Bringing Home an Undercarriage

With the prospect of acquiring key pieces to an undercarriage needed for the Sault Ste. Marie, Jenny and Gary McCampbell, along with Mark and Dan Kalis took about a 7-hour trip from the Lansing area to Mid-Continent Railway (MCR) in center-west Wisconsin on January 19-21.

MCR had what was needed from a car they had scrapped: two 110 year-old steel bolsters, 10 x 15 feet, to go under each end of the railcar. These included 2 crossbars per bolster.

Unfortunately, the crossbars had to be removed so the load going home wouldn’t be so wide that we had to pay extra as we went through each of 4 states. The cross bars of the bolsters were bolted in place by 20 bolts each: 80 very tough bolts needed to be removed.

A lot of torching was required to cut through the nuts (1.25” square) so the bolts that were about a foot long could be pounded through – all of which took a lot of work.

One of the bolsters had to be turned over by the excavator that would later lift all pieces onto the truck that brought them back to St. Johns. It was exhausting and exciting all at once.

​On Monday, January 23 at 7:00 AM, the truck arrived and Olympian Tool generously lent a fork lift and driver to unload the steel on the grounds of St. Johns Florist and Greenhouse, which has been good enough to let us work on the Sault Ste. Marie on their property for about two years.Thanks to all the RR volunteers and the wide variety of support the St. Johns Community has given the Clinton Northern Railway Museum, a branch of Clinton County Arts Council. While CCAC is grateful to receive operational funding from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts, the individual branches of CCAC raise all of their own funds for materials and services.

Railway museum update