Saturday, September 01, 2007

choo! choo!

Today we re-visited a train museum and took a short ride on vintage coaches pulled by a big black diesel engine. We last visited 2 years ago, when A was close to the age G is today. A was VERY excited to return.

The Mid Continent Railway Museum is located in the town of North Freedom, WI (pop. 649). It is a great place to visit - manned and maintained by an all volunteer crew - full of engines, coaches, freight cars, many renovated, many currently being refurbished, and many interesting remnants.

"The museum has 14 steam and 6 diesel locomotives, and over 100 other pieces of rolling stock. The Museum has the largest collection of wooden passenger cars in the US as well as six of only seven surviving wooden boxcars built by Mather Stock Car Company."

We went into the station to buy our tickets, about 30 minutes before our train headed out. That gave us time to explore the grounds right around the depot. As we walked to see many massive trains in the yard, the engine that was to take us was pulling in to couple up with the coaches. The volunteer on the ground waved his hand signals to the engineer and we stood yards away as they locked and connected the brakes. We wandered a bit to view a bit of railway history until it was time to board.

The coaches are in nice shape, and each ride is accompanied by a volunteer conductor who shares his breadth of knowledge about the history of not only the museum and the trains & train cars themselves, but also the line. It existed originally as a spur which was used for shipments from the mines at LaRue.

At the end of the line we exited to chat with the engineer and watch as they took the engine around to the other side for the return.

After returning from our ride, we walked through the shed that displays many beautifully refurbished and furnished vintage train cars.

A has always loved trains and absorbs facts like a sponge. G mainly wanted to follow his big brother around. He did enjoy going up and down and up and down the stairs in the shed to see into the cars, and both boys LOVED futilely attempting to operate a hand car (check out G's facial expression below!).

What a fun day!


Unknown said...

Will you by MY mommy!? :) ha ha You do such wonderful things w/ your kids!

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

I have a vague memory of being in New Freedom, WI when I was small. My grandparents would sometimes take us out of school on a whim and drive us all over. Once it was Baraboo! Then there was Horicon Marshes when the ducks and geese were "in". Allerton Park in Illinois, and Lincoln's Home, etc.

What is so nice is that you can to these wonderful places on weekdays when there are no crowds!

The pic's are really cool, by the way. I really like the one that shows the link-up between two of the cars.

denise said...

Laura - :D

Elisheva - you have a great memory! North Freedom is about 13 miles from Baraboo...We haven't visited the Horicon Marsh yet but plan to this fall during peak migration!

M. C. Pearson said...

Hi! I came here from Shelfari. I'm in the homeschooling discussion group there.

Cute pics!