Monday, March 16, 2020

Work continues on coach 213

Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway coach 213 was delivered in 1912.  It is one of the last wooden coaches built for service on an American railroad, and was constructed by the Barney and Smith Car Company of Dayton Ohio.  It faithful served in the Northwest until after WW II, a period of more than 35 years.

The 213 is a sister car to coach 218, which was restored by the Museum and its volunteers back in 2014.  The 213 will soon resemble the 218, and this winter the project has made dramatic progress.

Beginning with the roof, the roll roofing was removed from the lower right clerestory to allow repair of the decking and carlines, and application of a new canvas membrane.  Just like the 218, the 213 will be completely roofed with a traditional cotton duck canvas sealed with canvas stain.  Think of it as old-school Gortex!

While the car was in the Conservation and Restoration Center, additional electrical work was performed so it could receive all its new heating elements.  That made it possible to heat the car and begin the interior paneling finish work.  The first project was fabrication and installation of the restrooms.  New wall panels were created using 1/4 sawn Honduras mahogany veneers applied over a Baltic birch plywood.  Similarly, replica restroom doors were fabricated.  The mahogany veneers were treated with 2% potassium dichromate to add color and depth, then the surface was varnished with the Awlgrip single component clear urethane system, which is a moisture cure urethane.

Then work shifted to the interior paneling in the main cabin.  Veneer panels were made to replace the badly deteriorated or missing original panels.  The "tiger stripes" appear as a result of slicing the veneer from a log quarter.  This visual was highly valued then and now, and was a distinguishing feature in this and other cars.

Some other features have been restored to the car, too.  The utility closet located by the door in the rear of the car was recreated.  The interior surfaces are all bead board, and today this enclosure is a practical feature for storing cleaning supplies.  The interior was even painted to match the original!

Many staff and volunteers are making this monumental project possible, as has funding from individuals and 4Culture.  Notably, Bob M. works on the car usually at least four days per week.  He is a cabinet maker who actually likes applying varnish - go Bob, go!  Collectively, there are more than 14,000 hours invested in the restoration, the equivalent of nearly 7 person years!

Staff is continuing to work on coach 213 during the temporary emergency closure.  Coach 213 will return to service just as soon as the Museum reopens to the public.  We hope to see you on board soon!

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