photo courtesy Continental Fabricators.
Steam dome components. Photo courtesy Continental Fabricators.