From the September-October 2008 Headlight

P&SR Caboose Restoration Project
Are We Over the Hump?
By Jeff Millerick
When our workdays begin, we pull off the tarps and we all stand back, enjoy our coffee and doughnuts and agree “she looks great!” We’ve made the transition from “what did we get ourselves into?” to “we’re now on the downhill side.”
Letter boards are on. The end doors have been installed. Both end platforms are in place with end rails. Grab rails have been fitted, making sure they are straight and uniform.
Installation of the marker lamp brackets is close to completion. Skip Ruckert has finished the window frames and they’re installed. The frames that hold the glass are also competed, painted by Mike Manson, and ready for glazing. What a beautiful job Skip did on these frames! Thanks, Skip.
Lloyd Butler is still working on the cupola. He took on a serious project: no square corners, the windows are either trapezoid shaped or leaning in at the sides with the ability to slide. We’re lucky to have your talents, Lloyd.
The last three work days have been away from #1. We all felt that the body is going so well we needed to get a jump on the trucks stored in Sebastopol.
So, let’s see if you can be confused with this:
When we purchased #1, it had no trucks. We had the opportunity to buy the hardware from two truck sets. The oak frames had rotted and been thrown away. The trucks were missing wheels and bearings, but all the rest of the hardware was there. We jumped at this purchase opportunity. Later, we located two more complete trucks with the same manufacturing time period – 1896. Also, they were the correct trucks for #1 – a one-in-a-million long shot. These trucks had broken, missing and home-made parts and the wood was usable only for patterns.
We decided to disassemble the worst one of the two complete trucks, leaving the better complete one as a reassembly model. Now there are piles of pedestals, castings, truss rods and cast washers for holding all wood together. There are square-headed bolts, nuts and lock nuts. Later we will need to know which way everything went – did they go up or down, with the nuts on the top or bottom?
After disassembling one complete truck and removing the wheels and brass from both trucks, we now have three complete sets of hardware to inspect for wear cracks and then use the original parts. We picked the best springs and journal boxes and had to make a trade with the complete truck frame to get a full set of matching pedestals – eight in total, all good. We now are ready for the sand blaster.
All of this took three working days in the hot sun with heating torches, large wrenches, sledge hammers and a forklift – a lot of hard work and sweat!
There’ll be plenty of left over good parts for all of this which we can possibly use on our next project.
Well done, preservation crew!