The Mid-Continent Railway Museum is a railroad museum in North Freedom, Wisconsin. The museum consists of static displays as well as a 7-mile round trip ride aboard preserved railroad cars.
Mid-Continent Railway Museum's collection emphasizes the preservation of railroad items operated in the upper Midwest from the period of 1880-1916, what the organization refers to as the "Golden Age of Railroading". During that time, railroads saw an unprecedented rate of expansion, growing in size in the United States from 93,000 to 254,037 miles of track.
Three steam locomotives are currently under restoration to federal guidelines. The museum has 13 steam and 7 diesel locomotives including Chicago & North Western # 1385 and over 100 other pieces of rolling stock. The museum has the largest collection of wooden passenger cars in the United States as well as six of only seven surviving wooden boxcars built by Mather Stock Car Company and the nation's last surviving fish car, Wisconsin Fish Commission "Badger Car #2".
In addition to the depot, other railroad structures moved to the museum's location include a crossing shanty, crossing tower, section shed and water tower. Additional structures have been built new to house and maintain the collection but attempts were made to make the structures appear period appropriate.
Heritage Railroad :
The museum operates a heritage railroad which offers passenger excursion trains on a 7-mile (11 km) round trip. Trains leave from North Freedom, Wisconsin, pass through the former mining community of La Rue, Wisconsin and turn around at a rock quarry, returning on the same route. The excursions take approximately one hour and operate daily from early June through Labor Day and most weekends in May, September and October. Trains operate at a top speed of 15 miles per hour (24.1 km/h), requiring approximately 20 minutes to travel the length of the rail line. Roughly 15 minutes are spent at the end of the line to move the locomotive to the opposite end of the train for the return trip to North Freedom. During the ride, a uniformed conductor punches passengers' tickets, shares railroad history and answers questions.
Special event trains are also offered numerous times throughout the year, including Autumn Color weekends in the fall, Pumpkin Special runs near Halloween, Santa Express Weekends at the end of November, and the Snow Train in February. During special events, additional ride options are frequently offered such as first class trains, dinner trains and brunch trains which offer onboard food and beverage service and utilize cars which are more luxurious than the train cars typically used.