Colfax Railroad Museum

Colfax Railroad Museum Museum Hours: May 1-Oct 31 Wed-Sun 11am-4pm Family: $20 Adults: $8 Children 7-14: $5 Children
We are located at: 500 Railroad Ave Colfax, WI 54730 If you would like to schedule a group tour, contact Herb at (715)962-2076.
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Guided tours are available during hours of operation or by appointment. Tours include history of railroads in Western Wisconsin, the railroad equipment, and the settlement of the area.

Mission: A Wisconsin Non-Profit institution dedicated to the preservation, display, and interpretation of our western Wisconsin railroad heritage.

Happy National Train Day!
05/09/2020

Happy National Train Day!

The National Park Service has a new Junior Ranger booklet, the Junior Ranger Railroad Explorer. It was released just in time for National Train Day, May 9.

National Train Day is celebrated on the Saturday closest to May 10, the day which commemorates the Golden Spike Ceremony held on May 10, 1869 at Promontory Summit.

#NationalTrainDay #FindYourPark #EncuentraTuParque

The booklet provides kids of all ages with fun activities to do with friends and family. It covers a wide range of topics from history, to the cultures of the people involved, to the tools used to build a railroad - most of the work was done by hand!

There is also a section about the Native Americans, for whom the coming of the railroad speeded up the loss of their homelands.

If you are an adult, you should read through the booklet too, you might be surprised about the breadth of the material covered.

You can view and download the Junior Ranger Railroad Explorer here: https://www.nps.gov/articles/junior-ranger-railroad-explorer.htm

And if unable to come to a Park, you can become a Junior Ranger on-line. This NPS page will tell you how: https://www.nationalparks.org/connect/blog/becoming-junior-ranger-online

Though Paterson started as a cotton town, the town needed skilled carpenters and metal workers to build and repair machines for the cotton trade. One of these carpenters was Thomas Rogers who partnered with Morris Ketchum and Jasper Grosvenor to found a machine shop in 1831 - they planned to spin cotton on the second floor. Soon after founding they received an order to build 100 sets of wheel and axles for the South Carolina Railroad. By 1837 they had built their first locomotive. It took 16 months to build the Sandusky, since they had to create the tools and gauges needed to do the work properly. In 1838 they built seven locomotives and they increased their production each year until in 1854 they built 103 locomotives.

Oh - they never did spin cotton on their second floor.

Roger’s shop was an incubator of talent, with his shop foreman, William Swinburne, leaving to found Swinburne, Smith and Company in 1845. John Cooke also worked at the Rogers mill and he founded his own locomotive manufacturing firm, Danforth, Cooke & Company with Charles Danforth who also had found employment briefly with Rogers.

In November 1868 Rogers delivered 5 identical coal-burning 4-4-0 steam locomotives (assigned Nos. 116 -120) to the Union Pacific Railroad, which were subsequently placed into freight service in western Wyoming and Utah.
Union Pacific No. 119 would gain fame on May 10, 1869 when it took part in the "Golden Spike" ceremony at Promontory, Utah to celebrate the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad.

Along with locomotive manufacturing, Paterson became a major iron town as well, relying on ore from NJ’s highlands, delivered via the Morris Canal. Paterson Iron works produced everything from rolled iron sheets to structural iron work for bridges.

The National Park Service has a number of sites dedicated to railroads or which interpret railroads. One of them is Steamtown NHS in Scranton, which has restored the old DL&W roundhouse: https://www.nps.gov/stea/index.htm

Another is Allegheny Portage Railroad NHS in Pennsylvania: https://www.nps.gov/alpo/index.htm

And of course the Golden Spike National Historical Park in Utah: https://www.nps.gov/gosp/index.htm

Oh - and we interpret railroads too!

Pictures show:

The first two pictures show the new Jr Ranger Railroad Explorer.

The rest are about Rogers and cover its history in pictures.

The first is the Sandusky. The picture shows the engine and below it Roger’s revolutionary wheels that were counterweighted to balance the weight of the driveshafts.

Then we have Rogers circa 1860. Note the mix of wooden and brownstone buildings. Also the locomotive in the middle of Spruce Street. The wooden building on the left has the old name “Rogers Ketcham and Grosvenor.”

Next is a 6 wheel switcher engine used to move rail cars in a rail yard. It was built in 1863.

Then we have Rogers at its peak in the 1880s. It was still a major player in the industry.

Last, we have a locomotive being transported from Rogers to the Erie Tracks. This shows the difficulties faced by Rogers. Things were much harder for him that for his peers. And he could not expand in Paterson.

05/07/2020

If an HO/HOn3/On30 club was started, what would your interest be? This club would have a fixed HO/HOn3 layout in Colfax and a traveling HO/On30 layout.

Just a little train humor to get today started. Data shows that being able to laugh has therapeutic effects during troub...
04/29/2020

Just a little train humor to get today started. Data shows that being able to laugh has therapeutic effects during troubling times.

Good afternoon!  The Museum executive board has been in discussion over the last few weeks with regard to how we can bes...
04/22/2020
Pay Colfax railroad Museum, Inc. using PayPal.Me

Good afternoon! The Museum executive board has been in discussion over the last few weeks with regard to how we can best protect our members and allow some sense of normalcy to this COVID-19 outbreak.

I have made the decision to keep the grounds available for anyone who wishes to get out and walk them. The museum and depot will remain closed. Our volunteers continue to maintain the grounds, and if you have questions, may be available to answer them while maintaining 6' of distance and wearing masks.

We do hope that once this #SaferAtHome order is relaxed, we may return to normal operations. This includes the debut of our 7.5" ride-on train, the opening of our library archives, and other events that had been in discussion by the members of the board.

If you wish to help us continue to keep our mission going, you can support us through paypal: paypal.me/colfaxrrmuseum

We look forward to seeing you all when this is over. Be safe, be well, wash your hands, and wait for the high-ball.

Bill Sakalaucks
President of the Board
Colfax Railroad Museum

Go to paypal.me/colfaxrrmuseum and type in the amount. Since it’s PayPal, it's easy and secure. Don’t have a PayPal account? No worries.

04/02/2020
Christopher Lennertz - Will Wakes - Lost In Space: Season 2 (A Netflix Original Series Soundtrack)

Do you know our board of directors? Here’s an introduction to our vice-chair, Joe Murphy!

Joe is a prominent studio musician in Nashville, TN, and has been on numerous movie soundtracks and commercial records. He can be heard playing in the soundtrack of the new Netflix series, Lost in Space. Enjoy!

"Will Wakes" by Christopher Lennertz Lost In Space: Season 2 (A Netflix Original Series Soundtrack)

03/31/2020

We are currently following the Governor’s guidelines for closure. We are still set for a May 1st opening if things clear up. We had our first safety test on the 7.5” gauge train the past weekend and have some winter grading repairs to do before the state ride inspection. Over the next two weeks we are clearing out a huge model railroad layout so the new home buyers can move in. We plan to start a model railroad club at the wooden depot. The mainline will be over 200’ run when it is all setup and operational. It will be computerized and handle up to six trains at a time.

12/31/2019

While the weather outside is frightful, completing your railroad projects is quite delightful. We have what you need for your trains! Z through G, 7.5”, and full size!

12/30/2019

Due to the unsafe winter conditions, the hobby shop will be closed today.

12/25/2019

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and happy holidays from our family to yours!

Museum secretary/treasurer asked Santa for a new wall on the Minnesota, Northfield, & Southern caboose.  Thanks to our c...
12/24/2019

Museum secretary/treasurer asked Santa for a new wall on the Minnesota, Northfield, & Southern caboose. Thanks to our community service volunteer, it came!! More work still needs to be done to preserve one of the last wooden-body cars built for main-line service, but this goes a long way to save this important piece of railroad history.

11/29/2019

We won’t be open this weekend for Small Business Saturday due to weather. If you wish to help support us, please donate at 7am on Tuesday morning for #givingtuesday as Facebook will be matching the first $7M donated that day.

11/05/2019

This weekend, our chairperson and secretary/treasurer will be at Trainfest in Milwaukee. Our chair started a model train club at the school he teaches in and they are displaying their modules. Find us in the builder's program area.

09/22/2019

Due to a family emergency, we will be opening late (1pm) today.

We had several volunteers from Walmart Distribution and Thrivent come and help us this summer. We appreciate the work th...
08/31/2019

We had several volunteers from Walmart Distribution and Thrivent come and help us this summer. We appreciate the work they do and would love to have your company or group help for a day, too!

It’s been a bit of a journey, and longer than we had hoped, but the final “spike” has been driven on our newest attracti...
08/31/2019

It’s been a bit of a journey, and longer than we had hoped, but the final “spike” has been driven on our newest attraction.

There’s a lot being paved at the depot.
08/09/2019

There’s a lot being paved at the depot.

07/30/2019
Big Boy #4014 Race Across Wisconsin

Museum chairperson, Bill Sakalaucks chased the Big Boy from Altoona to Warrens on Wednesday. He put together this video of the chase. https://youtu.be/ly5ogJfZcLw

I chased Union Pacific Big Boy #4015 across west-central Wisconsin. Staying on US Highway 12 the length of my chase I was able to keep pace and get some shor...

How about matchboxes of a Centennial or patches?
07/23/2019

How about matchboxes of a Centennial or patches?

What about Union Pacific ashtrays or mugs?
07/23/2019

What about Union Pacific ashtrays or mugs?

Need some china?? We have many pieces for sale.
07/23/2019

Need some china?? We have many pieces for sale.

The engine house has doors. Just some final trim work around the roof and it will be complete.
07/21/2019

The engine house has doors. Just some final trim work around the roof and it will be complete.

Just some of the Union Pacific items on sale Tuesday and Wednesday! China, HO Scale, N Scale, and other items available....
07/21/2019

Just some of the Union Pacific items on sale Tuesday and Wednesday! China, HO Scale, N Scale, and other items available. All UP items 10% off.

With the ride-on train nearing completion, we needed to build an engine house for that equipment. Progress on the additi...
07/19/2019

With the ride-on train nearing completion, we needed to build an engine house for that equipment. Progress on the addition to the depot’s garage and the parking area. Asphalt is waiting to be put down to finish the paving.

07/12/2019

Not sure where to watch the Big Boy as it comes through western Wisconsin? There are a number of great locations in Dunn County and Eau Claire County to safely chase or park and watch.

If you have access to a boat, the UP bridge over the Red Cedar River as it empties into Lake Menomin is a great photo opportunity.

Highway 25 just north of Wal-Mart is an excellent place to see him from above, as well as the old Menomonie Junction depot just below that same bridge.

County Highway B is an fantastic grade level crossing with a truck stop for additional parking (make sure to grab a drink or snack while using their lot).

Highway 12 through Elk Mound follows the line for a few miles as it approaches Eau Claire. This line runs behind the Menards corporate offices and convention hall.

Again, be sure you are safe, have a second person operating your vehicle or camera while chasing, do not trespass, and support any businesses that allow you to park while you watch history roll by.

Today we say au revoir to our Soo Line plywood sheathed caboose.  A new museum group in Colby purchased her last fall an...
07/11/2019

Today we say au revoir to our Soo Line plywood sheathed caboose. A new museum group in Colby purchased her last fall and is taking her home to display there.

06/27/2019

Five years ago, Colfax was hit by an EF1 tornado. The damage was much less than the tornado in 1958. A few months later, the museum acquired the second depot. We are still in the middle of renovations to the building for use as our archive and community space.

06/14/2019
CBS Sunday Morning

CBS Sunday Morning

This #SundayMorning
In the 19th century, crews built the Transcontinental Railroad, meeting on May 10, 1869 in Utah. To help mark the project's 150th anniversary, Union Pacific engine #4014, built in the 1940s, has been restored. https://cbsn.ws/2WIaAx4

06/13/2019

The Union Pacific Steam Team announced the “Race Across the Midwest” tour for Big Boy #4014. This tour includes a stop in Altoona, Wisconsin on Tuesday, July 23rd. We will be open that day for any rail fans! This day will include special discounts on Union Pacific merchandise and items in our gift shop. We look forward to seeing you there!!

A young track crew showed up to help this weekend.  120 feet of track laid and ballasted, and the first connection made ...
04/21/2019

A young track crew showed up to help this weekend. 120 feet of track laid and ballasted, and the first connection made to the switch towards the engine house.

04/11/2019

We've laid 150' of 7.5" track in the past three days. Only 60' left to finish the mainline! The only thing slowing us down now is the 12" of snow forecast for tonight and tomorrow.

Where are the extra crews when you need them? 26" of snow at track's end and up to the top of the rails in ice. Gives a ...
03/13/2019

Where are the extra crews when you need them? 26" of snow at track's end and up to the top of the rails in ice. Gives a whole new perspective on what the Chinese and Irish immigrant workers went through to lay the tracks for the 1st transcontinental railroad. At 1/7the scale, this would equate to 16' high snow banks. Sure hope this week's rain starts to melt the snow or our May 11th Golden Spike ceremony for our new ride on train may be in jeopardy. Stay tuned for updates.

We are by the Chippewa Valley Garden Railroaders! Books, HO, N, G, O, Lionel, and S scale all represented at our tables!
01/05/2019

We are by the Chippewa Valley Garden Railroaders! Books, HO, N, G, O, Lionel, and S scale all represented at our tables!

12/19/2018

Thanks to all of you who voted for the Museum during the Markquart Motors Gives Back campaign. Unfortunately, were not selected as a top 5 finisher. You can still support the museum with a small donation for the end of year through our page here.

Address

500 E Railroad Ave
Colfax, WI
54730

Opening Hours

Wednesday 11:00 - 16:00
Thursday 11:00 - 16:00
Friday 11:00 - 16:00
Saturday 11:00 - 16:00
Sunday 11:00 - 16:00

Telephone

(715) 962-2076

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The 703 at work.
Found some shots of 703 during her working days.
#5
Will you all be open on Labor Day? Also, do I have to take part in a guided tour to see the museum or is that optional?