Archives 2010

From The Headlight March-April 2010

CP 29 Begins Its Move to Petaluma

By Mike Manson

The NWPRRHS has begun the process of conserving and restoring a vintage wooden coach we believe to be Central Pacific Railroad 29. This car served on the Central Pacific for about 50 years before its sale to the NWP in 1912. The coach continued in revenue service as NWP 123. It was downgraded to Maintenance-of-Way status in 1936 and renumbered MW241. Eventually it was retired and put up for sale.

About 1958 or 1959 the car was sold to Dirl “Dutch” Mucklow of Redwood Valley in Mendocino County. Railroad workers removed the truss rods and couplers. The car was lifted off of its trucks and hauled 8 miles north to Redwood Valley. Dutch had Car 29 set on blocks at his property on East Side Road near the Redwood Valley station. He cut two doorways in one side of the car to access a lean-to bedroom structure. When a tree branch damaged the roof Dutch installed a wood frame and covered it with corrugated sheet metal. Then he built an entry porch and washroom at one end of the car.

The present owners, Ken and Cricket Mucklow, are Dutch’s son and daughter-in-law. Ken lived in it for several summers before going into the service. After their marriage the Mucklows lived in the car for a number of years in the 1970’s. After they moved out the car was used as a rental property.

Ken and Cricket generously donated the car to the Society as a memorial to Dutch. On Saturday, April 3rd, several Society members drove to the car and started removing the materials covering it. This work session was videotaped by Roger Graeber. Another trip followed on April 10. One or two more trips will be needed to complete the work and prepare CP 29 for its relocation to Petaluma.

Ken Mucklow stated that when the car was bought, three other wooden cars were for sale at the Ukiah yard. The largest was a Pullman too big to move by highway without special permits, so it was burned for its metal. The other two coaches were hauled away by their new owners, like Car 29. These two wooden coaches may still be in the vicinity of Ukiah awaiting their turn for discovery and restoration.

Last August the Society received a “matching” grant of $4,500 from the National Railroad Historical Society. The grant is for moving Car 29 to its new home at the De Carli Trolley Museum in Petaluma, and to help fund the acquisition, transport and rebuilding of a pair of appropriate wood-beam passenger trucks. We are still looking for trucks, so if you know where we can get them, or the locations of the two missing Ukiah cars, please contact the Society’s Restoration Team leaders: Jeff Millerick, Scott Bowdish or Mike Manson

From The Headlight July-August 2010

CP 29 Comes Back To Petaluma

Central Pacific 29/NWP 123 is now at the De Carli Trolley Barn

By Mike Manson

CP 29 was donated to the Society by Ken and Mary Mucklow, but there was one problem: it still had a tenant who had lived in the car for 9 years. It took a number of months for the tenant to find another home. The Mucklows’ tenant began moving out of Car 29 on Saturday, April 3. We received permission to start tearing off the add-on porches and carport. Restoration Team members went to work with saws, hammers and pry bars. By the end of that day the carport, entry porch, laundry room, fencing, propane tank and hot tub were gone from around the car. A demolition permit was obtained on Tuesday. The following Saturday saw the removal of the bedroom and roof structure. Our third work session was April 24. The crew moved appliances out and picked up the remaining yard debris.

The Phil Joy House Moving Company of Crockett was asked to bid on moving Car 29. Phil inspected the car and submitted his bid, which was accepted. Half of the cost of the move is covered by a grant from the National Railway Historical Society. We planned for the car to be loaded onto his truck about two weeks later (Saturday, May 15), and moved the next day. Restoration Team members were ready to go back on May 14 to do the final preparations for moving Car 29: cut off the rear door entrance deck, and install internal bracing. We wanted to be certain the car would not collapse. But then the pace picked up. On Thursday, May 5, Phil called and asked about moving the schedule forward a week. He wanted to load Car 29 the next day and bring it to Petaluma that Saturday. “Not a problem.” Fortunately Gus Campagna and I were available to install the bracing and observe the car being loaded.

Phil and his crew slid a pair of steel H-beams beneath Car 29. Four hydraulic jacks, two to a beam, lifted the car off the blocks it had sat on for more than 50 years. No sagging occurred – if there is rot or termite damage in the floor sills the bracing compensated for it. Backing the trailer under the car proved more of a challenge because a small tree was blocking direct access. There was enough room to work around the tree and save it for the Mucklows. Lowering the car onto the trailer and tying it down took only a few minutes. Torch-cutting the two beams to the width of the car took a few minutes more. Now Car 29 was ready to head south on US 101 to its new home in Petaluma.

The next day Gus and Jeff Millerick headed back north to observe the move. Car 29 left Redwood Valley at 10 AM. It arrived at the De Carli Trolley Barn just after noon. Total distance: 86 miles. Lauren Williams moved Petaluma Trolley’s 25-ton GE diesel locomotive No. 5 and Fairmont track gang car No. 6 down the P&SR main line on Copeland Street. Phil’s driver easily backed the trailer through the De Carli track gate into the space where Caboose 1 had been restored. The same four jacks lifted Car 29 up off the trailer. After pulling the trailer out of the way, Car 29 was set down on three steel support beams. Lauren moved the loco and track gang car back onto the siding. No. 5 then gave a long blast of its air horn to welcome Car 29.

Now the restoration begins. First things first: remove the bracing and the false ceiling below the clerestory roof, clean up the car interior, build entrance stairs and platform, and remove the paint concealing car numbers and lettering. Then a quick inspection and inventory of what will be needed to restore Car 29 to service. We have to hurry, because the Annual Dinner is on June 19, just 6 weeks away. That means just two Restoration Team work days before Society members come to visit. And some of the team members will be working on Caboose 1 to make it ready for display.

From The Headlight September-October 2010

Restoration Begins for CP 29

The Society’s Central Pacific Coach Is Now in Petaluma

By Mike Manson

The Restoration Team began its work as soon as CP 29 was set onto its support beams. During the following week Skip disassembled the wood bracing. Steve Atnip began the long process of pulling off the housing materials still attached to the car. There were hundreds of screws, nails and staples to be removed, along with a nest of red ants inside one window frame. He also started stripping paint off the interior surfaces. A week or two after its arrival in Petaluma, just in time for the Society’s Annual Dinner, Gus and Skip Ruekert built a “permanent” staircase at each end of the car. CP 29 will be at this location for several years, and good access is needed.

Our car’s identification numbers are now fully documented: “29” is exposed above the south door’s exterior frame (Central Pacific 29); “1121” is stamped into the back sides of both clerestory end panels or ventilators (CP 1121); “NWP 123” is lettered on the front side of each ventilator (Northwestern Pacific 123); “242” is visible on the siding below the middle window on each side of the car (NWP MW 242). The first three numbers match those listed by Fred Stindt in his book. The fourth number indicates a mix-up in the records for the maintenance-of-way cars. NWP 123 was listed as becoming MW241 instead of MW242.

Rain caused significant damage to the clerestory’s interior paneling, so we will leave the composite roofing material in place. This winter the car will be covered by heavy tarpaulins. The Restoration Team will start repairing the roof next year. CP 29 has 15 rectangular windows on each side. Eleven of the windows are missing the jamb, sash and glass entirely. These will be built from scratch. Two more are missing the glass. All existing windows will be removed, repaired as necessary and reinstalled. While inspecting the car we discovered that instead of using putty to retain the glass in position, railroad car shop workers tacked small half-round wood strips along the edges.

Early photos of the Wason cars show they were built with arched windows and board & batten siding. The rectangular windows and tongue & groove siding were installed in our car about 1885. The empty window openings have vertical grooves and small bushings, which indicate the car was built with the window sashes installed in what are now the “rough openings”. An 1860’s photo of a Wason car leaving Oakland, published on the Web at , shows these early cars had two windows at each end, one on each side of the door. By putting a camera into the south wall’s chimney hole we were able to photograph physical evidence inside the wall that proves CP 29 was built with arched end windows and these windows later were replaced with the rectangular windows. The end windows were removed and the openings covered at an unknown date, possibly when the car was converted to MOW service in 1936.

Both doors are original to the car and look identical to the door in the old photo. The original locations for the keyhole and door knob spindle or shaft are the same as shown in the 1860’s photo of the Wason car. The old photo also shows the car door had a pair of round-top windows like CP 29. Only one of the four glass panes in our doors is unbroken. The north door is severely damaged near its lower hinge.

The car is missing its two trucks, all of the north end’s platform and most of the south end’s platform. Both truss rods are cut off below the car, and the queen posts are missing. The entire brake system – air reservoir, cylinder, piping and hoses, brake wheel staffs, chains and levers – are gone, as well as the couplers. All of the seats, toilet facilities, oil lamps and the coal stove were removed many years ago. These railroad materials were taken out by the NWP’s shop crew before the car was set on blocks in the Ukiah yard. Why was the car detrucked? Now that CP 29 is on support blocks, we can see that each truck center plate has a broken outer rim on its south side. Evidently the car received a hard impact on its south end while the brakes were locked and the wheels chocked. The center plate castings could not withstand the force of the impact, and snapped their rims. Repair costs could not be justified on this old car. Because the body was in good condition it was turned into stationary housing.

While our car was used as a house two bedroom access doors were cut through the west side. The inverted truss rod, a rectangular steel support bar running the length of the car below the windows and supporting each car end, was cut out at each of these openings. The window, siding, wood framing and support truss assembly were also cut out. The Restoration Team will level and square up the car’s frame, then replace the missing wood pieces, repair the inverted truss rod and install a new set of truss rods.

Ken Mucklow told us that a “flash-over fire” ignited inside the south wall near the stove chimney hole. The local volunteer fire department cut the redwood tongue and groove siding open to extinguish the flames. The exterior wall was patched with plywood. Some of the interior boards still have burned ends.

Research into CP 29’s history is continuing. We should have more to tell about it in the next issue of the Headlight.

From The Headlight November-December 2010

Central Pacific 29

Its Structural Framing and Support

By Mike Manson

Since CP 29 arrived in Petaluma it has undergone an extensive evaluation of its physical condition, its design and construction, and repairs and modifications it received while in service. The evaluation is not complete, but we have learned a great deal about the car.

CP 29 is an open platform wooden passenger car designed and built in the 1860’s. Its structural framing and support system consists of numerous components, some of which are missing from the car.

  • Six horizontal floor sills extend the length of the car. From outside to inside they are the side sills, intermediate sills and center sills. They are separated by bridging blocks. The two center sills transmit the pulling and pushing forces from coupler to coupler. Two car end beams connect the floor sills. They are 6¼ inches wide and 8¼ inches high. The sills are mortised into the end sills.
  • Numerous ¾-inch sill tie rods extend through the car sills from side to side, clamping the frame pieces together.
  • On each side of the car, two corner posts and 30 window posts support a top plate that extends horizontally across the upper ends of the posts. The end walls each have four window posts and two door posts as well as the corner posts. These also support a top plate.
  • Sill-and-plate rods, which are vertical steel rods within the walls, clamp the sills, posts and plates together.
  • A truss plank or spring plank extends along the base of each interior side wall. These 3 inch by 12 inch planks are set on edge onto floor boards that in turn are set upon the side sills. The spring planks are bolted horizontally to the window posts and vertically to the side sill. They stiffen and reinforce the side sills.
  • Two steel inverted truss rods, one on each side of the car, extend from beneath the floor at each corner post upwards through the side sill and wall at a steep angle, then bending to extend horizontally along the outer face of the window posts just below the windows. Their purpose is to support the car ends and prevent them from drooping. The rod ends are round and threaded for a heavy nut. Within the wall the rod is flattened, and measures 7/16″ in thickness by 1 7/8″ in width. One of the rods was cut in two locations when the outside bedroom was added to the car.
  • Side braces and brace straining rods are located within the wall spaces below the windows. The purpose of the side brace/brace straining rod set at each window is to laterally support the window posts that in turn are supporting the inverted truss rods. Each side brace extends diagonally across the space, from just below the window post-belt rail joint downward to the opposite window post-side sill joint. Braces are arranged such that most of the brace tops lean away from the nearest car end and towards the car’s midpoint. The last two braces at each end of the wall lean towards the corner post to brace it. Brace straining rods are vertical steel rods that extend through the upper ends of the braces downward through the side sills. Each rod pulls the upper end of its brace downward, thereby forcing the upper brace end against its window post and the foot of the brace against the opposite window post’s side sill joint.
  • Two needle beams, each 4 inches high and 8 inches wide, extend across the undersides of the floor sills. They are spaced 42 inches from the midpoint of the car. These beams are supported at each end by two square-head bolts recessed into the tops of the side sill and by washers and square nuts beneath the beam. Bolted to the underside of each beam was a pair of cast iron queen posts, one at each end of the beam. The queen posts were cut off when the car was taken off of its trucks.
  • A pair of 1¼ inch-diameter steel body truss rods should extend the length of the car below the needle beams, next to the side sills. CP 29’s truss rods were cut off where they exit the underside of the car. The truss rods are 75 inches apart on center. When complete, each truss rod consists of two half-length rods that are connected between the queen posts by a turnbuckle. A large nut and washer should be located at the outer end of each rod but they are all missing. Truss rod diameter is increased ? inch to ¼ inch at each end to allow cutting of threads without compromising the strength of the rod.
  • The queen posts set on the underside of the needle beams vertically separate the truss rods from the beams and transmit tension forces upward to the beams as compression to support the floor sills. The queen posts were 92 inches apart on center along each truss rod. Sierra 2 (CP 43) has queen posts that are strikingly similar to those of CP 12 when it was built at the Wason factory.
  • The clerestory roof is shaped and supported by carlines extending across the car body. Ceiling panels conceal the carlines in CP 29. Externally the carlines are covered lengthwise by wood planks, steel plates and waterproofing materials. Windows are set into the sides of the clerestory roof to provide light and let out smoke and stale air.
  • Floor boards extend along the length of the car parallel to the sills. These 1-inch-thick tongue & groove boards are between 2 inches and 7 inches wide. Bridging boards or cross connector boards extend across the tops of the car sills, to support the floor boards.
  • Tongue & groove boards extend across the underside of the car from sill to sill. These boards comprise the deafening ceiling, which is installed below the floor boards to reduce noise. The ceiling boards are supported by 1-inch-thick nailing strips that in turn are nailed to the lower portion of the sill sides. Like most passenger cars CP 29 had a platform at each end. The platform sills were mortised into the outer faces of the end beams and the inside faces of the platform beams. Steel rods were used to pull these platforms tightly against the end beams. CP 29’s north end platform was cut off. Its south end platform sills are still in position.

To summarize, CP 29 is a box consisting of a wooden frame that is clamped together by steel rods, supported across its width by two wooden beams, and supported along its length by two steel rods that push the beams and floor up and two steel rods that pull the ends up. The frame is covered by interior and exterior wood planks on the four sides, floor and ceiling. Overlapping boards along the sides keep out wind and rain, but to keep passengers dry the wood roof must be covered with waterproof materials.

From The Headlight January-February 2011

Central Pacific 29

End-of-Year Report

By Mike Manson

The Society shares the De Carli Trolley Museum space with Petaluma Trolley. The yard space also is rented out to a Christmas tree vendor, so our last work session of the year was November 20. All of our work had to be completed by the end of that day, including covering CP 29 and NWP 605 with new tarpaulins.

CP 29 needs a pair of wood beam trucks. In September the Society purchased a pair of ex-CB&Q passenger/caboose trucks from the Sumpter Valley Railroad in Sumpter, OR. Trucker Charley Lix brought them to the De Carli Trolley Museum yard on October 18, a few days after the deadline for the last issue of the Headlight. To make room for the Christmas tree folks we planned to place the trucks on some temporary track behind CP 29. The large pile of dirt Lauren Williams had scraped off of the Trolley Yard pavement was in the way of the new track, so the dirt had to be pushed over to the location of the scrap wood pile, which also had to be moved. Usable wood was restacked by the paint shed, while the rest was dumped. A week before the trucks arrived Lauren, Scott Bowdish, Steve Atnip and I laid the new track.

The trucks look the same as those we rebuilt for Caboose 1. NWP’s 1919 roster shows CP 29 used the same size journals (3¾” by 7″) as the Sumpter Valley trucks. Their wheel base is 5 feet long. CP 29’s truck wheel base was 6 feet 6 inches. All of the oak beams must be replaced with new wood, so lengthening the side frames by 18 inches will not be a problem. The steel equalizers and tie rods can be either lengthened by welding or replaced with new pieces. Castings and other metal pieces will be sandblasted and reused.

In researching CP 29 we discovered the California State Railroad Museum archive in Sacramento contains numerous technical drawings of components installed by the Central Pacific Railroad on its fleet of older wooden coaches during their working lives. As an example, a train air signal system was devised to allow crewmembers to communicate while a train was underway. Headlight editor Fred Codoni confirmed the NWP used this signal system. Copies of drawings of the system components and others that apply to CP 29 were purchased. One of the drawings contains full-size profiles of several trim pieces used inside CP 29 when it was being rebuilt as CP 1121. Others show the hand brake hardware arrangement on open platforms of passenger cars, the platform box steps and the standard passenger car water cooler. Many of these components will be reinstalled on CP 29 as its restoration progresses.

The Central Pacific Railroad Collection at the CSRM library also contains two documents that are important to discovering CP 29’s hidden past. The first is an 1890’s-vintage Central Pacific Railroad Company list with “placed in service” dates and purchase prices of their rolling stock. This document shows the “placed in service” date for CP 1121 as July 1861. CP 1121 was originally CP 29. In his book about the NWP Fred Stindt shows NWP 123 (CP 1121, CP 29) as being built by Wason in 1861. Unfortunately his source of information was wrong.

The second document is the CPRR’s Record of Invoices covering purchases in New York by C.P. Huntington for shipment by boat to Pacific Coast, April 1863 to August 1869. This “Record of Invoices” contains an entry for CP 29, dated June 25, 1869. The Central Pacific Railroad paid Wason Manufacturing Company $5,000 for its new car, and another $5,000 for CP 30. These two cars were part of an order for 75 passenger and baggage cars. The first group of cars – CP 11, 12, 13 and 14 – were paid for on April 12, 1869. Cars 15 and 16 were paid for on April 24. These and the other cars were sent via the newly completed Overland Route from Omaha to Sacramento. The first two Wason cars to arrive – No. 12 and No. 16 – rolled into Sacramento on May 12 as part of Governor Stanford’s returning train. CP 29 arrived in July and went immediately into service.