Midwest Central Railroad
The Midwest Central Railroad is a 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge heritage railroad operating on the grounds of the Midwest Old Thresher's Reunion in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. The railroad is a non-profit organization operated by volunteers mainly from the Midwest. The track is a clockwise loop approximately 1 mile in length. It features 2 stations, one being an original station and the other being a new wood structured metal sided building.
The Midwest Central has six steam locomotives: two are currently running, one is in need of a new boiler and is going through a complete restoration, one is awaiting an in-depth boiler inspection, one is in Colorado as part of a long term lease agreement, and the other rolls around the yard rusting and needing extensive work. Some of the steam locomotives have been featured in several films.
- #6 is a 2-6-0 made by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1891 for the Surry, Sussex and Southampton Railway in Virginia. It was sold to the Argent Lumber of South Carolina in the late 1920s, and bought by the Midwest Central (along with #2) in 1960. It is the flagship locomotive which just came back to operation in September 2010 after going through a moderate boiler overhaul.
- #9 is a Class C (3-truck) 80 ton Shay locomotive made by Lima Locomotive Works in 1923 and came from West Side Lumber Company of California and acquired by the Midwest Central in 1966. In January, 2011, the MCRR and the Georgetown Loop Railroad entered into a 7 to 10-year agreement to refurbish the 9 and have it reside at the GLRR (where her West Side sisters #8, #12 & #14 previously operated). The 9 went into revenue passenger service on July 14, 2012 at the Georgetown Loop Railway.
- #12 is a 2-6-2 built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1928. This was the last steam locomotive used by the Kahului Railroad in the 1950s. The engine is on long term lease from the Georgetown Loop Railroad.
- #16 is an 18-ton 0-4-0 made by Henschel of Germany in 1951 and built to 900 mm gauge, but runs on 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge track. This is the only coal-burning locomotive on the Midwest Central. In 2011, the 16 was "blue flagged" for an in-depth boiler inspection. The inspection date and final disposition of this locomotive has not been determined.
- #2 is a 2-6-0 made by Baldwin in 1906 that came with #6 from Argent Lumber of South Carolina. #2 ran for many years before it was discovered it needed a new boiler. A boiler is under construction at Lund Machine Works of New Ulm, Minnesota. The staff has renewed its effort to get this locomotive moving under its own power within the next few years. The MCRR has received several cash grants to help finance the rebuilding project.
- #1 is a Mexican 2-8-0 that has been in need of repair for many years.
There are two Plymouth diesel-hydraulic locomotives that came from Ohio. The Plymouth's were originally 3 ft 2 in (965 mm) gauge and were regauged to 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge after arrival in Mt. Pleasant. The 14 is used on a regular basis while the D-9 is undergoing restoration. There is a small Vulcan Iron Works gasoline switcher. A Ford Model A fireman truck and a Ford Model T foreman truck complete the power roster.
The railroad's passengers cars were constructed at the MCRR shops using Southern Pacific flat cars as a foundation. There are 3 cabooses: one is all-metal from the White Pass and Yukon Railroad, the second is the last surviving Bellevue and Cascade narrow gauge caboose numbered 55 and the third is wood construction on a SP flatcar frame by scaling up an HO scale model caboose to full size. The model plans used were NOT from any existing full size caboose, but rather had been produced so modelers could build a caboose for their HO layouts since none were commercially available. Marshall Thayer offered plans for an HOn3 caboose to Stan Mathews during discussion of building such a car. As such, the "model" was built to the "scale" of 87 to 1. The MCRR has two D&RGW boxcars (3366 and 3007), one D&RGW gondola, and numerous D&RGW and WPYRR flat cars. The flat cars range from fully restored (D&RGW Nos 6216 and 6206) to extremely rough. Many years ago several East Broad Top coal hoppers were purchased and transported to Mt. Pleasant with the thoughts of using the brake gear, draft gear, steel frame and trucks as the starting point for creating additional passenger cars. Robert L Grove, Volunteer, 1965 and 1975.
- Jack Huber, The Surry Lumber Company -- Logs, Locomotives and Lumber, Virginia Forests, Winter 2000.
- Surrey, Sussex & Southampton RR No. 6, www.steamlocomotive.info, 2012; see notes section.
- Lima Locomotive Works, Inc. Shop Number 3199, web page at www.shaylocomotives.com, 2012
- News Release, June 13, 2007, History Colorado -- Georgetown Loop Historic Mining & Railroad Park
- Jeff Hunt, Trading History on Rails -- Midwest Central Railroad, History Colorado swap engines, The Burlington Hawk Eye, Jan. 27, 2011.
- SW No. 16, www.steamlocomotive.info, 2012; see notes section.