All aboard! Lake Superior Railroad Museum ushers guests into the past
Enbridge grant, volunteer power help world-class museum keep chugging along in Duluth
The Lake Superior Railroad Museum is steeped in history—right down to its home base in the 130-year-old Union Depot in downtown Duluth, Minnesota.
“The Depot was built in 1892 by the Northern Pacific Railway. It was one of four depots in this immediate area, and it’s the only one remaining now,” explains Ken Buehler, Executive Director of the Lake Superior Railroad Museum.
“The Union Depot was saved for an art, culture and history center, and it’s sustained by the people that buy tickets to see the museum. By maintaining this world-class railroad museum, we're able to preserve the historic building,” he adds.
The museum, which operates the North Shore Scenic Railroad, sees more than 100,000 passengers a year visit from the U.S. and internationally.
“The bulk of our passengers are families, in some cases taking the kids on their very first train ride ever, or grandparents, remembering their great train rides of the past with their grandchildren,” Buehler says.
Guest can partake in themed train rides throughout the year, including Mother’s Day celebrations, a Great Pumpkin train, and the Christmas City Express.
“When I started, we had about 30,000 guest passengers a year and now we're averaging 100,000 guest passengers,” says Buehler.
“We've been able to change a lot because of support by companies like Enbridge that have seen our growth and have recognized our contributions to the tourism industry and to preserving history. We couldn't do it without that support,” he adds.
At Enbridge, safety is a core value, and we’re committed to helping organizations near our operations, including the Line 3 Replacement Project through northern Minnesota, improve safety practices.
We recently provided $5,000 to help the museum implement U.S. Operating Rules (USOR). The funds will support the purchase of new training materials, including timetables and rulebooks, for employees and volunteers.
“The grant made it possible for us to operate more efficiently and safely in the best interest of our employees, our volunteers and our guest passengers,” Buehler explains.
Through Enbridge’s Our Community Partners program, we support employee contributions of time and money to charitable organizations in a variety of ways, including giving employees one paid day off per year to volunteer at the non-profit organization of their choice.
“We have some loyal Enbridge volunteers who have recruited other employees to come volunteer. They’ve tackled specific projects in a day, like electrical projects they have the expertise for. So we’ve benefited from our association with Enbridge in many different ways, not just the grant, and we’re very appreciative,” says Buehler.
“Being an all volunteer organization and a non-profit, we constantly are relying on the donation of time, talent, and treasure from our members, from our volunteers and from the corporate community. I’d say Enbridge is one of the best corporate citizens that we work with.”
(TOP PHOTO: The historic William A. Crooks and Minnetonka steam locomotives at the Lake Superior Railroad Museum. Photo courtesy Steve Glischinski)
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