This passenger car will no doubt look great when done. Is this the only GN Passenger car in the collection? I keep thinking, about 8 years ago when I last visited you, you had another one or two on the grounds in Pullman green- but this color is used for so many other Pullmans in your collection, I could be mistaken.
Also, the last time I was there, I noticed that there were a few restored cars, (the SP,UP, Pacific Fruit Express, wood sided reefer in particular) that was starting to show early signs of deterioration. These were easily repairable if the damage was repaired early enough.
Do you have a policy to put aside a small amount of money, each year, to put towards maintaining and repairing these restorations that were completed over the years? Although everyone is always eager and excited to start a new restoration project, (we all look forward to that, even me) the efforts of all of your volunteers and the funding over the years would have been in vain if a piece of rotted wood or damaged paint and bubbling rust is allowed to develop and grow, destroying more of the surrounding wood and metal.
If addressed later than sooner, the damage and cost to repair it will be greater as well. It might be worth while to have your people and volunteers occasionally do a walk around restored equipment, and take note of any minor damage developing and quickly repair it even if it is nothing more than having someone grinding the rust off of a spot and just priming it, this is better than allowing the damage to it to grow. The same thing with wood slats or siding.
These small repairs would be perfect work for the occasional volunteer that comes to help out over a weekend. These are minor repairs, but yet getting them done are priceless in regards to saving the museum from future major repairs and expenses. In most cases, the cans of paint, or siding is already there on the grounds so there is no extra expenses, you just need helpers. If I lived near you guys, I would help you, since I'm out of work right now, but Massachusetts is quite a distance from Union. Readers give me some feedback on this subject, is what I am suggesting make any sense? Keep up the good work guys I wish you nothing but success on your projects.
with fond thoughts
I will try to answer some of your questions. A quick scan of our roster indicates that this is the only GN passenger car in our collection. We have many heavyweight passenger cars and to be accurate to prototype, many are painted Pullman Green, making it possible to assemble and operate a very respectable train of vintage cars.
Next topic on restored cars that see some weathering and deterioration - The PFE reefer was done before I assumed the role of Freight Car Collection Curator, but one of our early steps was to letter and complete the work that was started. The real answer to this is to house restored cars inside one of our barns. That requires specific donations to INDOOR STORAGE funds, one is so labeled for freight cars. We have made that one of the department priorities as each new building project is announced, and a lot of restored cars are now inside.
As to ongoing repairs, it is hard to motivate a volunteer to work outdoors, lug any tools and materials, arrange for electricity, ladders, etc to do a spot repair on a car remaining outdoors. Wood parts and siding are not universal or standard and the cars we have done require new pieces to be milled and prepared. Matching paint sitting in the bottom of the can is very 'perishable' and so even that is not there waiting to be re-opened and mixed.
I would love to have a volunteer ask to do the tasks you describe, but the reality is that there is no long line of applicants waiting to be assigned. Not even one.
It brings a tear to my eye to see our newly restored URTX 26640 sitting in the snow last winter, rain now, and blazing sun.
Maybe your remarks will help raise donations so that subscription space in the next building can be paid.
If I am not mistaken, the Milwaukee Road Historical Association made a sizable donation a few years back towards a carbarn to house Milwaukee Road equipment. If I am also not mistaken, the URTX 26640 could be classified as a piece of Milwaukee Road equipment. What happened to the Milw carbarn?
The money form MRHA has been received, but not until after details were worked out and delays ensued. The URTX 26640 was not identified in the list of equipment to be housed, and costs have escalated to where the complete original list of MILW equipment cannot be housed.
That group of equipment was not large enough for the funding to build more than a smaller building, and site plans and IRM needs make sense to construct the typical IRM barn in size. So either more money will be needed, or some difficult decisions will need to be made as to what is included.
I visited IRM 5 years ago from Fl, really enjoyed it, especially Milw. Rd. & CNW. equipment as I grew up in Glenview, Il. I noticed the Milw 118-C is not on list of equipment for diesel days & didn't see pix of it from last year. Was wondering if it is out of service for mechanical reasons or if it is being restored? Keep up GREAT work, thanks, Dan
I cannot answer the specifics for your question on the MILW F 7. Maybe Jamie Kolanowski will pick up and provide some details.
But those guys do a terrific job every year on our Diesel Days weekend event, an enormous amount of work to stage and produce that, and always with some SURPRISES.
I am sorry to hear about the lack of interest by volunteers, and I meant no insult intended by over simplifying the process to get these repairs done. I was discussing the PFE reefer as an example, but it can be applied to any piece in your collection from Diesel engines to building structures to antique ticket punchers.
At the age of 49, I am starting to feel some of my age starting to creep up on me. Because I was raised to try to reuse and repair what I have, as much as possible, (within reason, somethings are just plain obsolete). It bothered me to see something fall apart from neglect that could still be saved or repaired.
I mourn some things in this world that could still have value to others, if for no other reason than to not waste still usable materials or to save the last one of something just so the next generation can see it.
My mother's uncle in Riverside IL. was a watch maker, and jeweler, he was one of the last ones in the Riverside area, with these precision repair skills, and when he died, a trade, and a profession that is now a lost art from today in this disposable world of throw away merchandise, and instant gratification died with him.
I am sorry to say that a lot of younger people today are not willing to put in the required hard work, or the necessary time and effort to do it right the first time.
My personal hobby is restoring antique Lionel Trains, my collection is extensive, and I have had a lot of self taught experience repairing and restoring them correctly. This experience came about because in my younger years, I could not afford pristine pieces, so I bought or acquired cheaper samples and restored them, and repaired them, so I could have a sample in my collection. If I said I never lost a patient on the operating table, I would be lying to you, but as long as I learned from my experience and remembered to not repeat my mistake, then my steam engine did not die needlessly. Fortunately, those that did not make it became organ donors which were used for other trains so all was not lost.
I taught myself how to fix and repair Lionel trains, and got the necessary repair books, repair parts,or sometimes cannibalized other pieces, or made my own parts, in order to repair them.
Occasionally I was able to trade up if a nicer sample came along at the shows over the years.
The point I am trying to say is, that I wish more people had the necessary foresight and skills that the past generations had to anticipate a developing problem before it becomes a major problem. I have seen this behavior in the manufacturing and electronics industry for years from some of the younger members of the workforce today. Sometimes there just are no shortcuts, no instant gratification or quick results, sometimes, you just have to do the right thing as uncomfortable as it might be to do it right.
Ask any member of your family folks who is older than you, how much discomfort they had to endure over the years to get the job done, what sacrifices they made so you would have an easier lifestyle.
Finally, to all of you who give your time and effort to preserve these historic pieces of mechanical history and culture, from our parents and grandparents generation,
thank you from all of us who can't physically work beside you, but support you all emotionally, financially (For those of us who can) and in spirit.
And for those of you who are afraid to get your fingers dirty, don't be, their have been some amazing breakthroughs in chemistry the last 30 years, and there are many different brands of hand soaps and laundry soaps available to resolve any doubts about dirt you may have. Good luck and have a "Happy Fathers Day" don't forget to wave at the camera when you are on the grounds folks, just remember I'm watching all of you from Massachusetts.
I do not mean to imply there is a lack of interest in our dedicated and hardworking volunteers, GOD BLESS THEM. But there are not legions of them considering the demands of society today, their real life, and family obligations.
No insult was taken at your remarks, and sad to say, the points are well taken and not original. We consider and discuss the best ways to use what we have every week.
A restored car sitting outside, may have a life of only 5-7 years in our climate, before needing to be done again. Case in point is the second restoration of our MILW 01984 caboose, which thankfully now is housed indoors.
So maybe we should only try to save 7-10 cars rather than the 80 freight cars in the collection, considering resources available. We beg all the time and that is contrary to most of our upbringings, but many of the projects do not have the glamor or bling to attract significant new money. Almost all the restoration work in all departments relies on member and public support through donations. Gate receipts are almost totally consumed by ongoing expenses to keep the doors open and trains operating.
Our barns are wonderful - they stop over 90% of weather and age deterioration. But many of those are aging and need serious maintenance, or perhaps replacement in the near future. Another challenge to be met!