We Did It!: Funds Raised for CR #29 Move. (5/1/04)
|We did it!
The necessary funds needed to move Copper Range steam locomotive #29 to North Freedom from its longtime storage location at Hancock, Michigan have been raised. "We are greatful to the many members and friends of Mid-Continent who stepped up to the plate on short notice to help this become a reality," says Don Meyer, the museum's development consultant. Over thirty individual donors contributed.
Because of the short notice of the move, word was put out via email notices to members and friends, and details posted on the museum's website. News releases were also sent out to several online railfan publications. "We had donations coming in almost immediately after the page was first posted," relates Paul Swanson, co-webmaster. "It was very gratifying to see the quick response. People are watching!"
And now the work will begin. Don Ginter, the museum's curator, has coordinated all the preparations for the move since day one. "The acquisition of Copper Range #29 has been kind of on a rush path this past winter, the rush being our requirement to move the Copper Range #29 out of Hancock, Michigan as early this spring as possible," relates Ginter. An added factor is the move cannot be made until the frost laws are removed from area roads to allow the heavy weight of the trucks.
Then there is the trick to get the locomotive through the low clearance bridge crossing the Portage River channel between Hancock and Houghton, Michigan. The bridge used to include railroad tracks, but these were removed in the 1970's--the reason that the Keweenaw Central--the last railroad that CR #29 served--closed down in 1972 and moved out. Locomotives CR #29 and C&NW #175 were left behind at Hancock.
"This move will be the most difficult one in Mid-Continent's 40-year history," according to Ginter. He should know since he has been active at the museum for all those forty years. Over one hundred pieces of equipment have been moved to North Freedom during that time, but most were able to move on their own wheels via various railroads. But today, with stricter federal regulations, railroads are less willing to move old tired equipment for museums.
CR #29's move will require that the boiler be removed from the frame and running gear. It will then be loaded on two seperate semi trailers for the trek to North Freedom. "Unfortunately this has raised the cost of the move substantially," reports Ginter.
But Mid-Continent has persevered, thanks to the support of its members and friends. Volunteer forces are now being summoned for a planned move sometime in May or early June. It is estimated preparation will take three to five days. The engine will travel over 300 miles to reach North Freedom.
We still encourage continuing donations to cover future restoration costs, including research and materials. Click here to make a contribution.
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