Mid-Continent acquires EMD switcher, continues work on long-range projects

RELATED TOPICS: STEAM/PRESERVATION | LOCOMOTIVES | MIDWEST
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NekoosaPaper
No. 1001 at Nekoosa in a previous paint scheme.
Steve Glischinski
NORTH FREEDOM, Wis. – The Mid-Continent Railway Museum has purchased an EMD NW2 switcher from Domtar Paper LLC. No. 1001 is expected to arrive at the museum northwest of Madison on Wednesday. The move will use a recently reopened connection to the Wisconsin & Southern at North Freedom. The locomotive is operational.

No. 1001 will provide the museum with additional diesel motive power. Mid-Continent currently uses former U.S. Army Baldwin/Whitcomb RS-4-TC No. 1256 as its primary power. The 400-horsepower unit is one of 74 switchers built for the Army between July 1953 and January 1955 at Baldwin’s Eddystone, Pa., plant. Last summer 1256 had to be pulled out of service for truck work, so the museum used Alco S1 No. 7, built in 1944.

By the end of the regular season No. 7 needed maintenance work, plus the museum has already received money to repaint it, which requires it to be taken out of service. In October No. 1256 returned to service, but with only one diesel available the museum decided to acquire another unit. The additional diesel will allow the museum to run two trains when needed.

No. 1001 was built in October 1949 for the Arkansas & Louisiana Missouri as No. 10. It later became No. 1001, then Georgia Pacific No. 1001 before going to Domtar for use at its mill in Nekoosa. Domtar painted the locomotive blue and yellow in the past two years so there are no plans to repaint it.

The museum will conclude its season this weekend with Santa Express Train operations, and then work will begin to replace a 91-year-old wood bridge over Seeley Creek near the mid-point of the railroad’s route. Because of this work the museum was forced to cancel its 2019 Snow Train event that normally occurs in February.

The museum hopes Chicago & North Western 4-6-0 No. 1385 will return to museum property in 2019. The boiler is nearing completion and reassembly of the locomotive’s major components is set to begin in the coming months at SPEC Machine in Middleton. The museum, a nationally-known champion of steam locomotives and wood passenger cars in the 1960s and 1970s, has not regularly run steam on its trains since 2000, but No. 1385 will end the long steam drought. The Ten-Wheeler last operated in 1998.

For more information, go to www.midcontinent.org.

This story was updated 3:55 p.m. Wednesday to better reflect the locomotive's heritage.
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