From the March-April 2008 Headlight

From the Sawhorse of the Restoration Crew
P&SR Caboose #1 – Phoenix Rising
By Jeff Millerick
Well, the Christmas Trees are gone. We’re into a New Year and work season. A pre-workday meeting is held at Pete’s Henny Penny Restaurant and the new work season is discussed. Where do we want to be at the end of this work period? We all hope to have the body pretty much completed – windows, doors, letter boards, roof drip boards, roof, end platform timbers and hand rails.
So on January 12, 2008, we set to work – caboose uncovered, coffee, donuts and drinks in place. A full crew shows up and things move rapidly. By noon the exterior siding is completed and we’re off to Mary’s Pizza for lunch. After lunch the siding crew (Gus Campagna, Charlie Siebenthal and Lauren Williams) move inside. By the end of the day the east interior wall is almost completely sheathed, utilizing the old exterior T&G.
Skip Ruckert and Dave Turner are hard at it priming the eight new window frames that Skip made at home. They are very professional and beautifully done – a huge step forward for the project. Thank you, Skip, for a job well done! By the end of the day, for a cold start, a lot had been accomplished. January 26 we are rained out. February 9 we are back at it. A little tough getting started but a lot is going on. We need to prime about 20 of our new T&G siding material boards to be used inside as all the old exterior material has been used up on the east inside wall the previous work day. Gus has his saw set up, the nail gun is ready – but nothing can be done until the primer dries. Off to the Pizza Shack we go.
After lunch the work starts in earnest. By the end of the day the west inside wall is 50 percent completed. Mike Manson is still busy priming the letter board and siding that were not completed before noon. Dave is busy putting the first coat of red on the new window frames – a lot of edges and corners to paint. Harold Mentzer is standing on his head with a bucket of black DTM (Direct to Metal) paint, coating the steel end and coupler support I beams in preparation for the new oak and steel end beams, which are now on-site – drilled and ready for the end rails and brake staff.
When Harold is finished the steel looks like new. Harold, it’s good to have you back and full of energy, P & V!
At noon, Lloyd Butler show up, has lunch with us before he and Lauren prepare the cupola for its trip to Oakland to be rebuilt at Lloyd’s pattern and mold shop, a job that requires a shop and the talent he has. Thanks, Lloyd!
Last, but certainly not least, Don Brewer and John Schwirtz keep at the paint stripping. Thanks, you guys.
We are fortunate to have gained two new crew members: Scott Bowdish has been with us for two work days now, bent over low saw horses sanding and quietly and steadily preparing the end doors for paint. They are looking good. Scott has a background in railroad new construction. Joel Allen also jumped right in, stripping inside overhead ceiling paint. His background is as a job shop machinist with his own ship and many years of experience. Welcome to you both.
February 9 was a hard start day but a lot was accomplished.
In other restoration news, Bruce Evans sent an article to use from the National Railway Historical Society newsletter about an old narrow gauge boxcar found in the brambles, not unlike our P&SR caboose project, and how its restoration put new life into their organization.
There may be a new acquisition of an early piece of NWP rolling stock. There’ll be a story about it soon.