ASHWAUBENON, Wis. (WFRV) – For more than three decades, the Joseph Lister hospital car took people from Chicago to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Now you have a chance to see it in all its glory after a nearly two-and-a-half-year restoration.
“It had years and years of service,” said National Railroad Museum curator Daniel Liedtke.
Stepping aboard the train is like being transported back in time.
“We had the main chasse and the frame here, so everything else is really a labor in love,” explained Liedtke.
The train is only two of a kind in the entire U.S. It’s named for Joseph Lister, a famed English surgeon who is best known as the founder of antiseptic medicine.
Staff says the train originally came to the museum’s property in 1988 and has been there ever since. It wasn’t until July 2019 that the museum started to take a look at the car and put it back together to where it is now.
“Honestly, this is so much better than what we ever imagined because of what the condition was to start with,” Liedtke explained while standing in the main passenger cabin of the car.
There is also a private drawing room, with its own private bath. There are four bedrooms, two of which are made specifically for the Lister.
“They had exterior doors. So if people were on stretchers they could load the people in and out on those stretchers to go outside and right into those rooms,” Liedtke pointed out.
The museum used original blueprints as much as possible. There’s only one problem.
“There were drawings and photos, of course, but they were all in black and white,” joked Liedtke.
In all, volunteers and museum leaders spent thousands of hours to get the Lister back on track.
To see the hours and cost of admission to the museum, click here to visit its website.