Monday, June 16, 2014

Color for 218

Coach 218 will be 102 years old this summer.  This Barney and Smith coach is one of the last wood coaches built for service on an American railroad.  It served the Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway as a first class coach from 1912 through the late 1940s.

Over the last several years, coach 218 has received considerable attention from skilled volunteers and employees.  The most recent effort applied the "original" color to one side of the car.   The other side of the car will be completed in the coming weeks, but this latest effort was completed in time to debut on the annual Father's Day trains.

So what is "original" color?  It is a color matched to samples found under moldings in the vestibule. They were scanned by the paint manufacturer to create a formula for modern paint that can be mixed locally.  This dark green color was common on railroad coaches of the era and perhaps was best known as the color of most Pullman company sleeping cars.  Paint used on early 20th Century railroad coaches generally had a flat sheen and the gloss was added by applying a spirit varnish over the color coat, but that had to be re-applied each year.  The modern paint used on 218 is a two-component gloss urethane formulated for wood boats that should provide years of trouble-free service.

What is next?  Lettering.  218 was lettered "Spokane Portland and Seattle," originally in gold leaf, and later in imitation gold.  The number 218 appeared in four places, over each of the bolsters on each side of the car.

Rehabilitation of SP&S coach 218 is nearing completion after a multi-year effort incorporating 15,000 person hours and an investment of more than $250,000.  The project has been made possible in part with the generous support of 4Culture, The Snoqualmie Tribe, and the Nysether Family Foundation.