Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Visit to Mid-Continent

On Saturday we visited the Mid-Continent Railway Museum at North Freedom, mostly because I wanted to see Munising #64 for myself, now that it's inside the car shop and undergoing restoration.  This car was built by Hicksco in 1910, and is the only surviving steam-road coach that wasn't rebuilt into a combine or baggage car.    This will certainly be a long-term, difficult restoration, but the MCRM team have completed several restorations already on this scale with excellent results, so I'm very optimistic!

Munising #64 

All of the car siding has been removed.  At this corner the side sill is badly rotted and will have to be replaced.  It won't be easy.

More of the bad side sill.  By the way, the road saved $150 per car by buying them with used (rebuilt) 6-wheel Pullman trucks compared to the cost of new 4-wheel trucks built by Hicks.  That's why the car may appear to have larger trucks than needed.

 Here Pete Becker is removing parts of the side framing as needed for replacing the side sill.  A replacement piece about 20' long will have to be inserted.

With the siding removed, you can see the truss pattern needed to keep a long wooden car straight.  The 309 has essentially the same truss pattern, but with steel side sills. 

(R) Watch your step!  The end platforms are always a weak point on these cars, but the steel underframe is still sound.

New pieces for the side are being made even as we speak.  

Only a few of the original seats survived the car's years of neglect and abuse.  (This picture has been rotated for your convenience.)  These are standard Hicksco double-lever flipover seats, and you can see that the frames have "F. M. Hicks Company" cast into them.  Replacements will be made by MCRM.

New window frames and arm rests are already done.

Replacement molding strips for the interior, along with Bill Buhrmaster's hand.

 On the other side, you can see where the transverse tie rods have been pulled out for replacing the side sill we looked at earlier.

The car's original number was 54.  The ceiling panels are sheet metal, and this appears to be its original form.  There are no previous nail holes or evidence of a wooden ceiling.

East Jordan and Southern #2

Another long-term project is this ancient (1868) coach.  This involves a lot of fascinating archeological research, since it was rebuilt and modified so many times over the last century and a half.   In 1902, it was acquired by Hicks, refurbished and resold.

The original monitor-type roof is still apparent from inside. The clerestory windows are of different types.

The molding piece on each window post is actually made of cast iron.  None of us has seen this sort of thing anywhere else.

The car had several numbers during its long and varied service life.

The car's basic construction antedates the development of side trusses such as we saw on the Hicks car.

And features such as the queen posts are characteristic of the immediate post-war period.   What an historic artifact!

And here's the interior of the Copper Range coach, with its completely new rattan seats.  IRM purchased the North Shore seats that had been in this car.

KGB&W #77

 This is the interior of a mail-baggage car built by Hicks in 1909.  The clerestory is the same construction as for coaches.  Notice those latch fixtures!


They also recently acquired wood beam passenger trucks from two derelict cars in Minnesota.  These will be used on other restorations, and meanwhile will be protected by little houses.

Ray's LS&I #22 is being nicely repainted.  The light green color is striking.

And in the steam shop, the Saginaw #2 was recently tested and fired up, and is now being prepped to put it all back together over the winter.

(R) That's Bill on top of the engine helping torque one of the pops off the dome.

I can remember when this engine was at IRM for a couple of years.  It was never part of the permanent collection, and was sold at auction in 1982.

The frame for another engine, Western Coal & Coke #1, is up on blocks, providing an interesting view of its construction.    (R) The cranks for the Stephenson valve gear.


The revenue train that day included this nice GN wooden coach.


Under the display shed are this two-truck standard gauge Shay, and the narrow-gauge NW boxcar.
I wonder if visitors ever ask what happened to the Dodge inspection car?


Anonymous said...

thanks for the visit to the mid Continent Museum. They sure have an interesting group of wooden passenger cars.

Their web site has a lot of information about them and the railroads that they worked for.

It will be great when they get one of their steam locomotives back in operation.

Lets hope they do not have any more floods to deal with any time soon!

Ted Miles
IRM Member

Bruce Duensing said...

The details of construction of the wooden cars was fascinating and I appreciate able to see them from afar. Thanks. It really demonstrates the evolution of railroad designs and how they used what was available to them to solve a variety of issues. One of these days I would like to see a THI&E wooden car be restored to be placed alongside a CA&E example as differing manufacturers practices make for an interesting comparison....

David Wilkins said...

For those of you playing along at home, that $150.00 savings from using recycled Pullman trucks would equal about $3,700.00 in 2014 dollars.

Dan Buck said...

From Dan Buck,
As I'm sure someone else will tell you, 4412 has been a "baldy" for only the short time since Tim put a new canvas roof on it.