Frequently Asked Questions
Planning Your Visit
Is the train wheelchair accessible?
Yes. A portable wheelchair lift is available at the North Freedom depot, allowing access to the train. There is no lift available at Quartzite Lake (the end of the line) to allow alighting from the train.
The museum’s depot, gift shop, passenger platform, restrooms, and picnic shelter are largely wheelchair accessible. Outdoor displays are on mostly level ground but can have somewhat rough gravel surfaces. The Coach Shed buildings containing restored railroad cars include some raised viewing platforms that are not accessible.
The wheelchair lift is also available to individuals with any mobility impairment that makes going up the train car steps difficult.
How much time is needed to visit?
With the exception of some special event trains and onboard dining trains, all are scheduled for 55 minutes round-trip. Typically, visitors spend an additional 45 to 60 minutes browsing the museum displays and visiting the Gift Shop.
Can I visit the museum without riding the train?
Yes. Purchasing train tickets is not required to gain admission to the museum grounds. There is no charge for viewing museum exhibits.
As a non-profit organization, train ticket sales represents our primary source of revenue which is needed to maintain the museum. If you choose not to ride the train, please consider putting a few dollars in the depot’s donation box or stopping in our Gift Shop.
Are groups welcome?
Yes! Special group rates are available and there is plenty of free parking for buses and larger vehicles. To make sure we are best able to accommodate your group, please contact the museum office for more information at 608-522-4261 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are the hours for the Gift Shop?
The Gift Shop and Ticket Office in the depot are open from 10:00am until 5:00pm on days the trains operate. Hours may be expanded during special events.
Can I make reservations?
Yes. Reservations can be booked through our website or by calling 608-522-4261 or 800-930-1385.
Are reservations necessary?
Reservations are generally not needed during the summer season as the museum will add additional coaches for more capacity if traffic warrants. The exception is those wanting to ride in the caboose or locomotive cab. Also large groups should reserve in advance to ensure they can be accommodated.
For special events, reserving coach-class tickets is recommended due to higher demand. Reservations are required for any onboard dining tickets. Due to popularity of the onboard dining trains, reservations should be made well in advance. Inquire early!
Is food available at the museum?
No food is available on-site except during some special events. A soda vending machine is available.
The BS Depot bar/grill, 1/3 mile away in downtown North Freedom, offers serves lunch daily. The North Freedom Market also operates a convenience store in downtown North Freedom open weekends. Many more restaurants are located in the nearby cities of Baraboo and Reedsburg.
Are picnic facilities available?
Yes. Picnic tables are available for use free-of-charge in the pavilion building.
Can you accomodate my food alergy on the dining trains?
Our caterer is generally able to accomodate food alergies or provide a substitute.
Onboard the Train
Are there restrooms on the train?
No. Restroom facilities are only available at the museum grounds in North Freedom and at Quartzite Lake, the far end of the line. Travel time by train between those points is approximately 20 minutes.
Is smoking allowed on the train?
No smoking or vaping is allowed on the train or inside museum buildings.
Is food or drink allowed on the train?
Only bottled water is permitted to be brought with you onboard. A vending machine that dispenses bottled water is available at the picnic shelter adjacent to the depot.
To enjoy food and beverages as you ride, consider buying tickets for one of our dining service trains, such as First Class, Brunch Train, Dinner Train, Pizza Train, etc., offered during select dates.
How long is the trip?
Rides are scheduled to last 55 minutes. The train takes approximately 20 minutes to travel the 3.5 miles from North Freedom, WI depot to the end of the line at Quartzite Lake. Approximately 15 minutes is spent at the end of track to prepare the train for the return journey, followed by a 20 minute return journey.
Some onboard dining trains are scheduled longer than one hour to permit adequate time for enjoying a large meal. Examples include brunch trains and dinner trains.
Is the train climate controlled?
Most Mid-Continent trains are not air conditioned. Windows open to allow air circulation. The train car interiors can become quite warm on hot summer days and may be cool during especially late in September and October so plan accordingly. For Mid-Continent’s Santa Express event in November and December, all passenger areas are heated with coal stoves or steam heat.
Mid-Continent’s First Class cars used for onboard dining services include both air conditioning for summer events and heat for winter events.
Are pets allowed on the train?
Pets are not allowed onboard except for service animals.
Is the train loud?
Trains are generally loud, especially when sounding the horn. Mid-Continent’s trains are no exception. This is not a problem for the vast majority of individuals, but for young children, especially those with very sensative hearing or individuals with special needs it may be advisable to bring hearing protection and/or avoid seating nearest to the locomotive.
Can strollers be brought onboard?
We prefer strollers be left in your car. The narrow walkways on the train must be left clear at all times in the event an emergency exit is required. The conductor may instruct you to leave the stroller at the depot or place the stroller in the train’s baggage room so that it does not block the aisle.