Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Whatever floats your rail car

Parlor car 1799 has recently been the center of considerable attention, and the effort reached its pinnacle when the car rolled onto a barge on Puget Sound.  And yet this culmination of nearly two years of planning was anticlimactic because everything proceeded without significant incident. 

Recapping, Parlor Car 1799 was built by Pullman in 1901 for the Northern Pacific Railway.  In 1941 it was retired and moved to a beach on Whidbey Island for use as a cottage.  The owners have lovingly cared for this historical artifact for many years, but it was time for them to build a more traditional home.  The owners searched for an option that would assure the car's preservation, and they selected the Northwest Railway Museum.

Nickel Bros. specializes in moving homes and was hired to recover the Parlor Car, which had lost its truss rods (part of the structure) in 1941.  Nickel's house moving "erector set" was used to jack and support the car, and a set of wheels that must have been inspired by a large aircraft were attached to one end.  The ungainly vehicle was more than 130 feet long and weighed upwards of 150,000 pounds.

On a bright spring day, a barge arrived under the control of tug Carolyn H.  A ramp system was installed to connect the barge with the seawall, and then it was time for the Parlor Car to move.  

A semi tractor (with a little help from the crane) pulled the car from its resting spot of more than 77 years.  It was gingerly backed onto the barge in a little more than 45 minutes.  There was plenty of crackling wood, but the car was silent: all the noise came from the plywood mats that were placed to keep the semi tractor from sinking into the beach sand.

By 6:50 in the evening, Parlor Car 1799 was on its way to Seattle!  Tug Carolyn H pushed it down the east coast of Puget Sound along the route of the Great Northern (BNSF).  About the time of the Parlor Car's departure, a northbound Amtrak Cascades train was observed on the distant shore.

Facilitating the preservation of the Parlor Car has been a monumental task, and it is not complete yet.  Please help the Northwest Railway Museum complete the effect with a scheduled contribution to Seattle Give Big 2018.  Your support in any amount with go towards the relocation effort.  Thank you for your consideration!

1 comment:

David said...

Spike, Now that isn't something that you see every day! What a project! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave