• Presston (MN) Historical Society MILW Rolling Stock.

  • General discussion related to all railroad clubs, museums, tourist and scenic lines. Generally this covers museums with static displays, museums that operate excursions, scenic lines that have museums, and so on. Check out the Tourist Railway Association (TRAIN) for more information.
General discussion related to all railroad clubs, museums, tourist and scenic lines. Generally this covers museums with static displays, museums that operate excursions, scenic lines that have museums, and so on. Check out the Tourist Railway Association (TRAIN) for more information.

Moderators: rob216, Miketherailfan

  by Komachi
While we are not a railroad museum, per se, my hometown historical society is in the process of acquiring some railroad rolling stock for our interpretive center.

This past year, we did some exterior restoration of our 1902-era grain elevator and part of our ongoing plans to turn it into a museum and interpretive center is to replace a couple sectios of railroad track next to the elevator and place the rolling stock upon it.

As of right now, our rolling stock collection consists of a boxcar and a caboose, both of Milwaukee Road heritage, as that is the railroad that served Preston for about seventy six years. (Believe it or not, Preston was originally on a three-foot narrow gauge railroad (the Caledonia, Mississippi & Western) from 1879 until 1900 when the line was re-gauged.)

According to the information on the boxcar, it was built in December of 1939, which puts it among the first group of home-built, 40', ribbed-sided steel boxcars built at the Milwaukee Road's shops in Milwaukee.

Our caboose is also a home-built car, among the last group of ribbed-sided, steel cabooses built in 1951.

The caboose currently resides in a small salvage yard in Wisconsin and will remain there until we raise the funds to pay it off and ship it here to Minnesota. The boxcar is currently in Calmar, Iowa and has been graciously donated by the Iowa, Chicago & Eastern.

Apparently, there was a blurb about the caboose donation in the December 17th, 2007 Trains newswire ("Minnesota Town Acquires Milwaukee Road Caboose"). As I am not a current Trains subscriber, I cannot access the article to read what information it includes. I sent an e-mail to them last week to see if they'd send me a copy of the article, but I have yet to receive it.

I'm not sure when we will be moving the caboose, but plans are tennatively set to move the boxcar sometime in February.

I will keep you posted on things as they develop.

Speaking of developing... I am having computer issues right now, so it will be a while before I can post some images of the caboose and boxcar from my own collection. Although, there are images of the boxcar on RR Picture Archives.net...

http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/rsPict ... ?id=280612


- Erik "Komachi" Paulson, Vice President, Preston (MN) Historical Society

  by uhaul
The boxcar does not look too bad and I wish you luck with the interpretive centre.

  by Komachi
Thanks, uhaul.

Yes the grain elevator almost suffered the same fate as the rest of the railroad related structures here in town.

After the line was abandoned between Preston and Houston (it originally ran all the way to Reno (originally called Summer), but a flood in '46 did too much damage to reopen the Huston - Reno section) in October of '76, then mayor Richard Nelson and a few other citizens approached the Minnesota State Historical Society to make the rail assets here a railroad park. The depot, roundhouse (albeit one stall... it was cut down from three to one in 1953) and "Armstrong" turntable were included in the plan.

However, the plans fell through. The tracks were torn up, the turntable removed and the pit filled in. The depot (originally built in 1879 to serve the Caledona, Mississippi & Western) was picked over for salvageable items and then burned in 1980 in a fire department training exercise and the roundhouse was razed in the mid-1990s.

So went Preston's railroad heritage.

The Milwaukee Grain Co. (no connection to the railroad that we know of) elevator was errected in 1902 and was in use until the early 1980s. It sat derrilect until the late 1990s when the historical society took it on as its pet project. It was clad in a hodge-podge collection of tin sheathing which was not asthetically pleasing (unlike the cedar siding, red paint and cream trim we replaced it with) to the townsfolk and many deemed it an eyesore and wanted it demolished, however, its cribbed construction (2x4s laid on their sides, not built up in a traditional frame-style) kept it a solid structure. Cribbed-style elevators were common in the midwest, however few survive today, which is why the elevator is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

The elevator also represents the symbiosis that the town and railroad had with one another. Farmers came to town and shipped their grain out by rail and the trains brought their feed, seed and equipment in. That's why we've preserved and restored the existing structure and plan to continue the project by replacing the scale house, office and feed and seed storage building to the site, along with the railroad tracks and equipment.

The current plans are to use the elevator as the interpretive center, museum, offices and meeting space for the society with the boxcar being additional exhibition space and the caboose as "eye candy."
  by Komachi
Just an update for ya...

I just received some paperwork today from Cedar Rail Holdings INC. (the holding company for both the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern (DM&E) and Iowa, Chicago & Eastern ((C&E)) and we (the historical society) have a few forms for them to fill out. After that, we can move the boxcar.

As of yet, no date has been set for moving the car. It's all dependent on the paperwork, the cranes, our hauler, the railroad and, most importantly, the midwestern weather (Iowa and Minnesota aren't exactly known for their fair weather).

I'll let you guys know when the boxcar will be on the move.

I'll also keep you posted on how the progress for fundraising and moving the caboose goes.
  by Komachi
February meeting of our group was tonight.

No real date set to move the boxcar yet. The company we've selected to haul our boxcar also has a contract to plow snow off the rural, gravel, country roads, so if it's snowing, they're going to be plowing and not hauling.

Ballpark is within the next couple weeks, maybe the first week of March. It all depends on what the weather will be doing.

Wish I could give you better intel., but that information is as specific as I got tonight from the gentleman handling the cranes and trucks.

Will definately give you guys a heads-up when we're going to roll with it.
  by Komachi
Okay, ladies and gentlemen...

Since the weather has been uncoperative the last few weeks, the revised timeframe for moving the boxcar is now set for the last week of March.

It's not official, but we're shooting for sometime between the 26th and the 30th... weather permitting.

I'll let you know as soon as we finalize the date.

As for the caboose, it will remain in Wisconsin until the funds to finalize the purchase and move it to Minnesota have been raised/appropriated. We have until July of 2009 to raise the funds, but hope to do so before then.

I'll keep you guys updated as events continue to unfold.
  by Komachi
Anyone in Southeastern Minnesota, Northeastern Iowa and Southwestern Wisconsin who want to see a 1939-vintage, 40' Milwaukee Road boxcar take a road trip, be in Calmar, Iowa on the morning of Wednesday, March 26th. I'm not sure what route the trucks will take to haul it back here to Preston, but that's the date.

Of course, this is provided we have good weather, but this is the date we've settled upon.

Thought I'd give you guys an update on that.
  by Komachi
Okay, Kids, this is the first time I've attempted this, so here goes...

Some highlights from the lift at Calmar, Iowa on March 26, 2008.

Here is the boxcar sitting on its siding preparing to be lifted.

The car being rotated to be loaded on the lowboy.

Sitting on the lowboy.

A close-up of the truck from the A-end of the car.

The B-end truck getting loaded on one of the lowboys.

Next... unloading the car in Preston.
  by Komachi
After getting the car home on Wednesday (March 26, 2008) we were told that the car would be unloaded on Friday. However, our President received a phone call on Thursday morning (March 27, 2008) that the crane was on its way and it would be unloaded that morning.

So, here are pictures of the boxcar being unloaded at the worksite in Preston, Minnesota.

The crane prepares to lift the car onto its cribbing at the worksite.

When the boxcar was lifted off the trailer, the truck was moved from underneath it. The Bobcat skid-loader was used not only to bring timbers to the worksite, but was used to gently guide the boxcar onto place.

A few shims were needed to make it sit square on the cribbing.

The boxcar and trucks sit at the worksite awaiting repairs, sandblasting, repainting and restenciling before being moved to the interpretive center.
  by Komachi
As the current Vice President of the Preston (MN) Historical Society, for myself and on behalf of the society, I'd like to thank the following...

The Iowa, Chicago & Eastern Railroad and it's parent company Cedar American Rail Holdings Inc. for the donation of the boxcar to the society.

Sebastian Crane Service of Postville, Iowa for lifting and loadng onto the trucks at Calmar, Iowa.

Minnowa Construction Inc. of Harmony, Minnesota for providing the crane to unload the boxcar here in Preston.

Scheevel (pronounced Skay-val) and Sons Construction Inc. of Preston, MN for hauling the car from Calmar to Preston.

I'd also like to thank the city of Calmar for their support in our aquisition of the boxcar, it was greatly appreciated.

Now comes the fun part... repair and repainting. :-D
  by Komachi
If anyone is interested in donating to the restoration of our boxcar; the purchase, moving and restoration of our Milwaukee Road caboose or the continued restoration of our grain elevator/interpretive center, you can send checks to...

The Preston Historical Society
Box 138
Preston, MN 55965
  by Komachi
Just an update for ya...

Tuesday (May 20, 2008) we cleaned out our demolition debris from the car. We had torn the plywood and beadboard off the sides of the car as prep work for the welding and other patching that needs to be done (welders and dry wood don't exactly mix, or so I've heard).

So work continues.

I thought I'd also share a picture from the interior of the boxcar, here's the car's Milwaukee Road number stenciled on the inside of the door.


Next up...

Caboose pics! :-D
  by Komachi
Okay, kids, what most of you want to see...

Milwaukee Road caboose #992095.

Can you find the caboose in this picture?

There it is!

And from the A-End...

A sapling that has grown up around one of the bays.

The Milwaukee Road logo amongst the peeling paint of the exterior.

An overview of the interior of the caboose.

The toilet and equipment locker.

It even has an icebox, sink and water tank.

The brakeman's seat.

And, the conductor's desk.

Just a few pics to whet your appitite on this project. :P