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Northwestern Pacific Railroad

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Caboose #13 Restoration Progress Updates

2002

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Dec '02 | Nov '02 | Oct '02 | Sep '02 | Aug '02 | Jul '02 | Jun '02 | May '02 | Apr '02 | Mar '02 | Feb '02 | Jan '02

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DECEMBER 2002 UPDATE

By Bruce Evans
Chair, Preservation Steering Committee

The year ended up for the caboose restoration project on a very windy and rainy December 14th. It would be one of the major storms of the year, and would leave many flooded and without power.
But inside Caboose 13, it was warm and friendly, and the small crew that braved the elements had a productive day. The stove was going, and we could hardly hear the wind and rain outside.
Bruce Evans and Jeff Millerick started on the final sanding and prep of the right wall in the forward compartment. There was still a little paint to come off, and we sanded the whole wall to rough up the old green NWP paint. We also masked around the stove wall plate.
After lunch, Jeff started putting on a coat of white primer, and Bruce went for more paint.
Meanwhile, Cliff Baumer and Jim Gray were doing prep work in the conductor's compartment. The found that paint remover was an effective means of removing the old paint, but that you had to work fast with it and get the softened paint off at just the right time. The prep work in this area hadn't been started yet, so there's more to be done before the primer can go on. But there's bare wood from repairs, and the area is small, so we could see paint on at least part of it in January.
By the end of the workday, the green had disappeared from the right forward wall, and the white primer really brightened up the inside. After some more sanding and priming - including the ceiling, we will get a new coat of "seafoam green" (sometimes called "industrial" or "institutional green") on the right side. Then we will move all the materials to the right side and start working on the left interior.
All in all, 2002 was a great year for the caboose. We completed the wood rot repairs, did the prep work on the outside and got paint on, and started preping and priming on the inside. There were many more small tasks that took place, and it all adds up to getting the caboose closer to returning to the rails in 2003.

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NOVEMBER 2002 UPDATE

By Bruce Evans
Chair, Preservation Steering Committee

With the brown paint finally on the caboose, with the new doors and windows, and with the caboose now secure from the elements, we took a breather on the November 9th workday.
Not knowing if we would be facing rain or repairs (after the big first storm of the season), we spent most of the day cleaning up the inside of the caboose in preparation for winter work which would confine us to the interior. But the stove has been going, and it does a great job of keeping it toasty inside.
Mike Meyer and Bruce Evans sorted through our supplies and parts and got rid of things we wouldn't be using. We cut up a lot of the scrap wood that was left over from rot repairs and trim replacement and will use it in the stove. Don Brewer did a little scraping on one spot at the right front interior, and Jeff Millerick removed two small steps from the end-rails for cleaning and painting. Don Cabrall started plotting what we should do with the doors on the cabinets under the cupola.
The November 23rd workday was another story. We had a great crew of eight show up, and got quite a bit of work accomplished.
The concentration of the day (since the weather was nice) was to start scraping the metal on the two platforms. The platforms are all metal - some steel and some iron - and while there are many coats of paint, there are areas where the paint is peeling off and rust showing through.
Mike Millerick, Hugh Metcalf, Don Brewer and Cliff Baumer started scraping on the B-end, until they were chased to the A-end by Jeff Millerick with his sandblaster. We planned our time, and by the end of the day we had done the first prep on the A-end and primed about half of the B-end. If weather permits, we'll continue this work in December.
While the platform work was going on, Mike Holland put the final two pieces of trim on the inside windows, then started making a materials list for the conductor's desk and the toilet enclosure. We looked at the photos trying to figure out how they had constructed the toilet enclosure, as it had a water tank above and a six-inch radius corner on the outside.
Jim Gray painted the cupola eyebrows and Bruce Evans measured the outside walls for lettering. Then they got a second coat of brown on the right wall. If the weather was as good as this day, we'll try to get the final coat on the left side and the cupola, and install the eyebrows in December.
So with plenty of help, we had a great day and got lots of work done on the outside before it starts raining on us.
As we approach the end of the year, we note that we're not as far along as we'd planned, but we still see that we've done a lot of much needed work this year. After working on the inside over the winter, we should be pretty close to having the caboose done by spring, then it will be a matter of the running gear and mechanical items that will need our attention.

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OCTOBER 2002 UPDATE

By Bruce Evans
Chair, Preservation Steering Committee

October was a pivotal month for the caboose restoration project, as we needed to get paint on the outside prior to the winter rains. We came pretty close to meeting that goal.
We had worked all summer (well, the last year-and-a-half, actually) prepping the outside for the final coat of paint. We had scraped, sanded and prepped most of the outside, and had put an initial coat of primer on everything by the middle of September. So we proceeded to do a light sanding and re-priming of both sides, and completed this on October 12th.
On October 26th, we started the day around the stove in the caboose, as it was cold and foggy - not right for putting on the final paint. Around 10 a.m., the overcast started to break up, and we got started on the end platform walls. This took us the rest of the morning, and as we broke for lunch at 12:30, we were just starting on the sides. Didn't look like we were going to get the first coat of paint on everything this day.
Paint13 (51K) After lunch, the crew of Don Brewer, Bruce & Noreen Evans, Jim Gray, Hugh Metcalf and Jeff Millerick got busy and in two hours had painted both of the exterior sidewalls. We cleaned up and were out by 3 p.m.
This is only the first coat of "boxcar brown." We still need to get a second coat on, which will have to wait until weather conditions suit.
Meanwhile, Jeff Millerick got the reinforcing plates on the frame splice under the B-end floor, and Mike Holland got almost all of the window trim placed on the inside of the windows.
With winter now upon us, we'll be forced inside on many of the workdays, but the warm stove and the friendly company will make our work much easier to bear.

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SEPTEMBER 2002 UPDATE

By Bruce Evans
Chair, Preservation Steering Committee

While some of the work crew were still on vacation in September, we still managed to move the caboose project closer to being painted.
On Sept. 14th, Bruce Evans sanded and primed the B-end platform wall. Mike Meyer continued work on sandblasting handrails, and got many of them primed. Don Brewer continued filling holes on the outside walls.
We found some soft wood in the B-end of the outside cupola wall, so Gary Anderson dug it out and started the prep work of that wall. On Sept. 28th, Mike Holland cut out one bad piece of wood and put in a new piece, and we filled the remaining holes. We hope to finish the prep work on the cupola in October.
On September 28th, Mike Holland removed a portion of a bad 4-by-6 timber that was under the right rear frame. He replaced it with a new piece of wood, and Jeff Millerick will manufacture some plates to hold it all together. It was not a critical piece, as it was only supporting a small portion of the floor.
Also on the 28th, Mike Meyer nailed the lower edge of the left and right exterior walls. We had noticed that many of the boards were a little loose, and now was the time to do this. He followed up by filling the holes.
Jeff Millerick started machining a base for the air brake system retainer valve. Lou Spiros had donated a valve body, but it had no base. As our retainer valve was surface mounted with a pipe running down the B-end platform wall, the common base with the air passage out the back wouldn't do.
The major activity on the 28th was by the crew of Gary Anderson, Cliff Baumer, Bruce Evans, Hugh Metcalf and Mike Meyer. They attacked the left exterior side, doing a final sanding, a quick wipe of the residue, then got a final coat of primer on.
The scaffolding was moved from the left to the right side, and on October 12th we'll finish the prep and prime work on the right side.
At that point, we'll be ready for the final coat of paint on the outside. That work will take place on the October 26th workday.
We've had the paint donated by Kelly-Moore Paint Company of Ukiah, through the efforts of H. L. Weaver Painting, also of Ukiah. The exterior finish coat will be a quite dark chocolate brown version of "boxcar brown." In the process, the orange platform walls that SP liked will go away.

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AUGUST 2002 UPDATE

By Bruce Evans
Chair, Preservation Steering Committee

August was a slow month at the caboose, as many of the regular work crew were away on vacations. But we did manage to get some important things accomplished.
Perhaps most important, Mike Holland used a 3000 psi power washer to clean the underside of the caboose. (Thanks to HL Weaver Painting in Ukiah for the generous loan.) He spent about four hours, and got years of muck off the frame, and also blasted the end platforms.
The next workday, Lou Spiros crawled under the caboose and took a look - now that everything could be seen - and gave it a clean bill of health. There are some bolts at the centerplate housing that we'll be replacing, and he found a 2x6 board that needs some work. There's also one spot of rot that's not in a critical location.
Mike Holland was also able to clean the side frames of one truck after Lou and Jeff Millerick moved them up next to the caboose. After they were power washed, Jeff tried two different rust-removal treatments and decided which one worked best. We will acquire some of this material and shoot the underframe so that we can get a coat of paint on it.
Lou and Jeff started looking at the second truck, but we decided to wait any action until we can find the parts we need. The status of what to do with the truck repairs is still up in the air until we can locate either replacement trucks or the parts.
On August 24th, Mike Meyer started sandblasting the two ladders that attach to each end for roof access. This, and other metal prep work, will continue for the next few months.
Our goal is to try and get the final prep work completed on the exterior so that we can get the top coat of paint on before winter. Now that summer's about over, the crew should be back to full strength, and we need to make a push to get the outside work completed.

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JULY 2002 UPDATE

By Bruce P. Evans
Chair, Preservation Steering Committee

We've pretty much completed the major wood repairs. This has taken about a year and a half, but it was work that needed to be done before we could move on. There will still be some minor work to be completed, such as the cabinetry under the cupola, but this work won't hold things up.
Jeff Millerick has completed fabricating the handrails that were missing, and has also made two marker lamp brackets that were also missing.
The major project for July was to get the roofwalk back on. This consisted of two sections - one on the forward end and one on the rear end. Bruce Evans made 12 new cross braces, and on July 13, the crew of Millerick, Brewer, Baumer and Meyer got the cross braces positioned and the walk boards ready to screw down.
This work took the crew all day, as the boards all had to be primed before then could go on. And each cross brace needed a piece of felt cut for the top and bottom. And the bolts needed to be placed and tightened.
On July 27th, Mike Meyer finished the roofwalk work by installing the metal braces that hang over each end, and screwed down the boards to the cross braces.
Also on July 13, Cliff Baumer put the last of the wall panels in the cupola, so that area is looking pretty good.
On July 27th, the crew concentrated on the forward right interior wall. A combination of methods were used to remove several layers of paint that had been applied many years ago. Problem is, the newer coats of paint didn't stick to the original seafoam green paint. Putty knives, scrapers and paint remover were all used to do the job.
August will hopefully see the start of cleaning and prepping of metalwork, including the cleaning of the underframe so that repairs can be made to that area.

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JUNE 2002 UPDATE

By Bruce P. Evans
Chair, Preservation Steering Committee

June saw continued work on the scraping and sanding of the two end platform walls. We also cleared along the right forward compartment wall and started scraping and sanding on the interior.
Jeff Millerick has been working on a pair of handrails for one of the porch walls. When we got the caboose, one set of these rails was missing, so Jeff's using the other set as a template to make the new ones. They're made of heavy rod with forged ends, but Jeff's doing a great job of duplicating them.
Don Cabrall has been working on the coolbox door, and has replaced the face and seal. He now has the door mounted with some hardware he located, and the door's better than new.
Mike Holland started placing the interior sill, stool and trim on the forward windows. This project will continue for another month and will bring the interior walls a step closer to completion.
On the two June workdays, we prepped the left side cupola windows and got them in. This was a major accomplishment, as it marked a point we had wanted to reach for a long time - having the caboose completely closed in with good doors and windows.
We've been at the restoration of caboose 13 for a year and a half. Most of that time has been involved in one way or another with repairing wood. We knew when we went into this project that there would be a lot of work repairing wood, and there has.
But were now done with the wood repairs! Of course, there will still be minor woodwork to be done, but the major wood repairs are complete!
So it's time to move on to some of the other needs of our caboose. Most of the upcoming work will have to do with metal repairs, metal cleaning and painting, and the repairs to the two trucks. We'll also be cleaning, repairing and painting the underside in the next few months.
Fortunately, we're parked at a metal shop with two very talented brothers who willingly counsel us in the ways of metal. We'll need to rely on Don and Jeff Millerick much more in the months to come.

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MAY 2002 UPDATE

By Bruce P. Evans
Chair, Preservation Steering Committee

Some exciting news from the May work day (we had only one due to the Annual Banquet and the Memorial Day holiday). We had reported last month that we'd started uncovering lettering over the A-end door on the platform side. Well, we continued with that work, and are now able to make out the numerals 13 clearly on both the A and B ends. This confirms that this caboose is in fact No. 13, which we were pretty sure of, but to this point had no actual confirmation.
After losing our scaffolding, we were able to acquire some more and got it up in May, which permitted us to start work on the left exterior of the cupola. (We also have a standing offer from Don Cabrall for some more scaffolding if we need it.) We found that the boards on the left exterior of the cupola weren't as bad as we'd thought, so that repair work should go fairly quickly.
Mike Meyer finished replacing the right inside wall of the conductor's compartment, which completes all the wall repairs with the exception of sanding, scraping, priming and painting.
Mike Holland got the exterior window trim on all the windows of the caboose, and will now move to the interior window trim.
We still have several repairs to complete around the cool box, the walls and the cabinetry below the cupola.
Cliff Baumer continues to work on the interior of the cupola, and is applying trim around the windows, so that work should be done this month.
We still need to get the left cupola slider window tracks and frames in once the wood repairs are completed.
Jim Gray has completed the next phase of production schedules, and they will be reviewed in June and put to good use in planning for the completion of the project.

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APRIL 2002 UPDATE

By Bruce P. Evans
Chair, Preservation Steering Committee

The first work day of April we moved the scaffolding from the right to the left side, having completed most of the prep work on the right and needing to get to work on the cupola on the left. Before we got to work on the left side, the gentleman who had loaned us the scaffold free-of-charge needed it and came and picked it up. So we put out an appeal for more scaffolding, and Jeff Millerick found some that we will assemble in May. Then we will be able to get to the outside of the left cupola where we know there is some rot that will need repair. We will also be able to install the track and sliding windows on the left side of the cupola.
Repairs to the walls in the conductors compartment slowed in April, as some of the workers had other obligations and weren't able to make workdays. But Hugh Metcalf did quite a bit of work around the cool box (on the right side under the cupola), digging out rot and splicing in new boards. The next project there will see some new plywood to cover up the rot repairs underneath and around the cool box.
coolbox (21K) Mike Holland got some of the exterior window trim on the right side in April. Now that all the windows are in, we will continue to install window trim in preparation for final prep and paint.
Don Cabrall located some hinges for the cool box door, but is still looking for an historically accurate latch. Don is also considering re-building the door face, as it is made of plywood that has seen better days.
On the first April work day, Donna Holland sanded on both of the end platform walls to remove the orange paint in preparation for primer and some historically correct NWP brown paint. The orange paint was an SP treatment they liked to apply to their cabooses. On April 27th, Gary Anderson and David Lightfoot finished sanding the A-end and got some primer on. Even the primer makes quite a difference in the appearance of the caboose. While sanding, they uncovered original lettering over the door, which we have yet to decipher. We can make out NWPR but don't know yet what the rest of the lettering is. There should be a number there, which would put to rest once and for all which caboose this is.
platformwall (25K) Jim Gray and Bruce Evans evaluated the production schedules, and started putting together plans for the rest of the restoration. As of March, we were on schedule, and we think we can finish the primary restoration by the end of the year if all continues to go well.

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MARCH 2002 UPDATE

By Bruce P. Evans

March was a gratifying month as we got the right side cupola slider windows installed. This was a part of the project we'd been looking forward to for some time. Bruce Evans and Mike Holland manufactured the frames in Bruce's shop, and Jeff Millerick made the metal track and wear plates the windows slide in. While it will be a little longer before we get the left side sliders on, this gets us pretty close to having all the window work finally done.
Mike Meyer and Hugh Metcalf continued work on the interior wall repairs. The forward compartment wall is now complete, and they've moved on to the conductor's compartment - in the rear. As they do this work, they're removing shims and replacing them where necessary. The new wood that is being applied is being done in a manner so that the seams and joints will line up, which they did not after the prior remodel.
At the same time, some holes in the cabinetry under the cupola are being filled in with plywood plugs which will be sanded so that the surface will be smooth.
Hugh Metcalf started digging into the rot around the ice box under the right rear of the cupola. The box is lined with galvanized steel, and the nails were soldered into the wood that had rotted. But with great perseverance, Hugh got everything prepped for some new wood.
Don Cabrall continues to tune up the hardware, and is now on a mission to locate a latch for the ice box.
Jeff Millerick has been restoring a pair of original marker lamps (not NWP) and hopes to have them working in time for the Annual Awards Banquet on May 11th.
Cliff Baumer and Denni Chambers have been working on some rot found at the left side corners of the cupola. Hopefully when this rot repair is done, we will find no more. They've also started preparing to replace plywood panels that are on each side of the cupola between the slider windows.

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FEBRUARY 2002 UPDATE

By Bruce P. Evans
Chair, Preservation Steering Committee

We're getting ready to install the sliding windows in the cupola, but some preparation work has been necessary. Jeff Millerick has manufactured the metalwork, which consists of a track that the windows will slide in, and metal straps and clips that are attached to the windows so that no wood parts will be wearing on metal. Mike Holland and Bruce Evans manufactured the four frames, so all the parts should come together and get installed in March.
Hugh Metcalf and Mike Meyer continue to work diligently on the interior wall repairs. They are replacing tongue-and-groove siding that was installed incorrectly many years ago during a remodel. They have completed the forward right wall and the rear left wall, including the header over the rear wall. They are now moving to the right rear wall. At the same time, they are working on the plywood walls in the rear compartment that make up the cabinetry below the cupola. These walls are getting some plywood patches to fill large holes.
012_9 (34K) Cliff Baumer has been working in the cupola, repairing some rot that was found at the left rear corner. The tops of the forward seat sides were also replaced; these were removed when we replaced the nailer for the cupola faceboards.
Mike Holland worked on the last of the lower level windows and got it in, along with its sill. The next project with the windows will be to install the trim.
Don Cabrall continues to fine-tune the door hardware and adjust the end doors and their windows.
Gary Anderson, Jim Gray and Don Brewer continue to do prep work on the exterior, and have now done the preliminary scraping and sanding on both sides. The work is now moving on to filling holes and going back over both sides to catch any spots that need more work.
We've now completed all the work that was intended to this point, and Bruce Evans and Jim Gray are working on project plans for the next phases. If all work continues as well as it has to date, we hope to have the caboose pretty much completed by the end of this year.

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JANUARY 2002 UPDATE

By Bruce P. Evans
Chair, Preservation Steering Committee

After slowing down a bit for the holidays, work on Caboose 13 resumed on January 12th. But between this and the December 8th workday, some important work occurred.
The Millerick brothers - Don and Jeff - did some research and manufacturing work to install the stove, stovepipe and wall protectors. They had all the work done by the end of the year.
So, the first order of business on January 12th was to light the stove for the first time in who knows how many years. The stove was donated by Annette Houck from the estate of her late husband, who was a railroad official with Southern Pacific for many years. Don Millerick got some drain oil, and Bruce Evans placed some coal, soaked a rag in the oil, and put a match to it. The rag very slowly got the coal to burn, and more coal was added. The fire flickered for 20 minutes or so, and almost went out, but a little more draft got it going again. And when it finally did get going, it really warmed things up inside. It was very pleasant to be able to work in a comfortable environment and stand around the stove and tell stories.
A capable crew of Don Cabrall, Mike Holland and Hugh Metcalf got the second end door on, complete with new jamb, hardware and a coat of primer. We noticed some mold starting to form on the A-end door we'd installed in December, so Hugh sanded and primed that door also. It really starts to look more like a caboose with the doors on and smoke coming out of the stovepipe.
While the door work was going on, Cliff Baumer and Mike Meyer started repairing the center of the right wall in the main compartment. This wall had a large hole placed in it many years ago when the caboose was used as a pizza outlet near Moffett on the peninsula. When the hole was filled in, it wasn't done with the greatest care, and the interior boards didn't line up right. So we re-did the interior boards, and when we get it sanded and painted, it will look much better.
Work continues on the exterior when weather permits. Jim Gray and Don Brewer have scraped and sanded the right side and primed any bare wood. They moved to the left side in January, which was in worse shape than the right side. We're trying to get primer on the bad spots so we don't permit any more rot to form.
On January 26th, the interior wall repair started the prior workday was completed by Metcalf and Meyer, and they moved on to the wall over the conductor's desk (or where the desk was and will be.) This wall also had a large hole placed in it many years ago, which created the same problems as noted above in the forward compartment. The main header that holds the roof up at that point was also cut into, so Mike Meyer, Hugh Metcalf and Bruce Evans removed the wood fillers that had been incorrectly placed. The cuts were cleaned up and a new filler for the header made which was glued and screwed into place. More work on this wall will be done in February.
Don Brewer and Hugh Metcalf did some scraping and sanding in the cupola, and Hugh followed up with some primer on all the bare wood. Don Cabrall continues to adjust the door hardware, and has replaced Phillips screws in that hardware and the threshold plates with more correct slotted screws.

caboose0102 (47K)

The January 12 work crew of (l-r) Mike Holland, Mike Meyer, Hugh Metcalf and Don Cabrall warm around the newly-installed stove. Don Millerick, at right, helped manufacture the metalwork for the installation.

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