Refurbishing the Safari Car

Fall 2022

Work began in early June to complete the refurbishing of our passenger’s favorite outdoor “Safari Car”. The rebuild of this car was started in 2021 with a complete tear down of the entire platform and fencing of the car.

The new floor and posts were completed in 2021 and it’s time now to finish the work. Painting the Safari Car in June. A work group of LS&M Volunteers, as well as donated employee hours from Enbridge, have been working tirelessly to finish this project in preparation for the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad’s re-opening in Season 2023. New volunteers are always welcome to join us.
President Grant on Safari Car

Fall 2022 Safari Car completed!

A work group of LS&M Volunteers, as well as donated employee hours from Enbridge, worked tirelessly to finish this project so the safari car was ready and looking good for our 2023 reopening.

Thank you to all who are helping to complete this project and those who are supporting this with their donations.

On July 15 &17, 2021, the new posts and rails have been replaced on the Safari Car.

The next steps will be to add new fencing to the posts and rails and returning the refurbished benches.
During the last week in July 2021, most of the refurbished benches were placed on the Safari car. The front and back walls were added. There is still the final bench and a gate that need to be attached. That will complete the work for this year. Painting will be done next spring, once the treated wood has a chance to dry.

On July 7, 2021, the decking had been replaced on the Safari Car.

Like any refurbishing project, there were some surprises along the way.

Planks needed to be custom cut to fit the unique layout of the Safari Car. Large rivets protruded from the frame causing the planks to not lie flat. The rivets needed to be ground-down and the planks hollowed out in places to fit level.
On June 3, 2021, The Lake Superior & Mississippi Railroad held a news conference at our garage to announce that our 2021 season is being postponed until 2022 due to the US Steel Superfund project that is currently underway. Our tracks pass through 1.5 miles of the work site where bridges and track will be replaced to help with the environmental improvements to the area.

This season’s downtime offers us a unique opportunity for maintenance and renovations.

Enbridge Energy has provided a generous grant to renovate the outdoor Safari Car.

Enbridge has also provided employees to begin work on this project. To date, The Safari Car has been “stripped to the frame”, the first step in therebuild process. Further updates will be posted as the project moves along.

Safari Car Renovation - Summary

In March 2021, the LS&M applied for a grant from Enbridge to cover the cost of construction materials to renovate the Safari Car. Not only did we receive the requested monies, we were also awarded the services of Enbridge employees as volunteers.

In June, seven Enbridge volunteers worked a total of 52 hours in four half day shifts. They removed the structures on the Safari, cut lumber to specs and built bench supports. This preparation was a great help to enable LS&M volunteers to proceed with the floor replacement.

As LS&M volunteers started participating, a set number of volunteers were requested on each work day, dependent on the stage of work, so as to match the task at hand with the number of people required. The project was completed with eleven days of volunteer work scheduled in June & July with August 5, 2021 the final day. In the Spring after the green treated wood dries, volunteers will be needed to paint, attach new fencing and lay carpet strips.

The managers for this project are Tom Thatcher & Steve Voltzke. Both of them have worked many hours in preparation for this project as well as every scheduled volunteer work day. Tom prepared the rebuild plans using his CADD drafting program which were included in the grant application. This probably helped to convince Enbridge that we had a professional project in mind. Planning meetings took place with Enbridge as well as LS&M advisors. Tom pre-cut the lumber to make it easier for volunteers to do their work. As work progressed, issues came up when the old flooring was removed and unusual car structure was revealed. This took additional time to overcome. All in all, the direction of this project was completely structured by Tom & Steve in planning, preparing materials and actually doing the work in addition to the volunteers mentioned below.

Thanks to LS&M volunteers: Mike Casey, Joe Hochban, Brenda Moore, Dave Moore, John Pilegaard, Marilyn Carter, Mike Pappas, John Cavanaugh, Jim Wright, Duayne Anderson, Trish McKenny, Robert Zakovec and Joel Manns. Together they contributed 104 volunteer hours.