Video and Print Coverage of 1385’s Progress

Two new high-quality videos have recently hit the internet following the 2015 C&NW 1385 Open House. Both feature video from the open house and interviews with key individuals involved with the project.

CNW 1385: On Track To Operation, One Year Later produced by Midwest Zephyr Media


C&NW 1385 – Hope For a Return to Steam produced by HighIronofWisconsin Productions


Coverage of the event came in several forms. Several Madison-area news channels included the open house in their news coverage.

Stories appeared in both local and larger newspapers. The Wisconsin State Journal ran an article by Barry Adams in the Sunday newspaper a week in advance of the Open House. The same article also ran in other area newspapers, including the Green Bay Press Gazette.

The Wisconsin Southeastern Division of the National Model Railroad Association posted many nice photographs of the open house event on their Facebook page (does not require a Facebook account to view).

An estimated 1,500 visitors stopped by the C&NW 1385 Open House at SPEC Machine over the weekend of February 21-22, 2015.

Open House Exceeds Expectations

The C&NW No. 1385 Open House event held, Feb. 15-16, was a smashing success. Leading up to the event, the 1385 team was hoping for an attendance of 300 for the weekend. To their surprise, an estimated 1,100 people made their way to the open house at SPEC Machine outside of Middleton, Wis.

Locomotive parts were arrayed throughout the shop to facilitate easy viewing. The team did an excellent job of turning an assortment of locomotive parts into an impromptu mini-museum. Major components of the locomotive were labeled, a poster and slide show provided visuals of work on the 1385 completed elsewhere, artwork was on display, and 1385’s headlight was illuminated, giving the disassembled locomotive an almost subtle prescience of the renewed life it is about to receive.

Visitors in the foreground watch a slide show about the 1385 and its restoration to-date while other visitors view the locomotive’s various parts spread throughout the SPEC Machine shop and speak with project leaders. Steve Roudebush photo. Click the photo for more images from the day.

Representatives of Mid-Continent and SPEC Machine were spread around the shop, answering questions and explaining the locomotive’s ongoing work, its history and its future. The steady stream of people proved interest in the locomotive extends beyond just dyed-in-the-wool railfans. Mike Wahl, C&NW 1385 project manager notes, “It was great to see that a lot of the visitors were just general interest people who had seen it in the paper. This event has opened the door to a new group of people interested in the restoration of the locomotive.”

Bobbie Wagner of the Wagner Foundation and a Mid-Continent director, was impressed by the experience. “The enthusiasm of the crowd was amazing. I heard several remarks like ‘I never thought I would see the 1385 running again in my lifetime, and now I am looking forward to it.'”

While excitement certainly centers on the locomotive’s return to operation, the chance to learn about the restoration process was also greatly appreciated. “There was much reminiscing, but also a huge interest in the logistics of the project itself. They were especially grateful to have the opportunity to see a project such as this first-hand and up-close,” Wagner says. “They were very appreciative of the information that Mike [Wahl], Pete [Deets] and Steve [Roudebush] were able to give them.”

Aside from the knowledge of steam locomotive restoration gained, visitors who made a $5 donation were offered another keepsake from their visit. A computer numerical control (CNC) milling machine has been utilized during the disassembly stage of the restoration to produce durable part ID tags, allowing for the easy identification and reassembly of all parts when the time comes. Only a slight modification to the ID tag design produced a unique souvenir that could be machined right before the eyes of their new owners. “The medallions were a big hit,” says Wagner. “There was a line waiting for them most all day long.” Over 150 medallions were produced during the weekend.

Media outlets also picked up on the open house event. Here are some news links discussing the open house:

Television Station Video:

WISC-TV 3 (Madison, WI)

WMTV 15 (Madison, WI)

Newspaper/Magazine Coverage:

Trains Magazine

The Waunakee Tribune

Wisconsin State Journal (and others via Associated Press news wire)

Online Video Coverage: YouTube Page


Midwest Zephyr Media YouTube Page


C&NW No. 1385 Rebuild Video Released, New Running Gear Disassembly Photos Available

A new video is now available which gives an introduction to the C&NW 1385 project and some of the people involved. Video Includes interviews with Steve Roudebush of Spec Machine (the shop performing running gear repairs); Mike Wahl, 1385 Restoration Project Manager; Kelly Bauman, Mid-Continent’s Superintendent of Operations, and Bobbie Wagner, 1385 Task Force Member and key project supporter. The video can be viewed below. Special thanks to Roger Bindl of HEM Productions for filming and editing the video.


Meanwhile, disassembly of the running gear continues at Spec Machine. Two new photos albums are available showcasing the work that took place on December 17 and 18. Recent work has centered on removing the binders as preparations are made to remove the two driving wheel sets still in place. Clicking on the two photos below will open the photo albums for their respective date.

Disassembly of the running gear continued on December 17 and Mid-Continent member Brian Allen was on hand to take photographs. Click on image to browse more of Brian’s photos from the day.

Steve Roudebush works to get leverage while removing C&NW 1385’s binders on December 18, 2013. Photo by Brian Allen. Click on image to browse more of Brian’s photos from December 18.