Railway Preservation News

Public Unveiling --- Restored Copper Range #25
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Author:  wcb07 [ Tue Aug 13, 2013 10:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Public Unveiling --- Restored Copper Range #25

The Mid-Continent Railway Museum (North Freedom, WI) has scheduled special trains during the weekend of August 24-25, 2013 to pull the newly restored Copper Range Railroad no. 25 (passenger-baggage car). The American Car & Foundry built car (built in Feb. 1903) has special significance as one of the earliest cars to be added to Mid-Continent's collection when it arrived at North Freedom 50 years ago in 1963. It also joins sister car Copper Range Railroad no. 60 as one of the premier restoration pieces held at Mid-Continent.

While the car has operated as recent as 2011, volunteers have spent the past two years restoring the interior of the car. The restoration included replicating a full set of AC&F patented coach seats, complete with rattan upholstery. In addition, all new oak veneer ceiling and headlining panels were made and striped with gold leaf.

After thousands of man-hours of pain-staking restoration work and generous financial contributions from project supporters, CRRR #25 is finally ready to make its official debut.To celebrate, Mid-Continent's Car Shop has arranged for the #25 to be open to the public for rides for ONE WEEKEND ONLY on a special train to run on August 24-25.

Additional information about the public unviling of the CRR #25 can be found on the MCRM website:


Bill Buhrmaster
MCRM Restoration Department

File comment: Replicated coach seat
IMG_5758a.JPG [ 38.24 KiB | Viewed 4638 times ]
File comment: Copper Range #25
DSCN5431.JPG [ 57.75 KiB | Viewed 4638 times ]
2011_08_13_2416a.JPG [ 51.12 KiB | Viewed 4638 times ]

Author:  Stephen Hussar [ Wed Aug 14, 2013 7:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Public Unveiling --- Restored Copper Range #25

Beautiful, congrats!


Author:  Richard Glueck [ Wed Aug 14, 2013 11:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Public Unveiling --- Restored Copper Range #25

Elegant wood work. Obviously a lovelier, different age.

Author:  Dennis Storzek [ Wed Aug 14, 2013 11:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Public Unveiling --- Restored Copper Range #25


That is just lovely... Nice Work! It brings back memories of riding at Mid-Continent years ago, when the Copper Range combine was often THE train. Now you guys have a nicely matched set... a year or two ago when matching coach 60 made its debut I made the trip up to North Freedom just to ride it... of course that was the weekend when Flag Coal 75 was there, but the restored coach was the reason for going.

I'm particular what I ride :-)

Author:  John Risley [ Thu Aug 15, 2013 12:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Public Unveiling --- Restored Copper Range #25

The #29 sure would look great on the head end of those Copper Range coaches! Nice work Bill and gang.


Author:  Les Beckman [ Thu Aug 15, 2013 1:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Public Unveiling --- Restored Copper Range #25

John Risley wrote:
The #29 sure would look great on the head end of those Copper Range coaches! Nice work Bill and gang.


John -

Have you heard of any plans to restore Copper Range 2-8-0 #29 to operation in the future so that she might actually pull these wonderfully restored cars? Last I heard, Mid-Continent was concentrating on bringing 2-8-2 number 2 back to operational status.


Author:  John Risley [ Thu Aug 15, 2013 1:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Public Unveiling --- Restored Copper Range #25

NO! But I think it a good choice, being in the moment it, is out of the question unless a major donation came through specifically for the #29 and the whole job was farmed out.

Just returned from M-C last night and there is only a few active members who actually worked on steam in the shop and operations. They are still some out there that would return to the organization if we had steam running, but currently very few who were even members when we had steam running. I say this not to be a downer about anything, but the probability of restoration of the #29 happening is slim to none at this time.

The only member I see who is actively trying to bring back steam is the owner of the Saginaw Timber/Polson lumber co #2. Which we worked on together yesterday. The Montreal #1 is still in pieces with some parts still not back on property and hardly a penny to finish it that I am aware of. The #1385 project is kind of a mystery and I do not know where that is or what is next in line for it. I know we have a new tender tank and reworked frame and wheels with the painting almost done. So there is so much work to be done on what is torn apart already and money needed to be raised I cannot see the #29 being in line for any restoration any time soon. Very sorry to say. I was involved in bringing the #29 in from the UP and kind of "have a thing" for her too. But as always it would not be a cheap restoration. I think we noticed the cylinder casting was working, the inside sheets of firebox have some seriously tight radius in corners and would probably have to be replaced {kind of comes with the territory}. Would need a complete overhaul like most locomotives. Still think a great candidate and all we need is money.

If you notice in older photos of her she had a taller stack and really looked better ascetically speaking compared to the short stubby thing she has had for some time now {humble opinion is free of charge}. Not that it matters much, just think she was rather cute when she was younger! Regards, John.

Author:  junior [ Thu Aug 15, 2013 2:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Public Unveiling --- Restored Copper Range #25

John Risley wrote:
...They are still some out there that would return to the organization if we had steam running, but currently very few who were even members when we had steam running....

I find the facts behind statements like this extremely sad.

So many organizations that had steam and now do not, won't get it back because of that mentality.

I know this is a bone of contentment, in terms of reserving positions for certain people, but this is a situation where the ones who work on the steam should be the ones running it...not the ones who just show up to pull the whistle chord and play choo choo and throw around their "experience" weight when their only experience is that of being an engineer.

If you only show up at your organization because there is steam, you're not a volunteer, you're a consumer.

Beautiful Job on the CR #25. The car surely will be a good producer of revenue for the operation and it's a living testament to the individuals doing the work. Kudos!

Author:  John Risley [ Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Public Unveiling --- Restored Copper Range #25

Junior I am not a spokesperson for anybody or MC. That statement is mine alone, but I believe it to be true regardless. At MC we need steam for bringing customers to our museum and we need steam to bring back some excitement for the members as well. It has been 13 years since MC has had a steam engine of their own running. It is a sore subject with many of us. Do not want to take away from the celebration of the CR #25 So don't care to go further with this right now.

What you say is true enough though. Have always thought those who want to play with steam should also come down and work in the shop. When you fire up a boiler folks come a running to play with what ever you got running. Been there and seen it back in the "good old days".

MC restoration group who works in the car shop are my hero's and nice bunch to work with too. Too bad they are not running the locomotive shop. If that were the case I think we would have steam running today. Regards, John.

Author:  lentz.jeff [ Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Public Unveiling --- Restored Copper Range #25

Additional photographs of the Copper Range Railroad #25 are now available for viewing online with hopefully more to come. Take a look. It's a truly beautiful car.


Author:  Dave [ Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Public Unveiling --- Restored Copper Range #25

The "Vision Thing".......

There's a lot of operations out there who have not created and constantly updated a written, concise set of statements that outline the groups, missions, goals, and priorities. Some that have never look at them again, or don't use them for guidance in developing strategic and business plans to achieve them, or don't even develop strategic anything apart from blind reaction and everybody scattering effort on a wide range of things that don't produce a unified organic result.

This coach is beautiful and demonstrates a lot of skill and commitment. There's no lack of talent oor comiitment in this group. What about those to which the rest of us belong?

If running steam is demonstrably worthwhile and susainable, why not MAKE it a priority and distribute resources accordingly? If it isn't, than find what is and work on that.........this isn't like designing the space shuttle or discovering the unified field theory, it's just basic management. If we first commit to that, then we can make the rest fall into place. If we commit to nothing, results will be few and far between and based on individuals personal interests which lead to a lot of unfinished semiprojects crowding our rip tracks........as the individuals burn out, move, die or get otherwise occupied. Our personal goal should be to work on projects that will be completed if we die today without compromise, because the institution is committed and involved, not just "me".


Author:  robertmacdowell [ Mon Aug 19, 2013 8:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Public Unveiling --- Restored Copper Range #25

At the Western Railway Museum, the vision work was done in a 3-day retreat just blocks from where I lived at the time. It was inclusive of all members who wanted to make the 3-day live-onsite commitment to the retreat. The vision was to focus the museum on electric railroading.

The courage part was when they had to tell the steam boys "aloha". This was, of course, a boon for GGRM and PLA, which has led to wonders like 2472 and Robert Dollar 3 (which was up on car jacks in the WRM shop when the Loma Prieta quake hit.)

Shortly after that change, a number of seemingly unrelated events followed, all of which supported the recently created vision.

I've seen the same thing, writ small, when WRM's board met in executive session to set 1, 3 and 5 year goals. The 1 year goals were all done in 6 months, and the 5 year goals were done in 2. Their error, if any, was to not make more goals sooner. Asterisk, I'm not a fan of Boards meeting in executive session for vision work and strategic planning. Although admittedly, facilitation is a key to such events, and it's much easier to facilitate a board than the public.

The power of such vision work, properly done, is unbelievable.

And pretty much nobody believes it unless they've experienced it firsthand.

Author:  ctjacks [ Tue Aug 20, 2013 3:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Public Unveiling --- Restored Copper Range #25

This general topic has been discussed more than once on this site: it isn't all that clear what MCRM's larger goal is. On one hand, they perform these restorations, which are simply incredible, if you have never seen them in person. But then, the equipment gets parked in barns that most people don't know are there, and a casual visitor wouldn't even know to look into without some searching. MCRM was from nearly day 1 an operating steam railroad, but they haven't run steam for over a decade, and every year seem to get no closer to running steam again. I - and I think many outside observers - are confused as to how MCRM has the people and the capital to pull off restorations such as this, but can't even get close to restoring a steam engine. If their goal is to be a static museum with museum-quality restorations on display, I think they need to clearly move in that direction, and move away from non-prototypical operations with Lackawanna commuter coaches, dinner trains, etc. I would be interested to see what their attendance is for their weekend trains during the summer - I bet their attendance is way down from what it was with steam in the early 1990s.


Author:  Dennis Storzek [ Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Public Unveiling --- Restored Copper Range #25

I'm not a member of MCRM, and have nothing but the highest regard for the work they do, but I've been watching much the same at IRM. The short answer is that as the active membership grows, it tends to split into factions along the lines of personal interest. IRM has people who are interested in streetcars, interurbans (related, but not the same cast of characters) trolley buses, steam coaches, steam locomotives, diesel locomotives, drawing archives, signals, and books, jewelery, and other stuff. All these people want to see the others prosper, at some level, but their own department and personal interest comes first. So, if the steam people aren't getting the job done, and the BOD is afraid to upset anyone and hire the work out to git-R-done, the others just hunker down and keep working at what THEY are interested in.

It's not the ideal situation, by any means, but it seems to be pretty much unavoidable in a large organization run exclusively by volunteers.

Author:  jasonsobczynski [ Tue Aug 20, 2013 6:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Public Unveiling --- Restored Copper Range #25

Such fine quality is utterly unsurprising given it was performed under the leadership of Bill Buhrmaster, he and his team do set the standard on wood coach workà

Cheers, Jason

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