Monday, October 24, 2011

Chapel car milestone

Chapel car 5 Messenger of Peace has been undergoing rehabilitation for over 9 months. A full time crew of carpenters and other preservation specialists has been reversing the effects of 112 years of deterioration and decay. Considering the car is just 78 feet long, the scope is massive. Frame repairs, new or repaired exterior cladding, new windows, repaired interior paneling and new trucks are just a few of the work categories underway. And to undertake the work, wood species were identified and replacement material sourced, fasteners duplicated, and cutting jigs prepared.

The most intensive aspect of the rehabilitation project is the frame (side sill) repairs, including the replacement of over 60 feet of sill material, 16 feet on the right side and over 45 feet on the left. This work required the car to be extensively jacked and blocked up to restore it to its original profile. The roof and walls were supported with false work installed in the car’s interior and supported by the center sill.

Work began with removal of the exterior cladding and the underlying blocking. Braces, ties rods and compression trusses were removed to provide access to the side sill. New sections of sill were created while the southern yellow pine timbers were supported by saw horses. After machining window post mortises, holes for tie rods, and a rabbet for the truss plank, the sill was installed. Then the real work began: installing window posts, fitting the compression and auxiliary compression planks, reinstalling the belt rail, and fitting and installing old and new blocking. Months of work later, the car superstructure is back together again and it can support the car’s weight. With this category of work completed, the car has also had its "camber" restored to a condition not seen for more than 60 years.

The chapel car rehabilitation will be continuing into 2012. Work is being funded by Save America's Treasures, Washington State Heritage Capital Projects Fund administered by the Washington State Historical Society, 4 Culture, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and American Express.

Images (from top to bottom):

Carbody together again. Right side received 16 feet of new side sill.

Left side sill repair began with removal of cladding, blocking, compression planks, and the damaged side sill.

Meg G. begins installing bracing in the new side sill. A missing section of the truss plank evidenced in the foreground will be spliced in. The truss plank is made from Douglas fir and was the only Northwest wood used in the 1898 construction.

New section of truss plank mentioned in previous photo caption is shown in place along with new section of side sill.

Duane S. installs the last of the screws in the compression plank on the left side of the car.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

1,000 likes and climbing

Milestones. Sometimes we celebrate them with great fanfare. Sometimes with quiet delight. For the Museum, both kinds of milestones happened one day recently.


Train whistles. Trumpets. Remarks by People with Titles. The Northwest Railway Museum celebrated the Grand Opening of the Train Shed September 17 with a happy crowd of members, donors, volunteers and other supporters. It’s a special milestone, because some of the organization’s earliest supporters have envisioned this day for 50 years. The Museum’s most vulnerable large artifacts now have a place of refuge, where the public can soon step inside an illustrated story of how the northwestern United States was settled and civilized.

View a bit of the fanfare here:


Something else happened at the same time we were whooping it up in the Train Shed. With a quiet click, our Facebook page climbed to 1,000 “likes.” No trumpets. No speeches. But a big deal nonetheless.

In one way or another, community has played a role in every milestone the Museum has reached - from the launch of the Railway History Center in 2006. . .to the hosting of Santa Train, Day Out With Thomas and Snoqualmie Railroad Days. . .to awards recognizing Museum Collections,
recent still shot of Museum's Facebook wallpersonnel, restoration achievements and interpretive efforts. Our tremendous community comprises volunteers, members, donors, heritage and train enthusiasts, families, City partners. . .and now, Facebook users and followers of our blog.

It's because of you, our online community, that Chapel Car 5 Messenger of Peace received enough votes to earn a large grant in the Partners for Preservation campaign last year. It's because of you that the Northwest Railway Museum experienced the single most successful day of giving in the Museum's history during The Seattle Foundation's one-day GiveBIG campaign in June. With you, we're achieving entirely new milestones.

So to celebrate 1,000-likes-and-climbing, we're giving Jessica H., our 1,000th Facebook fan, a free train ride for a party of six. Congratulations, Jessica! The railroad built our community, and our community is building the railway museum. A big thank you to each one of you.

Visit the Northwest Railway Museum on Facebook