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by Rick Henn

"The Blue Flag" - 3/2019

         The Car Department has basically been in hibernation since putting the cars away after Polar Express. However, with a little luck the weather will soon warm enough that we will be able to get to work. We will be finishing the replacement of the seat backs in coach  #2932  as well as the aisle and end carpets. All of the parts and pieces are available to finish the bathroom floor restoration in  #2941.  There is also some "heavy" work to be done. One car has a noticeable but not dangerous lean to it so we will be tracking down the source of the problem and making the needed repairs. Another car's buffer plates are not lining up with the car next to it so we will have to see which one is wrong and correct that. Hopefully by next time we will have some good stuff to report.

(3/11/19) - Today, Art and I removed the first dozen seat backs from coach #2932 and delivered them to the upholsterer. They should be ready in a week to ten days.

(3/23/19) - Yesterday, Cody and I remove the next set of seat backs from coach #2932. Today, Art and I picked up the first set, delivered them to Medina and brought the second set to Upholstery Unlimited. They should be ready in 10 to 14 days. While we have things torn apart we should grease the seat mechanisms so they can be turned. When it gets warm enough, we should repaint the exposed seats frames or at least touch them up. Also, we need to get out there to look at leveling those cars before Mr. FRA comes around again, Ha!

"The Blue Flag" - 4/2019

by Rick Henn

       It is that time of the year when I ask for more help for the Car Department. I recently heard that someone commented that they didn't want to get into the really heavy and dirty stuff like brakes and other underbody jobs. That's fine. However, there is also a need for people with basic wiring skills to replace defective light sockets, switches and wiring. The department could use a carpenter to assemble window sills at home, which could then be picked up and brought to the cars by others for installation.

Additionally, it isn't required that you give up every weekend to come out and help. Whatever works for you will help us. We usually have fun and there will be lots of railroad talk. Even if you are not sure, come out for a visit and give it a try. You can contact me at and I will let you know when we will be out.

The job we are focusing on right now is the upholstery of the seat backs in coach  #2932.  This car has long suffered from seats in which the foam stuffing has literally turned to dust and falls out in small piles when the seats are removed. At this time 12 have been completed and 12 more are at the upholsterer to be picked up. That leaves 32 to go. Along with the replacement of the backs we will have to lubricate the swivel mechanisms of the seats while everything is off of them and we would like to freshen
up some of the paint. This is another job that doesn't require any special skill except a steady hand. Most of the interior work requires nothing more than a willingness to come out. Most of all our work is not especially technical it just takes time. The picture above shows that there is more to do than just heavy "grunt" work and also what can be accomplished when enough hands are present.

"The Blue Flag" - 5/2019

by Rick Henn

(5/11/19) - Recent work has focused on coach #2932, which for a long time has been in need of some tender-loving-care. In this case TLC translates to dollars. Over the past few weeks we have had 36 seat backs reupholstered for coach #2932. At one point we had all of the seat backs and bottom cushions off the frames so we took advantage of that to lubricate the frames and repaint the frames. The repainting of the seat frames in a
slightly lighter color really helps to make the car seem brighter and cleaner. It would be nice to repaint the ceiling and the walls above the windows to really finish the job, so any painters out there that would like to help just let me know. Today we put everything back together since the Thomas© trips are next weekend. After Thomas we will remove the last 20 backs to have them done and then we will move on to removing and replacing the worn center aisle carpet and the slippery rubber flooring at the ends of the coach. It's going to be a busy summer for the Car Department.

(5/21/19) - After another successful three full days of "Thomas the Tank Engine©" events, it is time to get back to work on the cars before the next round of trips in the fall. I know it seems a long way off but it goes all too quickly. In addition to all the work the Car Department already has lined up for the summer we found a new problem. The buffers between coaches #2932 and #2941 are not lining up properly. The Falls Road crew separated the cars so we can inspect the buffers to determine what the problem is.

"The Blue Flag" - 6/2019

by Rick Henn

(6/6/19) - I had a great plan for today. I was going to Lockport to pickup the last set of seat backs from #2932 before the car went back to Medina. I got to the yard about 10:30am and found no train. So, off I went to Medina. I caught up with the local just west of Middleport and was waiting for it in Medina. They shoved the cars in before continuing their trip east and I got the last of the seat backs off. After that I went to the museum, which shot the rest of the day. The backs are in my garage until the upholsterer has the others ready.

(6/15/19) - Brody and I removed the rubber flooring from the "B" end of coach #2932 and took up the center aisle carpet in preperation of having the new carpet installed soon. Our plan included installing the wood sub-floor over the new stainless at the A end but we could not find it. Admittedly, we did not do a thorough search of the train but it wasn't in any of the obvious places. We thought it might have been moved to the museum's storage facility on Salt Works but it seems there are no keys to that place at the museum. It appears that the spring that attaches to the top of the "B" end buffer of coach #2941 has broken and will need to be looked at more closely.

(6/18/19) - Today I picked up 12 completed seat backs from Upholstery Unlimited and dropped off the last 7 to be done for #2932. Cody and Brody helped to install them. After lunch we found the two pieces of wood to finish the floor at the "A" end of #2932. The museum did move them to its Salt Works road storage facility, however it appears they need to be trimmed. Strange, since I thought we had already test fitted them. The museum had also moved some old seat covers over there when they made room for Polar stuff so we went through them, saved the newest and tossed some of the older ones.

(6/23/19) - Well, today did not go quite as well as George, Adam and I would have liked since we were not able to accomplish everything we had hoped but it wasn't a total waste either. Adam and I were able to install the wood flooring at the "A" end of #2932 after a bit of trimming so they'd fit. However, they didn't lay as flat was we would have liked. The wood had taken a slight warp from being stored. So, we will have to go back to drill some pilot holes and secure the floor to the stainless underfloor with some flat head screws. While George and Adam worked on the side bearings of #2941 I started work restoring the bathroom in #2915. I got the one piece of stainless in easily but not the second. There is not much room to work and the second piece of stainless might have to be cut into two pieces and then fit into place. Another problem I had was trying to see past the sweat dripping onto my glasses. While I was dealing with that, George and Adam were having their own problems. trying to correct the spacing on the side bearings means, in this case, installing a shim. However, to do that you first have to be able to remove the old bolts, which are situated in a rather inaccessible place. Probably easy as can be without a car body sitting on the truck. The last thing we did was to examine the leaf spring at the "B" end of #2941 that connects the top of the buffer to the car body, keeps it centered and allows it to move. One end of the spring is completely gone. It broke off and has vanished. We might have to take it somewhere to have a new one fabricated.

(6/25/19) - Today I picked up the last of the seat backs and took them to Medina where Brody helped me to install them. This part of the project on #2932 is complete.

(6/29/19) - Adam, Cody and I checked a few things off the to-do list today. Adam and Cody spearheaded repairs to the hand brake in 2906. It would often slip when being applied. Adam traced the problem to a weak spring, which he was able to find a replacement for and now it works fine. We cleaned out a store that had many old seat covers in it and took them to the museum's dumpster. We also did an inventory of windows that need replacing. Most of them are the sliding windows, which are much easier to do than the double pane sealed windows.

This page was last updated: June 30th, 2019

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