Car Preservation & Restoration

Here are some images of our car acquisition, preservation and restoration activities. Choose different cars from the drop-down list to see a particular car's restoration photos. Most of the time, clicking on an image will result in a larger version being displayed.

May 15, 2004

It may be hard to believe we'd get excited over something that sounds as dull as replacing light bulbs, but we do! There is a reason, however. One of our members has donated a large quantity of very special bulbs. These bulbs are reproductions of ornate clear bulbs used in these cars when they were built. The bulbs are a neat addition to the interior detail of our cars.

Volunteers replace damaged light sockets during the 'Great Light Bulb Swap'. The car here is Oporto 249, which just happens to be turning 100 years old!

May 1, 2004

Oporto trolley 172 will return soon with new wheels and axles, and our volunteers are preparing for its reassembly by making and repairing various pieces.

In this view, woodworkers assemble new wooden steps made for car 172.

May 1, 2004

You may recall from earlier reports that Johnstown 311's upper sash--the upper half of the windows--is being replaced along with all the other work being done to the car. Our woodworking volunteers have been repairing many parts and fabricating others from scratch. We've also had to expand the woodworking portion of the project a bit, as badly split wood was discovered on one end of the car...

Volunteers cut cherry planks from our wood inventory to get stock for new upper sashes.

April 24, 2004

If you've been following the saga of Johnstown #311, you know we've been waiting for new steel letterboard to go above the windows and below the roof. Miller Welding of State College completed the fabrication very nicely, and the finicky task of installing it is underway.

While we were waiting for the letterboard, we expanded the project just a bit more, rewiring interior lighting with new Exane transit-grade wire.

A volunteer checks the fit between a shiny new section of letterboard and a new wooden window sash built by one of our woodworkers.

March 27, 2004

Some time ago, a skilled volunteer carefully replicated four sand hoppers from Rio car #1875, which were in horrible condition. After spending some time "absorbing the ambience" of our shop, they have now been painted and are being installed in the car, as they should have been a long time ago. Oh, well. When you have a project list light-years long, not everything happens immediately!

You could help shorten the project list! Learn how.

March 14, 2004

No, it's just Johnstown #311, minus a bunch of parts on one side. Both upper and lower window sashes have been removed, along with the letterboards under the edge of the roof.

Thanks to a bunch of our dedicated and hardworking volunteers, enormous progress has been made in just a few weeks. This project has reached another significant milestone: the first side to come apart is now officially going back together. Window post repairs are complete, riveting supplies and tools are on the way, and new steel letterboard is being fabricated. In the next few weeks, brand new wooden upper sashes should be complete, and the letterboard will be installed. Check back to see the progress!

New steel is then being MIG welded in its place to repair the posts.

March 6, 2004

The warm weather has certainly brought out the volunteers, who must be eager to escape from cabin fever! The shop was a whirlwind of activity, and a long list of tasks received attention. We'll mention a few highlights we caught on camera...

In the front of the shop, volunteers constructed temporary protective panels to protect the beautiful cherry-wood seats of Johnstown #311 from sparks and dirt created by those dirty, destructive metalworkers who claim to be 'repairing' steelwork on the window posts and letterboard.

Here they are removing many layers of peeling paint and old finish from interior woodwork of Johnstown #311. While not all of the interior will be refinished, parts removed for letterboard and window post repairs will be repaired and refinished.

In the back of the shop, woodworkers are 'gung ho' to see repairs completed on Chicago, Aurora and Elgin #315, damaged in a minor fire several years ago. They managed to do some work during the c-c-c-cold of January and February, and the project is now well under way.