Welcome! This page features news related to GSRM's current activities. Check back often for new articles and related photos.
Rail cars have moved over rails at GSRM in the past using a skid loader or the Farmall Super C as motive power, but Saturday, 17Sep16 marked the first time cars were handled by a locomotive.
Visitors to GSRM during New Prague's Dozinky Days celebration had an opportunity to ride the museum's 1956-built, Milwaukee Road, bay window caboose. Electro-motive Corporation SW1, NSP4 was the motive power for the caboose train.
GSRM currently offers rides on about 1/3 mile of track volunteers have built on the museum's 20 acre site. Volunteers plan to continue track construction through the winter months to lengthen the ride.
For many years, GSRM's Alco S4 switcher, NP 717 and Burlington coach Silver Crest have been stored on a siding in Montgomery, MN, awaiting the day GSRM has rail access to its site in New Prague.
Unfortunately, vandals and souvenir hunters are also aware of CB&Q Silver Crest and NP 717.
This summer, vandals again broke into CB&Q Silver Crest, ripping off plywood window coverings to enter the car. The interior is completely in shambles now. Vandals have literally peeled steel wall panels back throughout the car, pulling insulation out leaving it strewn about the car. Items stored in the car have been damaged and thrown about the car. Vandals also used the car as a secluded party venue.
Volunteers spent Labor Day weekend, cutting down trees that had grown up over the years and resecured CB&Q Silver Crest.
Souvenir hunters have also stolen builder's plates, the bell, front headlight (they left the cover) and horn from NP 717 and one of the "Silver Crest" name plates from CB&Q Silver Crest.
Tresspassers continue to break into NP 717. Most recently, plywood covering a broken windshield was peeled back allowing entry to the locked cab and someone has taken to storing an odd assortment of personal items inside the cab now filled floor to ceiling. Local teenagers have also discovered the cab as a "hideout" for various activities.
In the coming weeks, windows and doors will be welded closed to prevent future damage and no tresspassing signs are now posted in several places to warn vandals they'll be arrested if caught by the police.
Anyone interested in helping clean and secure the area or donate money to help move the equipment to New Prague, please contact GSRM.
It's no secret CB&Q 14534 was looking its 144 years old age. Volunteers began giving it a makeover late in the summer of 2014 and really went after it this past spring. It's starting to look pretty good with a fresh coat of mineral red paint. Next up is restoring the windows and trim, rather than the plywood covers.
Volunteers will be busy working on the interior as well, reparing water damage and repainting the interior.
CB&Q 14534 is open to the public the first Saturday of the month May through October and other times by appointment. See our "Hours of Operation" page for more details.
Gopher State Railway Museum held its annual meeting and election of officers at 5p, Saturday, 15Nov14 in the fellowship hall at Living Spirit United Methodist Church in South Minneapolis.
Social hour featured a variety of pizza from Domino's Pizza located just down the block from the church.
The evening's guest presentation was hosted by John Kennedy who showed slides of Twin Cities railroad action from 1968 to 1971. John has been taking railroad photos for more than 50 years and is quite knowledgeable on railroad history. A big thank you to John for sharing some of his photography.
There were 22 people in attendace at the meeting including members and invited guests.
It is with great sadness GSRM relates the passing of long time volunteer, Larry Wigfield.
Larry was a life long railroader, having retired from the Union Pacific after 40+ years of service. Larry began his career with the Minneapolis & St Louis Railway as an agent/operator, working a number of stations in the Twin Cities and across Minnesota.
Larry continued working as an agent/operator and dispatcher for the Chicago & North Western after that railroad merged with M&StL in November 1960.
Larry was an active GSRM volunteer, coordinating several joint picnics between GSRM and the Union Pacific Employees Club. Larry also was a regular at "Train Talk Time", a GSRM program in the early 2000s promoting railroad history and safety to school-age children through the Scott County Library.
Larry also was very active in Minnesota Operation Lifesaver as a volunteer.
Larry always had a railroad story and loved to talk to people about his years on the railroad and share his photos he'd taken over the years. He also restored an M&StL baggage cart which is displayed at the Scott/Carver Thresher's grounds in Jordan, MN.
Larry will be greatly missed, and our thoughts go out to Larry's wife Bonnie and their two children.
20Sep14 was an exceptional day for GSRM and its volunteers. It marks the first time ever GSRM was open to the public AND operated a train on track built by volunteers.
Between 10am and 4pm, more than 200 people took a short ride on NSP 4, toured office car Manitoba, spoke with representatives from Operation Lifesaver in the Milwaukee Road caboose and had a chance to see and learn about some railroad history and what the story was behind the old railroad equipment the see every day along side the highway.
A volunteer from the Milwaukee Road Historical Association put up a nice display about their organization inside office car Manitoba and showed movies of the Milwaukee Road in action. Guests from the Red Bull Historic Military Vehicle Preservation Association also were on hand with some vintage military vehicles.
Thank you to everyone who participated in providing a display, you helped make the day successful and thank you to all those that visited and rode the train. We hope you'll come back.
Throughout August and September, GSRM volunteers have continued to make progress. Some of the work has included fascia work on the depot, scraping paint on the Burligton waycar and track work to realign the curve from Hill Top 2 to Hill Top 1. Here's a few photos of volunteers hard at work the past couple months.
24 years ago, a small group of volunteers from the Minnesota Transportation Museum incorporated the non-profit Gopher State Railway museum with the goal of creating an operating railroad museum.
Sunday, 20Jul14, GSRM volunteers reached a milestone on the way to that goal by giving rides to members and guests at its Annual Picnic. Volunteers had recently repaired electrical problems on NSP 4 and train rides were an added surprise for picnic goers.
Volunteers have constructed approximately 1/3 mile of track to date. GSRM's 1940 EMC SW1 diesel locomotive gave small groups of passengers rides throughout the afternoon out to the end of track and back.
The railroad rule book defines a train specifically as - "a locomotive, or more than one locomotive couple together, with or without cars, displaying markers". Based on that definition, Extra NSP 4 met the definition of a train per the rule book, displaying white classification flags to the front and red markers to the rear.
Volunteers Jeff Braun as Engineer and Adam Kosel as Conductor were the crew for this event. A huge Thank You is owed to all the volunteers whose work culminated in this day and made it all possible.
Adding a caboose as well as more track is the next goal of volunteers as well as restoring a coach to operate.
(Both Photos Courtesy of Kirk Juergens)
To the sound of creaking rail and squealing flanges, NSP 4 took some cautious steps forward as it moved down GSRM's right-of-way for the first time under it's own power.
NSP 4 has had an electrical problem that prevented it from moving for the past 10 years. Volunteers have looked into it off and on during that time, but haven't been able to really dig into it since it was moved from storage in Chaska to the museum in 2008.
The previous saturday (19Apr), volunteers charged the batteries and fired NSP 4 up for the first time this year. Some trouble shooting of the electrical system narrowed the problem down to three key components. Volunteers didn't have circuit testing equipment with them at the time, so the source of the trouble couldn't be narrowed down any further. No matter what, when the throttle was opened, the engine got louder, but the scenery didn't move.
The short circuit seems to be a broken wire under the cab floor, it's possible mice chewed through it while it was in storage. Volunteers temporarily bridged the circuit with the engine off and the contactors could all be heard to close when the throttle was opened - a good sign.
Next up - volunteers fired up the locomotive. Once the air was up for brakes and other auxiliaries, the generator field was closed, brakes released and the throttle opened.
With an instant response - the locomotive smoothly moved forward and the scenery was moving outside the window. Everyone in the cab cheered. At a very slow walking speed, NSP 4 covered about 1/4 mile of GSRM's track. With no ballast and spring conditions, the track creaked and groaned, flanges squealed and volunteers decided no to navigate the track any further until it dries out a bit and the track can be inspected.
Rail equipment has moved across the entire length of this track already. In 2013, GSRM's machine shop car and CB&Q 14534 moved with a skid loader as motive power. They're considerably lighter than NSP 4. The track will ultimately be ballasted, tamped and leveled when funds permit, but at this time, it's laid directly on the ground.
It was a short first run, but it ran and that's what matters. GSRM is that much closer to providng a living educational experience for its visitors.
(Photos below were taken in 2013)
GSRM is now on Facebook. Please be sure to find GSRM on Facebook and "like" our page.
GSRM will be using its Facebook page to supplement its website in reaching the public. Facebook users will find posts on current GSRM events and happenings as well as shared posts from other groups GSRM "likes".
We hope this will be a fun and useful social media tool for GSRM.
After sitting silent for several years in Chaska, MN, then moving by truck to New Prague, MN in 2008, NSP 4 finally burbled to life again in the rain on Saturday 16Nov13.
It wasn't officially the first time it was fired up since moving to New Prague, but it was the first time it ran for any length of time. It was fired up in October 2012 for the first time in many years, only to run for about 15-20 and then quit, out of fuel. It was found the emergency fuel shut-off had been tripped during the move. Opening the valve didn't seem to fix the problem and it still wasn't getting fuel.
This summer, Adam Kosel traced the source of the lack of fuel to the emergency fuel shut-off. it apparently was damaged in the move and even though it appeared to be open, the valve inside was stuck closed and damaged. It looked like it had seized in place after all these years and when it was tripped, it broke the valve internal parts into several pieces.
Adam repaired the valve and we finally had some time last weekend to try and fire it up again. It still needs some tuning up to run better, but it didn't run bad for having sat silent for all these years.
It still has an electrical problem and won't budge, but that's a project for another day.
GSRM's 2013 annual meeting will be held Saturday 16Nov.
This year's meeting will be a bit different from past meetings. In recent years, the annual meeting has changed format to a more informal event with a short business meeting, election of officers followed by snacks and entertainment in the form of railroad videos.
For 2013, the annual meeting will be a longer event and take place at two different locations.
Begining at 3pm, we'll meet at the Twin City Model Railroad Museum located in Bandana Square in St Paul, MN where members will have two hours until closing time to view the O scale layout on the second floor of themain building as well as the Lionel trains in the adjacent toy train museum in the Black Smith's Shop. Admission is on your own, but includes both displays.
The museum closes at 5pm. At that time, we'll all head over to Broadway Pizza in "Nordeast" Minneapolis. We have the lower level party room reserved for the evening. At 530pm sharp, we'll conduct a short business meeting and election of officers.
At 6pm, we'll have dinner. Dinner is on your own from Broadway Pizza's menu.
Starting at 730pm, there will be a slide show of current and vintage railroad photos provided by a local railfan photographer. The slide show will last as long as people wish to stay and view them, we need to leave the room before 12m.
Outside friends of GSRM will be joining us for the dinner and slide show portion of the evening. GSRM members are encouraged to bring along freinds, family or any prospective members to this afternoon and eveing event. The only regulation will be, only current dues paying members will be allowed to vote in the election of officers.
We hope to see everyone there!
Twin City Model Railroad Museum
1021 Bandana Blvd
St Paul, MN 55108
2025 W River Rd
Minneapolis, MN 55411
A brand new American flag greeted members and guests at GSRM's 2013 Annual picnic. Over the weekend, volunteers installed the new flag pole in the northwest corner of the parking lot, just in time for a debut at the annual picnic.
The aluminum flag pole is approximately 30 feet tall and accented by a small flower garden at its' base.
Funding for the flag pole project was provided by the Elko-New Market Lyons Club. Thank you to the Lyons Club for their generous support.
Well ok - they technically didn't "buzz" the museum, it was an overfly at about 2500ft. Air Expo 2013 was held at Flying Cloud Regional Airport in Eden Prairie, MN the weekend of 13/14Jul and the Yankee Air Museum's B-17 Yankee Lady was part of the operating display offering 1/2 hour rides.
Volunteers working on the depot Saturday 13Jul were suprised to hear a low rumble of radial engines in the distance and before long - here's what was seen to fly overhead -
I don't think they intentionally flew past the museum, it just happened to be along the flight path, but we're glad they visited anyway. It's always fun to see the old warbirds in action and not often we get a visit.
Keep 'em flying!
2Jul I received a phone call from Joan Dosedel. I hadn't met Joan before, but it turned out her family once owned GSRM's WC caboose, WC 99114 and her sons had donated the car to GSRM a little more than 12 years ago.
It was great to talk to Joan. She has a keen interest in history, especially Minnesota, the Twin Cities and the area railroads. Joan wanted to know if we still had WC 99114 and what it's status was. I told her we certainly still do have the car and plan to restore it as funding is available. She was glad to hear we still have the car and are taking steps to preserve it.
Joan related her family had many offers to buy WC 99114, most involved turning it into an ice cream stand or a bar. Because the car was so complete with all the interior furnishings including the stove, the Dosedel's wanted to see the car preserved, not turned into a roadside attraction.
Joan's sons, John, James, David and Robert decided to donate WC 99114 to GSRM instead of sell it. Joan and her husband have since moved to an apartment in Coon Rapids, but has fond memories of the 30-plus years they owned WC 99114.
WC 99114 made the paper the day it arrived at their house. Newspaper photos showed a small crowd of local children following WC 99114 as it proceeded down the street by truck to the Dosedel home. It quickly became an area landmark.
The Dosedel back yard had a nice pond for skating and WC 99114 provided a roomy and unique warming house for the local children that came by for a day of hockey or figure skating.
Halloween was a fun time as the family hosted an annual "Halloween Cabbose". Children dressed as animals occupied cages creatively made from cardboard to turn the area under the cupola into a "zoo". Dracula and his coffin took over the conductor's desk and bench nearby. Dry ice in the stove filled the car with fog to set the atmosphere. Families and neighbors from the area came by every year for the "Halloween Caboose". It was so popular by word of mouth that even after the car left for GSRM, people stopped by in the fall asking when the "Halloween Caboose" event was going to be held.
Joan recently found out that she and her husband most likely rode WC 99114 frequently as children. Their families lived near Ladysmith, WI and the area children often rode a Soo Line train to school in a caboose. In doing some other research, Joan turned up some Soo Line records showing caboose assignments during the time she lived near Ladysmith. One of the cars assigned to that division was WC 99114.
What a neat find for Joan to discover that not only had she most likely rode WC 99114 to school as a child, but later her own children woould also get to experience WC 99114 in a different, but fun way.
It was great talking to Joan and finding out more of WC 99114's history, ubiquitous Soo/WC caboose, children's playhouse, warming house, local Halloween theatre, it served many roles since it was built in 1911.
Thank you Joan for sharing your story with me.
Dear Members & Friends of GSRM,
As many of you know, GSRM volunteers have been busy the past several years rebuilding the Kilkenny building for use as a depot. Progress has been slow, but steady and it’s starting to resemble a depot. Windows have been added, much of the exterior trim is completed and the depot platform/handicap ramp is 90 percent complete.
But a lot of work remains before GSRM obtains an occupancy permit from Scott County. The operator’s bay needs to be added, a new front door needs to be installed, interior walls need to be built, interior wiring and lights need to be added and the interior finish and trim needs to be completed.
Obtaining an occupancy permit is key to GSRM really being able to be open to the public on a regular basis. There’s no question, GSRM needs the depot finished by mid-summer 2013 so volunteers can move on to other important projects. Because this is so important, it has been decided to enlist the services of a paid carpenter and electrician to help complete the major portion of the work remaining.
It’s estimated to cost between $8000 and $10,000 to finish this project. Because it’s so important to GSRM’s future, we're asking for your help. GSRM needs to be open to the public in order to apply for grants and continue growing. The depot can’t be open to the public without an occupancy permit and a permit can’t be obtained until the depot is completed.
We realize the economy is still sluggish and people are watching their spending closely. Still, we feel this is an important enough project that needs to be completed. We're asking you as a member or friend of GSRM to please contribute whatever you’re able to contribute to our effort to complete the depot. No donation is too small. If money is tight, please consider volunteering your time. There’s still plenty of work left for volunteers to do. And as always, your donation is tax deductible.
Please consider helping GSRM complete this important project monetarily, as a volunteer or both. You can mail your check to:
Gopher State Railway Museum
PO Box 125
New Prague, MN 56071
Please note “Hilltop Depot Fund” in the memo.
Thank you for your support!
The calendar says it's spring. The view out the window says otherwise. In Minnesota it's payback time for our exceptionally warm (average temps in the 70s and 80s) March we all enjoyed in 2012. This spring we've experienced below average temps in the 20s and 30s, a lot more snowfall and even freezing rain. For you baseball fans, the Minnesota Twins experienced their first game postponed because of snow since Target Field opened four years ago.
Here's the view outside GSRM's window Saturday, 13Apr.
It's always a sad time when we report the loss of one of our members. In the past few months we have lost two long time members.
Rob lived in New Prague, MN and was always a cheerful presence at meetings and events and an active local supporter of GSRM. Rob was active in many community groups including New Prague's local production company, appearing in several plays. Rob served as a GSRM board member as a Director-at-Large.
Rob most recently contributed to making the Burlington Route Historical Society visit a success, helping in the kitchen and running food and supplies back and forth to make sure all the guests had everything they needed, Rob's help was a welcome addition to the event.
One of the many things Rob will be remembered for is his signature "Motion to Adjourn" at monthly GSRM business meetings. Rob always could tell when meetings were nearing the end of the agenda topics and shifting into the proverbial "bull session". At this point, he'd offer up a cheerful, "I'd like to make a motion to adjourn". Everyone would laugh and realize they were getting off topic. There'd be a second to the motion and the meeting would be adjourned and back to the various non-business related topics of discussion.
Rob was also a local fixture, volunteering to run "the popcorn wagon" at the New Prauge State Bank at various times throughout the year. By volunteering to handle the popcorn sales, Rob was able to earn a portion of the day's sales and donate it to GSRM.
Rob will be missed by GSRM and his family. Our thoughts and prayers are with Rob's family.
Jim was a resident of Northfield, MN and a charter member of GSRM. Jim was well known in the Northfield area for his narrow gauge steam railroad he maintained and operated in the back yard of his Northfield home. Every year, usually the second weekend in October, Jim fired up the locomotive for two days and gave rides on about a mile of track. He never charged addmission or advertised, yet every year, thousands of people would show up to ride the train literally from all over the world. There would always be free popcorn and pop, calliope music for entertainment and old cars on display courtesy of Jim's many freinds.
Jim and his wife graciously hosted this event for many years. Jim almost stopped the annual event when his wife passed away, but friends and family urged him to continue. For a number of years, GSRM volunteers would meet at Jim's house a couple weeks before he operated and help him work on his track and make sure it was all ready to go for the big weekend. At lunch time, work would stop and Jim's wife always brought out a huge stack of sandwiches and lemonade she'd made for everyone.
Jim was instrumental over the years providing financial support for GSRM and donated the Milwaukee Road inspection car T1. Jim also often times hosted GSRM business meetings at his shop on Saturdays and lunch would be provided.
Jim was an avid rail historian and collected a large number of artifacts displayed in two depots in his back yard. He was a wealth of knowledge, especially on the local railroad history. One of his favorite roads was the Minneapolis, Norhtfield & Southern Ry and its predecessor Dan Patch Electric Lines as well as the affiliated Luce Electric that became Minnesota Western. Jim was always willing to share his railroad knowledge and interest in railroading with anyone that asked.
Jim was a Korean War Veteran, serving in the Transportaton Corps. Jim will be missed by GSRM and his family. Our thoughts and prayers are with Jim's family.
GSRM hosted its' annual Membership Picninc for members, their families and guests Sunday, 15Jul12. About 30 people attended the event, hosted every year at the museum site in New Prague, MN.
Every year there's more for people to see and do as volunteers keep busy constructing the museum. The weather was hot and humid, but it didn't stop people from visiting with each other and enjoying hot dogs and hamburgers hot off the grill, courtesy the skills of member and Treasurer John Stallman.
It was hinted speeder rides might be a possibility, unfortunately, there wasn't enough track built yet, but visitors could sit on the static display speeder in front of the depot and pretend the depot display track really went somwhere if they wanted to.
Thank you to all the volunteers that made this year's picnic a success, it wouldn't happen without you.
Every year the Burlington Route Historical Society holds its' annual fall meet in a different location in the geographic area covered by the Burlington Route. This year the location was the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St Paul, MN.
BRHS is a national organization drawing guests to the meet from all over the country. Each year, the meet features several fun activities including local tours, model displays and contests, clinics, slide shows and a banquet to name a few.
This year's meet was based at a St Paul area hotel and began Thursday evening, 13Sep12 with a visit to Gopher State Railway Museum in New Prague, MN. About 45 people arrived at GSRM via motor coach or personal vehicle around 4:30pm. Displays open for viewing included an 1880 Pullman-built St Paul, Minneapolis & Manitoba office car, Manitoba, 1956 Thrall-built Milwaukee Road bay window caboose, 1940 EMC SW1 NSP 4 (formerly CB&Q 9146) and 1871 CB&Q waycar 14534. Guests were able to move about GSRM's 20 acre site on foot, by Fairmont motor car or on a "people mover" borrowed from the Scott/Carver Threshers group located in Jordan, MN towed by GSRM's Farmall Super C. Guests also enjoyed a picnic style supper of hot dogs, hamburgers, chips and beans prepared by GSRM volunteers and brownies from the local New Prague bakery for dessert.
Other events during the meet included Friday tours of the Minnesota Commercial, BNSF Northtown Yard, Progressive Rail, Freind's of the 261 and a layout tour of local model railroader Jeff Otto. Otto's 3700 sq ft, HO scale model railroad can accomodate up to 35 operators at a time with computer controllled dispatching and a fast clock. Saturday featured model contests, a swap meet, clinics and a banquet.