MLS&W Restoration Report #2
by Ray Buhrmaster, ©2001 MCRHS
Initial phases of the restoration of Lake Shore coach #63 began immediately after the signing of the contract with Guerra Museum Services, Inc. on November 5, 2000.
Early work was conducted by Glenn Guerra on the coach as it now rests in the Car Shop at North Freedom. Tasks performed were consistent with the scholarship goals outlined in M-C's project specification.
Approximately eight days of field examination work involved measuring and sketching the car as well as taking over 200 photographs of exterior details. The examination revealed several surprises. Evidence was found of the curious early-day steam heat connections that extended through the end roof drops. Also, it was determined that the original car siding remains on the car.
A systematic collection of paint samples from 25 locations was conducted. Sample areas were photographed and data sheets completed while individual samples were stabilized in resin for microscopic analysis. Examination of samples by Guerra disclosed that some 29 applications of color and varnish had been made to car #63. In addition to paint samples, certain external parts with intact paint layers were removed from the car and turned over to the curator to be archived for future study if desired.
In December a visit was made by Guerra to the Nevada State Railroad Museum at Carson City to examine remains of Virginia & Truckee coach #18. The V&T coach was built by Barney & Smith in 1890 and is quite similar to Lake Shore #63. Unfortunately, #18 was almost destroyed in a vandal fire while on display years ago. Despite the damage, the remains of coach #18 yielded vital under-car dimensional information regarding platform construction, iron work, Miller hook draft gear, brake system, and even seat details.
Following the Nevada inspection trip, work was begun in earnest on mechanical drawings for platforms, couplers, and the car framing arrangement.. To date some 34 drawings have been produced, checked, and turned over to the curator.
With drawings completed, arrangements were made with several specialized sub-contractors for pattern making, machine work, wood platform components, Miller hook fabrication, and blacksmith work. Much of the machine work has already been completed. Also, a contract was placed for the professional microscopic analysis of select paint samples, a report is due shortly.
A literature search was recently conducted at the John Crerar Library in Chicago. Special collection holdings of the National Car & Locomotive Builder were reviewed specifically for paint system data and information regarding the then state-of-the-art steam heating developments. Important details of Barney & Smith's painting procedures were located as well as helpful statements of the Lake Shore road's position on steam heating. Conclusions have yet to be reached regarding whether or not coach #63 was equipped for steam heat at the time of delivery in 1888. It is known the car utilized the Martin system of steam heat by 1893.
By mid-April, with the return of favorable weather and receipt of sub-contracted components, work on coach #63's body reconstruction is scheduled to begin. It is anticipated there will be much progress to be seen by the time of the May 19-20 Open House event.
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