With our recent look at the old Q&TL rail yards I thought we’d dig into the old mailbag to tell a few more stories relating to the Copper Country’s railroad history, via a few reader’s contributions. We start our journey with the Q&TL No.6, and a look at its restoration thanks to Paul Meier whose been assisting with the efforts for the past year and has photos to prove it.
This is the very same engine we featured just a few days ago during our ten year revisit of the old Quincy and Torch Lake rail yards. She was in top form then, due mainly to the tiresome work of volunteers. This May the work done on the loco included adding a few pieces of missing equipment including an air tank, steam dome (the dome to the right seen in the photo above) and sand dome shell minus the dome part.
These photos are courtesy Paul Meier, who lends a rather artistic eye to the events of the day. Here fellow volunteer Chuck Trabert works on the engine’s coil hangers whatever those are.
The main work of the day involved giving the iron machine its more organic touches which included maple running boards along with the floor of the cab itself (which would sit to the right of the boiler in the photo above). Seen above are the masters at work – Chuck Trabert, Dave Wiitanen, and Chuck Pomazal. The boards were milled and custom cut at Copper City and planed in Dollar Bay. After being fitted they were then painted black to match the rest of the loco.
Finally some work was done on the restored tender as well, which was brought out of the roundhouse for the occasion. Here it is being filled with coal, though not completely. The coal is just for show (since the engine won’t run), but was placed atop a fake floor in the tender to give the impression it was filled with coal. Seen atop the tender is Chuck Pomazal and Dave Wiitanen.
This work was done in the spring, but in late summer both the tender and the locomotive was pushed back into the roundhouse where they will sit permanently as the central exhibit in a future railroad museum to take up residence inside. Last step will be the addition of the cab itself, which will be built within the dry and warm interior of the building.
Next we continue showcasing Paul Meier’s photographic work, but this time from a time a bit further back – the 1960s. Here we find the Calumet Depot open and in use with of all things a diesel train out front. This is the famous (at least locally) Copper Country Limited, which provided honest to goodness passenger service from Calumet to points all across the region. Here it sits awaiting its departure from the Calumet Depot.
Turning around Paul points his camera down the tracks and takes in all the glory of the Calumet rail yards. Most of this is gone today, save for the old rail bridge seen in the distance which still stands. I love how the mine shaft in the distance is perfectly framed within the bridge’s superstructure. From the angle this picture was taken that shaft must have belonged to the Osceola, probably the No.6.
Taking a slight turn to the left from our previous vantage point we find the old beer depot and warehouse. Paul notes this use to be the original Calumet Depot, but was later turned into a freight depot when the new brick structure was built. Never heard of Blatz beer however.
We move away from the Mineral Range (DSS&A) line and head over to the opposite end of Calumet and take a look at the old Copper Range rail yards. At this time those yards had largely been overtaken by the Keweenaw Central tourist railroad, as the Copper Range had largely abandoned this section of track. Here the scenic railway sits dormant along the track awaiting its next excursion.
Here the engine is fired up and ready to go, with some curious tourists getting a personalized tour by Clint Jones.
We finish up with a look at this old poster. After our last feature on the Keweenaw Central Reader Hans Schlegel provided me with a photo of a poster advertising for the tourist line. $1.25 seems pretty cheap – though apparently the price was only good for men and the Tech ladies had to pay more.