Plan Your Visit

Take a memorable, seven-mile, 55-minute round-trip train ride on a former branch line of the Chicago & North Western Railway nestled in a valley between the Baraboo Hills in rural Sauk County. Passengers ride in restored steel coaches built a century ago. An authentically attired conductor will call “all aboard!” before the train leaves from a historic wooden depot, built in 1894.

Mid-Continent is much more than just a train ride. Explore the indoor/outdoor museum filled with award-winning restorations and railroad exhibits. In all, there are over 40 train cars and locomotives on display and more under restoration. See them all in our online Equipment Roster.

2023 Dates of Operation

Mid-Continent Railway Museum is open and trains operate on the following schedule:

2023 DatesStatus
Jan. 1 – May 12CLOSED
May 13 – June 11Open Saturdays and Sundays (plus Memorial Day)
June 13 – Sept 4Open daily except Mondays (plus July 3 and Labor Day)
Sept. 9 – Oct. 22Open Saturdays and Sundays
Oct. 23 – Nov. 24CLOSED
Nov. 25 – Dec. 3Open Saturdays and Sundays for Santa Express event
Dec. 4 – April 2024CLOSED

Museum Hours

The museum grounds and buildings are open from 9:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on days trains operate (from 9:00 AM during fall special event weekends).

Train Ride Schedules and Booking

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All trains are powered by diesel locomotives. Read more about our ongoing effort to again operate steam locomotives on our Steam Status page. Mid-Continent reserves the right to substitute equipment without notice.


Are Reservations Necessary?

Reservations are not mandatory for most trains but are encouraged. Passengers without reservations are encouraged to arrive no less than 20 minutes before the train departure time.

Reservations are highly recommended during special events such as Autumn Color Weekends, Pumpkin Special, and Santa Express. These special events sometimes sell out in advance.

Reservations are REQUIRED for dining trains such as BBQ Trains and Pizza Trains. These trains can sometimes sell out months in advance so book your tickets early!

Coach Trains

Coach class seating is the classic Mid-Continent train ride experienced by most of our visitors. Coach class trains depart at least three times per day during each day the museum is open and are the lowest-cost ticket offered.

COACH: Coach car seating is the most popular fare type and is the traditional train ride experience.

Special Events

Join Mid-Continent for a trip through the fall foliage, a ride with Santa, and more! Special events mean more departures, more experiences, and a wider variety of ticket options. Click the events listed below for more information.

Special Event2023 Dates
60th AnniversaryMay 27
Stars & Stripes SpecialJuly 1-4
Vintage Rail Car ToursSept. 30-Oct. 1
Autumn Color WeekendOct. 7-8 and 14-15
Pumpkin ExpressOct. 21-22
Santa ExpressNov. 25-26
and Dec. 2-4

Dining Trains

Experience the tradition of dining aboard a train! Onboard dining ticket holders are welcomed aboard one of two First Class railcars, the C&NW #440 business car or the Soo Line #2017 diner-lounge car. We offer a variety of dining menus and experiences. Reservations are required for all onboard dining tickets. Book early! Onboard dining tickets often sell out far in advance.

Dining Train TypeDateDeparture Times
BBQ TrainJune 1711 AM and 3 PM
Pizza TrainJuly 2211 AM and 3 PM
BBQ TrainAugust 2611 AM and 3 PM
Pizza TrainSeptember 2311 AM and 3 PM

Note: Pizza Trains and BBQ Trains are the only dining trains currently planned for 2023. The more labor-intensive Elegant Dinner Trains and other dining trains are not being offered due to a limited number of volunteers currently available. If you wish to see more dining events return, please consider becoming a Dining Services volunteer!

ONBOARD DINING: Onboard dining is offered during select dates and events. All dining service ticket holders ride in our luxury cars and are waited on by uniformed servers.


Coach Class

Coach Class Tickets (Summer and Fall Fares)

Fare ClassCoach Car Fare
Senior (62+)$22
Child (3-15)$13
Infant (2 and Under)Free (ticket required)

Santa Express Tickets (Winter Fares)

Fare ClassCoach Car Fare
Senior (62+)$25
Child (3-15)$14
Infant (2 and Under)Free (ticket required)

Dining Train

Dining train fares vary from $36 to $57.

AgeBBQ TrainPizza Train
Adult/Senior (Ages 16+)$57$47
Child (Ages 3-15)$46$36
Infant (2 and Under)Free (ticket required)Free (ticket required)

Group Tickets

Group pricing varies depending on group type, size, and whether the group is visiting on a day Mid-Continent is open to the public. Visits and train rides may be scheduled on days of non-operation by contacting the museum office at 800-930-1385.

Fare ClassPublic Operating DayCharter Day
Adult Group* (20-39 people)$19$21
Adult Group* (40+ people)$17$19
Child Group**$10$11 ($300 min.)

*Bus driver and group leader ride free with adult groups.
** Bus driver and group leader ride free with child groups. Additional adult supervisors and chaperones pay the child group rate.

Additional Information

How to Find Us

Mid-Continent is located at North Freedom, Wisconsin, about one hour northwest of Madison, and 30 minutes southwest of Wisconsin Dells. See the Contact Us page for our address, directions, and contact information.

The Train Ride Route

Mid-Continent Railway Museum operates its trains on a former Chicago & North Western Railway branchline. The line extends southward from North Freedom, Wisconsin and passes through the unincorporated town of La Rue. The line terminates at a rock quarry at a location called Quartzite Lake. The train then returns to the museum depot along the same route.

The leisurely roundtrip journey takes approximately 55-minutes, including a brief layover at the end of the line while the train is reconfigured for the return trip. Ride times are extended for some onboard dining trains by reducing train speed, or in the case of the Elegant Dinner Trains, making the roundtrip journey twice.

Museum Facilities

There is ample free parking at the museum. Public restrooms, a picnic shelter, and Pine Tree Park are adjacent to the depot. There are no camping facilities at the museum.

Frequently Asked Questions