Vintage Rail Car Tours

Vintage Rail Car Tours – October 5-6, 2019

Guided Tours Inside Mid-Continent Railway Museum’s Finest Restorations

Mid-Continent Railway Museum has a nationally-renowned, award-winning wooden car restoration program. While all museum visitors are able to see the beautiful restorations from the Coach Shed viewing platforms alongside the cars, much of the fine craftsmanship can only be appreciated from within the railcars. For one weekend only, October 5-6, 2019, museum visitors will have an opportunity to do just that. Guided tours will be provided by knowledgeable restoration volunteers and will take visitors beyond locked doors and inside these exquisitely restored railcars.

Tour of wooden passenger car

Guided Tour Cost

Adult = TBD;  Children (ages 3-12) = TBD

Visitors choosing to not take the tours can still enjoy the free, self-guided tour through museum, including the Coach Shed; however, self-guided tours do not allow access to car interiors.

Vintage Rail Car Tour tickets are not valid for train rides and train ride tickets are not valid toward guided Vintage Rail Car Tours.

Tour Schedule

Tours will be offered between 10 AM and 4 PM.

Tour Details

Guided tour areas are not wheelchair accessible and require steps to reach the car interiors.

The list of cars included in the 2019 Vintage Rail Car Tours has not been finalized. Please check back later for more details. Our 2018 Vintage Rail Car Tours event included the following cars:

Badger #2


Fish tank room inside Badger #2

Wisconsin Fish Commission #2, or Badger #2, commonly referred to as the “Fish Car,” represents Mid-Continent Railway Museum’s most ambitious car restoration to date. Built in 1913 for the purpose of restocking Wisconsin’s rivers, streams and lakes with fish from hatcheries, it is the only remaining original fish car in the nation and Mid-Continent Railway Museum’s very first acquisition.

In 2008 the Badger #2 underwent a $950,000 restoration to return it to it’s 1913 configuration and appearance. The car’s transformation became the subject of an episode of the television show Ultimate Restorations. (Watch the episode on Amazon Prime).

Great Northern #X582

caboose interior

Interior of Great Northern Caboose #X582, restored to 1941 appearance.

Caboose #X582, was built in Great Northern’s St. Cloud Car Shops, at St. Cloud, Minnesota between January 1 and August 6, 1925. The caboose was used extensively in North Dakota on the Minot Division and finished its career in South Dakota in work train service. In 1971, caboose was sold to a Mid-Continent member and moved to North Freedom in July. Its restoration took ten years

Montana Western #31

Montana Western #31 exterior

Montana Western #31 gas-electric motor car

Montana Western #31 is not a locomotive per se, nor a diesel. It is a gas-electric motor car powered by a Winton 6-cylinder engine, model 106A, using gasoline for fuel. It still has its original style engine and traction motor. It develops 227 horsepower using a General Electric main generator.

MW #31 is the oldest surviving, and largely unmodified, gas-electric car built by the Electro-Motive Corporation. It is close to as-built condition with its power plant, baggage area, smoking compartment, passenger area, and opposite end control area largely intact. The MW #31 was named a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) in 2002.

This type of powered rail car was used on branch lines and short lines, when a steam passenger train was not warranted. Only two crewmen–a motorman and a conductor–were required to operate the car. It could haul passengers, baggage, and a limited amount of freight. If the ruling grade was not too steep, it could tow one lightweight coach, for extra passenger capacity.

Duluth South Shore & Atlantic #213

Coach #213 was part of an order for twenty cars built in 1888 for the Duluth South Shore & Atlantic Railway. These cars were of a standard open platform design that car builders had offered to the railroads for some twenty years. The cars served the DSS&A for many years as first class accommodations. When the vestibule-equipped cars arrived, the open-platform cars were used on secondary trains.

By the mid-1930’s the cars were no longer needed as revenue cars and the #213 was remodeled into a dining and kitchen car for work train crews. At this time the #213 was renumbered to #990. The #990 served the DSS&A and its subsequent owner, the Soo Line, as the bridge repair gang’s dining room until a 1969 switching accident rendered the car unfit for further service.

The #213 was acquired by Mid-Continent in November 1969 and moved on a flat car to the museum’s North Freedom location. In Mid-Continent’s care, the car was restored to its 1910 appearance.