From the May-June 2007 Headlight

P&SR Caboose No. 1
From the Sawhorse of the Restoration Crew
By Jeff Millerick
The crew arrived in force with tools in hand, ready to go after a long holiday and winter season. “Where did we leave off? Where do we start again?”
Skip Ruckert: “The blocking in the walls isn’t quite completed. Some of the pieces made from the recycled 2 x 4s are a little thick on dimensions and should b be removed and replaced so as not to interfere with the siding being fair and smooth.”
Gus Campagna: “The cupola should be removed now to start rebuilding the side and support beams under it.”
Don Brewer, John Schwirtz, Vern Alexander: “We need to keep on stripping the paint at the ends and end overheads as there are still many layers to go.”
Well, let’s go!
Skip, Dave Turner and Charlie Siebenthal went to work on the blocking, removing the odd pieces, tying the end joints together with Simpson tie strips – not used by SP but good.
Mike Manson, John, Don and Vern picked up the brutal task of paint stripping, again a dirty job that needs to be done. But when freshly painted it will give them a lot of satisfaction.
Meanwhile, arrangements for removing the cupola were being made. Steve Turner, owner of a logging rig with a HydeBoom and portable sawmill, said he would be willing to help us out. The next work day he arrived at 8:30 with a load of logs on his way to a Saturday Job. “Hey, you guys, let’s do it!” By 8:45 the boom was rigged over the cupola and ready to lift. Oh-Oh, we needed to remove the end support struts and the bolts were badly rusted. Rushing to get Steve on his way, we decided to cut the 1-inch strut bars with Sawzalls – to be welded back together later. Putting some lift tension on the cupola we cut the rods in a few minutes. Up came the cupola and away from the body, parts and pieces dangling and showing a century of dry rot and wear.
The lower edges were very fragile but great for patterns – and some parts were surprisingly sound. The cupola was lowered onto a trailer next to the body to be evaluated and partially disassembled by Gus and Dave.
Everybody is busy, John Schubert working with Skip and Loren Williams on removing the catwalks and old canvas roofing, exposing the tongue and groove roof sheathing with many holes in it, showing many stove pipe location changes through the years. The holes will be repaired later.
While Gus was working on the cupola and laying out the two heavy transverse wood beams that support the cupola, he picked up the old SP plans that showed the roof arch radius was 26 feet, 8 inches. So my brother Don and I one evening laid that radius out and found that our now-installed rolled steel beam supports were not an even radius, leaving the center approximately 3/4″ – 1″ lower than shown on the plans . So out they will come to be re-rolled to our new pattern. They won’t go in as easily next time but will surely take the backache out of the roof and keep the sides at their proper parallel distances from each other. The S shape has been wedged out of the upper side walls, making them as straight as the lower side sill beams, removal of the cupola making this possible.
Our new siding has arrived also and is perfectly to dimensions and of high quality vertical grain clear fir. We got a good deal. The oak end beams also arrived. Not as good but will do. After being cut down to dimensions they should be OK.
In the next word days we hope to have the cupola wood support beams in place, allowing us to redo and repair the tongue and groove. Then a layer of 3/8 inch plywood will be laid over the top, creating a good base for the new roofing mat but most importantly preventing the upper roof from returning to the long S configuration that probably developed while No. 1 was converted into a building.
I guess sometimes going backwards is going forward. It still seems as though we do more taking apart than putting together. But that’s progress!return to top