​​Lakes and Pines Division - Train Collectors Association


Wow, it’s hard to believe that summer is just around the corner and our season of meets at Murzyn Hall are coming to a close until fall. Our May meet is on the third Sunday, May 19th, because we don’t want to upset those mothers and grandmothers out there expected to be pampered on Mother’s Day.

Coming up on May 11th will be the Twin City Model Railroad Museum’s Spring Hobby Show & Sale at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds Education Building from 9AM to 3PM. This year they will have an expanded space with more vendors spread out into the annex area and layouts displayed all throughout the sales area including the main room. Admission is $6 for ages 8 and older. Kids 7 and under can get in FREE! And this summer don’t for about the museum itself located at 668 Transfer Road in St Paul. It’s centrally located just ½ block off of University Avenue. On May 25th through the 27th they will feature Military Trains celebrating Memorial Day. And on the 27th I think I will bring my military train featuring Lionel’s Marine Corps #221 Alco and assorted military cars to run on the Corrigan layout.

The 30th Annual Strawberry Fest Train Show & Model Contest will be June 15 & 16 in the Waupaca Recreation Center, 407 School Street or just three blocks east of downtown at the intersection of School, State & Badger Streets in Waupaca, Wisconsin. Saturday’s hours are 10AM to 5PM and Sunday is 10AM to 3PM. There will be operating model railroad layouts, a Thomas the Tank Engine & Chuggington Friends for the kids, lots of dealer and hobbyist sales tables, great food and Strawberry Short Cake, and a model contest on Saturday only. Their historic 1907 Soo Line Depot will be open from 8AM to 9PM on both days. You can see more information at www.wamrltd.com

The second International Toy Train Expo will be July 6 & 7 at the Chippewa Valley Expo Center, 5150 Old Mill Plaza in Eau Claire, Wisconsin from 10AM to 5PM on both days. This huge show is sponsored by Menards, Kalmbach Media, Model Train Classics LLC, Riverfest Group and Operation Life Saver. If you attended last year, then you know you have to come back this year. Every vendor I talked to said they had a terrific weekend. You will see the “Magic Of Trains” excite the entire family. There will be vintage toy trains, collector trains, operating layouts, and hundreds of vendors, exhibitors, train dealers, railroad clubs and organizations showing you what they have to offer. The Minnesota Garden Railroad Club will have a HUGE floor layout, even larger than last year’s display. Roundhouse Rick will be bringing my G-gauge Twin Cities PCC car to run on one of their loops. See you there!

The 29th Annual Rail Fair takes place on July 27 from 10AM to 4PM at Copeland Park in La Crosse, Wisconsin. It’s a railroad show, flea market and swap meet where they will be lots of model and toy trains, railroadiana, antique toys, die-cast model, and who knows what other treasures will turn up. There will be railroad exhibits and displays and guided tours of the Burlington steam locomotive, caboose and Grand Crossing Tower. Admission is only $5 and children under 12 are FREE! All proceeds go to maintain and restore the La Crosse Short Line Railroad Heritage Museum. For more information you can look up their website at www.4000foundation.org


Roundhouse Rick will be spending my Wednesday afternoons in June, July and August running streetcar #1300 at the Minnesota Streetcar Museum, 2330 West 42nd Street in Minneapolis from 1PM to 4PM. Of course they are offering trolley rides on weekends and evenings too. Check out their website at www.trolleyride.org for all specific times. Besides Lake Harriet, they also have a trolley line in Excelsior. In Minneapolis they run streetcars that operated in the Twin Cities. In Excelsior they operate streetcars that ran in Duluth. Also in Excelsior a restoration of a streetcar boat runs on Lake Minnetonka. The boat is powered by steam so it’s fun to watch engine operating. Do it this summer!

The other big train museum in town is the Minnesota Transportation Museum that is located in the Jackson Street Roundhouse, 193 Pennsylvania Avenue East in St Paul. They operate dieselpowered train rides on the Osceola & St Croix Valley Railway in Osceola, Wisconsin. To find out about hours at the train ride and activities at the museum, visit their website www.transportationmuseum.org Up in Duluth is the Lake Superior Railroad Museum, 506 West Michigan Street, that displays the most impressive collection of railroad equipment in Minnesota. They also operate the North Shore Scenic Railroad which offers rides all the way north to Two Harbors, Minnesota. In the museum you can see one of the huge DM&IR steam engines with its wheels turning so you can see the side-rods moving. Visit these websites: www.lsrm.org and ww.northshorescenicrailroad.org.

Another Duluth railroad often overlooked is the Lake Superior & Mississippi Railroad, Grand Avenue & Fremont Street, that features a ride over the very first railroad line that entered Duluth in the 1870’s. Their train is pulled by a 1946 General Electric Center-Cab 50-ton Type Industrial Switcher and you can ride in the open air on a specially fitted flatcar on those warm summer days. Their website is www.lsmrr.org.

In Wisconsin you can enjoy a train ride at the Mid-Continent Railway Museum, E8948 Museum Road in North Freedom. Their historic Baldwin/Whitcomb Army switch engine that pulls their train ride is now backed up by a recently acquired EMD NW2, which will be used later this year. Their website, which includes four webcams, can be seen at www.midcontinent.org Also in Wisconsin you can visit the Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad, N6639 Dilly Lake Road in Trego. They offer a bed & breakfast dinner train and other train rides such as the Pizza Train and Dinner Train. It’s all pulled by a former Chicago & NorthWestern F-Unit that is now painted in a Great Northern inspired paint scheme. You can visit their website for more information at www.spoonertrainride.com You can also ride trolleys in Wisconsin at the East Troy Railroad Museum, 2002 Church Street in East Troy. They even have a trolley that was rebuilt using a Twin City streetcar body. Theirs is a 14 mile ride using both trolleys and interurban cards. Visit their website at www.easttroyrr.org.

Right here in Minneapolis is the home of Milwaukee Road steam engine #261. On June 22 & 23 they will be offering trips behind their steam engine. The June 22 trip will go from Minneapolis towards Glencoe on the former Milwaukee Road now operated by the Twin Cities & Western. The June 23 trip will be rare mileage as they travel from Minneapolis west on the Milwaukee Road and then south towards Winthrop on the former mainline of the Minneapolis & St Louis Railway, now the Minnesota Prairie Line operated by the Twin Cities & Western. For more information and ticket prices, you can visit their website at www.261.com.

Every Labor Day weekend the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion takes place in Rollag, Minnesota. You get a free train ride behind a 1920 Alco Soo Line steam engine to the 210 beautiful acres of displays. Their website is www.rollag.com.

That wraps up my Ramblings until September so Roundhouse Rick says, “Happy Training”.