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Restoration Efforts


Hutchinson, MN Depot  
   Although it appears that only more and more of the Great Northern Railway disappears, there are actually lots of efforts underway to keep the history of the GN alive. A good example is the Hutchinson, Minnesota depot pictured here. Standing empty since 2000 when Dakota rail moved out, and being damaged by lightning and an ensuing fire shortly after, her future did not look too certain. Until late last year. That's when a local group of volunteers came together to preserve and restore the depot to save it for future generations, planning to turn it into a museum that will serve the local community. Although much work is still to be done the volunteer group is making big strides in stabilizing the structure and getting it ready for a full fletched restoration.


    But the Hutchinson depot is not the only GN object currently in the process of being preserved. Many other efforts by groups and individuals are underway. The following overview highlights several of them.

GN Business Car A-3 King Street Station Iron Goat Trail
Later this summer volunteers at the Alder Gulch Railway in Nevada City, Montana plan to repaint Great Northern Business Car A-3(2). The car will be repainted in its current Pullman green paint. The rebuilding of the Seattle, Washington King Street Station has been dragging on for years. All of the signs around the station, including the neon "King Street Station" sign on the north facade will be repaired over the next couple of months. Repair of the restrooms will follow shortly thereafter. Ongoing efforts by volunteers of the Iron Goat Trail uncover more and more of the old GN Stevens Pass crossing via the original Cascade tunnel. The trail is now open from Martin Creek to the old town site of Wellington (Tye), a six mile hike through great scenery highlighted by remnants of GN objects from the time that crossing the Cascades was still a difficult and sometime dangerous endeavor.
GN Caboose X259 LST&T NW2 101 GN H-5 1355
X259 was donated to the City of East Grand Forks, MN. The City then donated her to the Northern Lights Model Railroad Association & Museum. The group is now actively restoring the caboose. It recently received some new windows and two coats of new paint. GN logo and lettering will be next. Although not 100% GN, Lake Superior Transfer & Terminal #101 is painted in GN colors, with the railroad being part owned by GN. Volunteers at the Minnesota Transportation Museum are restoring her for shop switcher duty or possible service on the Osceola & St. Croix Valley Railway. The only GN steam locomotive currently planned to return to operating status, H-5 #1355, is undergoing restoration at the old Milwaukee Railroad Roundhouse Complex in Sioux City, Iowa.
GN Caboose X233 GN 'Bruck' GN Caboose X522
Rob McAdoo, owner of X233, has replaced most of the woodwork on his caboose and applied a coat of red in his effort to restore this caboose and to eventually use it as a cabin. Volunteers at the Stumptown Historical Society in Whitefish, Montana are busy restoring this unique bus/truck used by the GN to shuttle passengers and freight between Kalispell and Whitefish. The Bruck was purchased and donated to the SHS by Connie Hoffman of Great Northern Railway Historical Society fame. Ron Bartl of Bellevue, Washington keeps GN 25' wood caboose X522 in his backyard and is in the process of restoring her.
GN Coach/Diner 1146 GN Baggage car 265 GN Diner 1084 'Twin Ports'
Owner of GN 1146, Eric Hopp, continues his restoration efforts by finishing some airbrake work and rewiring the lighting circuits. He also just finished installing new glass allover. Volunteers at the Minnesota Transportation Museum have finished the sheet metal work on baggage car #265 and repainted her. Money is now being raised to have the wheels turned and for installing the floor.

In a combined effort with Baggage Car #265, the 'Twin Ports' was given a quick paintjob at the MTM Jackson Street Roundhouse. Plans are currently being drawn up for continued restoration.


If you know of any other Great Northern preservation efforts, please feel free to let me know. I will make sure to mention them in the 'GN in the News' section. Please also remember that these preservation efforts can use all the (financial) support they can get, so if you can help out, please do and help keep the Great Northern Railway alive!