Historic Hy-Rail car to lead grand marshals from Erie Mining during Aurora’s 4th of July parade

A look at the Hy-Rail car from Erie Mining Company

A Hy-Rail car from Erie Mining Company is going to be making its debut for the 4th of July in Aurora.

A proud moment is coming up during Aurora’s 4th of July parade on Wednesday.

A sparkling yellow restored 1957 Pontiac Chieftain Safari will be pulling the grand marshals down the parade route.

Those marshals are former Erie Mining Company employees, who worked tirelessly to preserve the history of the plant in a book, exhibits, and now scholarships.

Ron Hein, a leader with the Erie Mining History Project, shared, “It’s fantastic to be able to actually re-live a piece of history, that was very important to the operation of Erie Mining Company.”

The Chieftain was used at Erie, riding the rails for required inspections to Taconite Harbor. It’s equipped to ride both rails and roads.

Brian Maki got the vehicle to the Lakehead Constructors shop in Superior, where mechanics worked hard to restore it in less than three months. He’ll be behind the wheel on Wednesday.

“When we got it from the museum, the gas tank was gone. The brake lines were gone. The engine turned over, but it was sludgy. So we decided to start from scratch. It’s going to be an honor to drive it in the parade,” Maki said.

Al Hodnik, former mayor of Aurora and history buff, shared more. “This car and the Erie book represents the launch of the Minnesota taconite industry. And it all happened in Aurora/Hoyt Lakes.”

“It’s super rare, very few Hy-Rails were put on station wagons. There’s only two that still operate today,” Hodnik said.

The plan is to bring it back to the Lake Superior Railroad Museum for people to enjoy.

You can come check it out at the Classic Car Show on Main Street from 1:30pm-4pm, ahead of the parade, which starts at 5:30pm.