Minnesota museum begins fundraising to rebuild Northern Pacific coach

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Lake Superior Railroad Museum
DULUTH, Minn. – The Lake Superior Railroad Museum has begun fundraising to rebuild the interior of Northern Pacific coach No. 517. The car has been used for several years on the museum’s North Shore Scenic Railroad and after thousands of miles the car is in need of rehabilitation. The car will be the winter project for museum shop forces this off season.

Work will include removal and repair of all seats, reupholstering, replacing the flooring, and repainting the interior, Both restrooms in the car will be overhauled as will the air conditioning system.

No. 517 was part of an order for 18 coaches (500-517) built for the Northern Pacific by Pullman-Standard late in 1946 for the streamlined North Coast Limited. These chair cars were often used on other Northern Pacific trains, such as the secondary transcontinental train, the Mainstreeter, inaugurated in 1952. In its original configuration, the car had 56 seats and a smoking lounge.

The car was sold to the Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range Railway in 1974 by Northern Pacific successor Burlington Northern, and was renamed Minnesota II. The Missabe donated the car to the museum in August 2000. It has been repainted back into Northern Pacific’s two-tone green passenger paint scheme created by industrial designer Raymond Loewy, which began appearing on NP passenger equipment in 1952. In addition to No. 517, the museum owns two other streamlined NP passenger cars: baggage car 255 and North Coast Limited sleeper observation No. 390, Rainier Club, which is currently being overhauled by the Escanaba & Lake Superior Railroad in Wells, Mich.

Donations can be made online at www.duluthtrains.com, by phone at 218-733-7502, or by mail at Lake Superior Railroad Museum, 506 West Michigan Street, Duluth, MN 55802.

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