Lake Superior Railroad Museum On Track With Railcar Restoration Projects

Most of the work is expected to be done by May 1

DULUTH, Minn. – Four major restoration projects with the Lake Superior Railroad Museum (LSRM) are gearing up to hit the tracks.

Volunteers are putting in overtime to make it all happen and get the rail cars ready for the summer season.

These rail cars travel along the shorelines of lake superior all the way to two harbors.

The next time you hop on it’ll be a completely new experience from top to bottom.

Sparks are flying inside the Lake Superior Railroad Museum as volunteers are helping restore railroad car artifacts.

John Pilegaard is retired and has volunteered at the museum for three years now.

You can catch him here on Wednesdays.

“I’ve always liked trains and I have a model railroad,” said Pilegaard.

When you take a ride on Coach #33 you’ll be sitting on seats John has restored.

“These are the seats out of this coach. They are the original ones and they need redoing,” said Pilegaard. “We’re grinding  them down to get ready to paint them.”

The Coach #33 is one of the principal cars used during the season.

These rail cars are getting new roofs, paint jobs and bathrooms.

“With the seats out of the car it becomes easy to be able to strip out the old linoleum and to clean up the wooden truck floor with floor sander, so that we can repaint the floor and install all new floor covering,” said LSRM Curator Tim Schandel.

The last time some of these cars were restored was about 35 years ago.

“We don’t really recreate anything. what we’re doing is taking the old materials for the most part and remaking things just in the same way that they were originally in the car,” said Schandel.

John says he’s happy to be doing some of the labor and hopes riders will enjoy it too.

“I think it’s impressive for the public when they get into the car like this one, the usually say ooh–aah,” said Pilegaard. “It is a piece of history.”

A big goal for having the vintage railroad cars restored is to give riders the flavor of railroading and take a journey back in time.

“The Scenic Railroad serves as a portal to the past in terms of being able to give people the experience of riding the rails in the United States.”

Other railroad cars being restored include a steam locomotive and the Silver Club that originally made trips from San Francisco to Chicago.

Trains begin running in late April.

The full schedule starts after Grandma’s Marathon. Most of the work is expected to be done by May 1.

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