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Pioneer Park creates new foundation structure for 5 Spot Narrow Gauge Engine


Story By Meghan Mamlock
Local News Published 05/03/2021 5:51PM, Last Updated 05/03/2021 5:57PM
Rhinelander - Pioneer Park in Rhinelander is home to one of the most iconic trains in the Northwoods.

And now, the historic 5 Spot Narrow Gauge Engine is getting some needed care in the form of a new foundation under the supervision of Director Kerry Bloedorn.

Last fall kicked off the 5 Spot Foundation Project which moved the locomotive from its original location to a temporary spot.

"There were some integrity issues with the rail and the railroad ties that had been installed in the 1950's here at the complex," said Bloedorn.
 
The new foundation consists of 20 inches of gravel and 12 inches of reinforced concrete to support the 41 ton locomotive for the next 50 plus years.

"We started a partnership with the Rhinelander Community Foundation and through private donations we were able to raise $55,000 to do this phase of the project," said Bloedorn.
 
This preservation project is important due to Rhinelander's logging and milling industry.
 
"We're in the process of restoring the 5 Spot Narrow Gauge Engine on display here at the complex for the last few years and we'd like to put a cover over this engine," said Bloedorn. "And in order to put a cover over it to protect it in the future we needed to put it on a new foundation."

The future goal of the complex is to have all of the locomotives follow suit with new foundations to ensure they are preserved for future generations.

"So now that the concrete has been poured, we have a couple weeks to wait until it's properly cured. Then a railroad construction company will come up and bolt the new rail to the new foundation and then the crane company from Stevens Point will bring their big cranes back up and move the engine back into position," said Bloedorn.
 
They are hoping to complete the project by the time the museum opens on May 29th.

If you want to stay updated on their progress you can visit the Pioneer Park Historical Complex Facebook page. 
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