Created By: North Dakota State University
The metal train shed was a gift from Burlington Northern Railway, which was formed in 1970 from several railways, including the Great Northern and the Northern Pacific. It houses Bonanzaville's four large railroad cars.
The large NP #684 steam locomotive is a 4-4-0 (American Class) type and was built for the cost of $10,500 in 1883 by New York Locomotive Works in Rome, NY and is similar to the one that would have arrived in the Fargo-Moorhead area in 1871. NP #684 was used mainly on the Northern Pacific lines in Montana and Idaho. It had a service lifespan that was more than double that of other engines built at the same time and on more than one occassion pulled the train cars of the President of the United States. The engine was sold in 1928 to a smaller railroad company, who slowly phased it out of service.
In the 1940's, Northern Pacific realized that much of its early history was being lost. A search was conducted to find one of the 4-4-0 locomotives from the 1880's. They finally located one rusting in a field, #684. The tracks leading up to the train had long since been removed, so new tracks had to be laid before the train was pulled to Seattle, Washington for restoration. It served as a travelling exhibit during the 50's and 60's before being put in a Northern Pacific roundhouse. In the 1980's, various railroad mergers meant #684 needed a new home and it was brought to Bonanzaville.
Also in the train shed are a restored caboose and large passenger car. The caboose dates from before 1900 and provided railroad crews with bunks and cooking facilities. They were used on most freight trains until the 1980's. The Burlington Northern passenger car is made of steel and could hold 80 passengers. Built in the 1930's, the car was a luxury to ride in, with restrooms and a men's smoking room.
On the other side of the passenger car is a snow plow, built to break through snow drifts piled up on the tracks. Similar technology is still used today.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Bonanzaville Full Village Tour