Mid-Continent Railway Museum estimates flood damage at $250,000

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Mid-Continent Railway Museum suffered significant flood damage in late August and early September.
Mid-Continent Railway Museum Facebook page
NORTH FREEDOM, Wis. — While the nation watches as Hurricane Florence batters the Carolinas, a Wisconsin railroad museum is totaling up the cost of flooding that hit the upper Midwest in late August and early September.

Mid-Continent Railway Museum in North Freedom today says it suffered an estimated $250,000 in flood damage as it recovers from flooding that damaged its depot and damaged or destroyed basic components such as restrooms and track. Much of that will be covered by insurance but at least $50,000 will have to be paid by the museum for out of pocket costs. The museum, which only this summer opened a new bridge that was washed out in a major flood in 2008, said that things would have been worse had it not been for volunteers who helped evacuate many items to higher ground and also because of pre-planning based on lessons from the 2008 storm that caused more than $1 million in destruction.

“We had a 100-year flood 10 years ago, and we had another one Aug. 31, and again on Sept. 5,” President Jeff Bloohm tells Trains Newswire.

Water has receded, and now the task of assessing the damage and the cost of repairs, he says.

No rolling stock was damaged, however the enginehouse and carshop took water. Some cars that are static displays had water in their journals. But all of the operating rolling stock was moved to higher ground.

Bloohm says the museum is closed with the aim of reopening Oct. 6. The fall color season is one of the biggest events for the museum and important to the bottom line.

He said the flood came as the museum was hitting a good pace: A $677,000 replacement bridge opened earlier this summer and a new display hall for passenger cars was nearing completion. The new boiler for the museum’s iconic steam locomotive, Chicago & North Western R-1 4-6-0 No. 1385 is set for completion in October.

Ironically, while the museum now has federal flood insurance, it still owes $330,000 on a Small Business Administration loan that was taken out to pay for the last flood, Bloohm says.

To help with the recover, donations are accepted at http://www.midcontinent.org/donations/








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