Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Winter Roof Installed...

All the original roofing has been removed, and minor repairs made to the roof ribs in preparation for the instillation of a temporary winter roof. The roof framing was found to be in good condition overall, with only minor rot issues over the side doors. It is very likely that all the original roof framing will be able to be retained. It should also be noted that I was able to walk around, all 195 pounds of me, on the ribs and stringers after the roofing had been removed, and there was no sagging, cracking, or comic relief for the ground crew. The temporary roof consists of 1/2" plywood from a previous project that was cut to fit and attached with screws to the framing so that it can be removed at a later date. It had been hoped that a metal roof could be installed in addition to the plywood, but time ran out before winter arrived. Regardless, number 1353 is far more weather tight than it has been for many years, and should have no trouble standing up to the snow load.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Off With the Old Roof...

In the interest of arresting further deterioration of the car, it was decided to remove the original but heavily damaged roofing, and replace it with a temporary winter roof. Very few Sumpter Valley Railway cars were fitted with metal roofs, the most notable exceptions on the home-built rolling stock were the caboose cars. The standard for freight cars was a double layer tongue and groove, appears to be fir, with dual drain channels and a tar paper layer in between. Thanks to a relatively mild climate, this style of roof is surprisingly durable, with many cars remaining acceptably weather tight after more than 60 years in the elements. Regardless, over a couple days, all the old roofing, along with an estimated 1570 nails, was removed from the 1353. The roof framing had minimal rot, and easily supported the crew working on the car. It is unlikely that any of the stringers or ribs will need replacement.

Samples of the roofing were documented and set aside for preservation as they will be necessary when the original wooden roof is replicated in the near future.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Notes From the Past...

While removing wreckage and trash from the interior of the boxcar, a handful of notes, names, and other assorted graffiti were discovered. Time had not been kind to the majority of them, but a few were still fairly legible. The most interesting one is located on the "B" end of the car, and is as follows...

by B P H
13, 1921

As I said, it is relatively legible, and dates from just over a year after the number 1353 entered service on the Sumpter Valley. To preserve what does remain, we retraced the graffiti with pencil where is was still intact.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Arrival at McEwen...

On October 6, 2010 number 1353 finally arrived at McEwen, and was quickly unloaded at the Restoration Shop. We are indebted to Sam Haines and his crew for donating their time and equipment to transport the car. Restoration work and documentation began almost immediately, with the immediate goal to get a new roof on the car and seal it before winter.

Getting the Car Ready to Move...

In late June, volunteers from the Sumpter Valley Railroad and the Western Railway Preservation Society traveled to Baker City to prep the boxcar for the move. The car was sitting on the ground, and was hemmed in by a building on the "B" end, and two trees on one side. We had initially hoped to borrow a forklift and merely lift the car onto a trailer, but that plan fell through when a suitable forklift could not be found. Regardless of how the car was transported, the first task was to get it out of the dirt and up high enough that it could be lifted. A very pleasant surprise was that when the car was raised, it was found that not only were the truss-rods and queen posts intact, but several grab irons and other pieces of hardware from the car were discovered underneath the frame. Number 1353 is far more intact than any of the other extant freight cars, and has already provided a wealth of information in regard to construction techniques and design that can be applied to other SVRy cars under restoration.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

62 Years Later...

Sumpter Valley Railway boxcar number 1353 in Baker City, Oregon 62 years after being retired. These images are from the first inspection of the car that was carried out after the railroad was contacted in May of 2009, by the owners of the property who wanted to redo their yard, and needed the car removed. Thankfully the owners were extremely patient and understanding as it took more than a year to finally move the car to the Sumpter Valley Railroad for preservation.

Boxcar 1353, Historic Image...

Boxcar number 1353 in operation on the Sumpter Valley Railway in the 1930's. This 30 foot car was built in the South Baker shops on the frame of a flatcar, and was completed and ready for service in January of 1920. The car was used until the end of regular mainline operations in 1947, before being sold to a resident in Baker City, Oregon who converted the boxcar into a backyard shed.