Thanks to the
MID-CONTINENT RAILWAY HISTORICAL SOCIETY
for allowing me to publish this data sheet.
Thanks also to Bill Buhrmaster for the restoration photos.
#60 seen here in the Houghton Yard in April of 1962.
TYPE Passenger Coach-Open Platform
ORIGINAL OWNER Copper Range Railroad
ORIGINAL NUMBER #60
OTHER CARS IN THE ORDER 6 cars, #55-60
SUBSEQUENT OWNERS Keweenaw Central R.R. (tourist)
SUBSEQUENT NUMBERS #60
DATE BUILT 1903
BUILDER American Car & Foundry Co. Jeffersonville, Indiana
LENGTH 59'-0" body
PRIMARY CONSTRUCTION MATERIAL Wood
SEATING CAPACITY 62
LIGHTING (4) Kerosene chandeliers containing (2) lamps each, electric side lamps added
TRUCKS 4-wheel trucks, 8'-0" wheel base, wood and steel composite
DATE ACQUIRED BY MID-CONTINENT 1982
The Copper Range Railroad, the last major railroad built into the Copper Country of Upper Michigan, enjoyed a brisk, although short lived, passenger business that required some 30 passenger car over the years. Maximum trackage operated by the Copper Range never exceeded 150 miles but its passenger trains ran the gamut from the vestibuled "Northern Michigan Special" with the CR's own cafe-observation car to the lowly locals serving the various mining communities on the "Range". Considerable equipment was needed to handle the special weekend excursion trains from Calumet and Houghton to the Copper Range's own Freda Park, a beautiful natural park along Lake Superior.
Interior of COPR #60 at the beginning of being restored at MID-CONTINENT
Interior of COPR #60 with the restoration almost complete in October 2002
Coach #60 was built as a second-class coach in 1903 by the American Car & Foundry
Co. (AC&F), in the Jeffersonville, Indiana works. The #60 was a typical open-platform
car of the period. The #60 was one of six identical cars ordered by the five year old
Copper Range R.R. under AC&F lot No. 2504. The coach was delivered in a color
described as a green, brighter than Pullman green and striped in gold.
Starting in 1911 the Copper Range passenger equipment was gradually repainted in the standard "St. Paul" (Milwaukee Road) scheme of orange and maroon. This change took place after the "Northern Michigan Special's" inauguration as a premier Milwaukee Road passenger run from Chicago to Calumet. The "Special's" route included Copper Range trackage from McKeever to Calumet.
Exterior view of the repainting of COPR #60 at MID-CONTINENT
Passenger service on the Copper Range dwindled to but a few mixed trains by 1930. The
Copper Range Motor Bus Co. formed in 1928, plus the new family automobile both contributed
to a dramatic decline in passenger business.
A small roster of coaches endured the Great Depression and served the Copper Country on the well remembered school trains. The Copper Range, starting in 1908, carried school children to various area schools such as Painesdale from remote mining settlements of Redridge, Beacon Hill, Freda, Atlantic and South Range. Most of the school train service was replaced by busses in 1941. Surplus coaches such as sister cars #55, #57 and two others, went to Mexico in 1944.
Trucks removed during restoration
(Visit the Photoshop for 2 more photos)
The last hurrah for Copper Range passenger service came in June 1, 1944 when a first class passenger train was re-instituted from Houghton to McKeever for a connection with the Milwaukee's Chippewa" to Chicago. World War II gas rationing made such service a necessity. The train consisted of Copper Range 2-6-0 #58 with wooden combination car #26 and coach #60. Both cars were completely refurbished for the new train.
Another exterior view of #60
Unfortunately, the last vestige of Copper Range passenger service ended abruptly on
September 15, 1946. Coach #60 went into storage in the Houghton roundhouse. In 1965 coach
#60 literally got a new lease on life and spent two seasons on the newly formed tourist
line, the Marquette and Huron Mountain. The startup of a tourist railroad at Calumet ,
Michigan in 1967 resulted in Copper Range 2-8-0 #29 and coach #60 being sold to the
Keweenaw Central Railroad. The total abandonment of the Copper Range Railroad became a
reality in 1973 which, in turn forced the Keweenaw Central to discontinue operation rather
than face the loss of their rail connection. Coach #60 left the Copper Country for all
times in December 1972 and was stored at the Wells, Michigan shop of the Escanaba &
Lake Superior R.R..
The American Car & Foundry Co., of Jeffersonville, Indiana had its beginnings as
the Ohio Falls Car Co., being established during the Civil War. Ohio Falls endured several
bankruptcies and the Panic of 1873 to become a major Midwestern car builder. Early on the
firm promoted use of Southern Yellow pine for car construction due to its superior
strength. By the 1890's Ohio Falls' volume had reached $3 million worth of cars annually.
In 1899 Ohio Falls was consolidated into the industry giant American Car & Foundry Co.
(ACF). The Jeffersonville plant was closed by ACF in 1945 although most of the buildings
survive, utilized for a variety of industrial and commercial purposes.
The interior of the coach was originally stained and varnished with a Golden Oak finish. In addition to solid oak woodwork, the car was had with oak veneer headlining and ceiling panels. The seats were upholstered with cane (rattan). Heat to the car was provided by steam, while lighting was provided by four (2) burner kerosene lamps mounted on the ceiling. Electric side lights were added to the car by World War I. During the 1944 rebuild, the oak veneer ceiling panels were replaced with painted panels and the rattan seats were changed to red plush.
Interior wood detail, photo taken in October 2002, nearing the end of restoration
The Mid-Continent Railway Museum (MCRM) purchased the car in 1982 and arranged to have
it moved to North Freedom in September 1982. While awaiting restoration, a new roof was
installed in 1984. Starting in 1993, museum volunteers focused their efforts on performing
a complete restoration.. The car is being restored to the appearance that it had during
the passenger service period of 1944 to 1946.
Please go here for an article on the movement of this car to the M&HM RR which appeared in the CR News