Help the Coach 517 Project

Northern Pacific Coach #517, formerly known as the “Minnesota II,” has been a part of the Railroad Museum for many years. However, after thousands of miles of service on the North Shore Scenic Railroad, carrying thousands of guest/passengers, the inside of the car is in desperate need of rehabilitation.

We’re going to take care of that. NP Coach #517 is the planned winter project in the shop during the off season. It will have major repairs done to improve passenger comfort.

Your help is needed to make this project possible and assure that we can deliver a coach for our passengers that is comfortable, clean, and SAFE. Renovation of the #517 will preserve the great heritage of quality service the Northern Pacific Railway was famous for.

Support the Coach 517 Project Today!

Our volunteers and shop staff are planning an extensive amount of work to restore the car to be a comfortable, clean, and safe piece of working history.

The project’s scope of work will include: removal of the seats, repairing seats, reupholstering, replacing the flooring, and repainting the interior. Both restrooms will be overhauled as will the air conditioning system. Luckily only light body work on the exterior is needed.

Contribute Here

Some funding for this project has already been secured, but to finish all the work necessary your help is needed. Museum crews will be doing most of the work over the winter, and when finished we will have another beautiful coach for you and all passengers to enjoy. Thank you for your support!

History of #517

Coach #517 was built for the Northern Pacific Railway by Pullman-Standard, in late 1946 for the streamlined North Coast Limited. These chair cars were often used on other Northern Pacific trains, such as the secondary transcontinental train, the Mainstreeter, inaugurated in 1952. In its original configuration, the car had 56 seats and a smoking lounge.

The car was sold to the Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range in 1974 by Northern Pacific successor Burlington Northern, and was renamed “Minnesota II” by the DM&IR. The Missabe donated the car to the museum in August, 2000. It has been repainted back into Northern Pacific’s two-tone green passenger paint scheme created by industrial designer Raymond Loewy.

The car is a part of the assessioned artifacts of the Lake Superior Railroad Museum, preserving the historic nature of the car for future generations. It is used in-service on the North Shore Scenic Railroad in the summer months as a dynamic way of bringing this history to life.

Updates on the Project

As of 5/12/2021

  • The project is done!
  • New tables have been installed
  • New seats/chairs are installed
  • Upholstery is updated
  • Flooring has been waxed
  • A/C system completely replaced
  • All new wiring
  • And much more. HUGE Thanks to all the supporters of the project and the hard work put in by volunteers

As of 12/11/2020

  • Walls have been stripped, patched, and sanded.
  • The main car body walls have been painted in “two tone brown” as accurate to the coach’s historic interior.
  • The restrooms have been stripped and prepared for new plumbing
  • Electrical work has started to re-build the electrical systems of the car
  • Blower fans were dropped out of the ceiling for maintenance/replacement of parts.
  • Preliminary preparations for buffing/waxing are set

As of 3/13/2020

  • All of the seats have been removed now, and the old tile floor (no one can remember it having ever been replaced) has been scraped up.
  • Sections of the walls have been cut to be replaced, and beginning work has started to assess electrical system improvements.
  • Meanwhile, 480v pass-through (HEP) cables were ordered and delivered to be installed on the car.