Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Cousin in California

Frank writes...

I recently received some photos from Dave Buechler of the Western Railway Museum in Rio Vista, CA showing the practically-complete restoration of Portland Traction car 4001.  How does this involve IRM, you ask?  Well take a look.

All photos are copyright David Buechler and may not be copied
or reproduced without permission.

That's right - the family resemblance is obvious.  Portland Traction 4001 is ex-Indiana Railroad 202, originally Interstate Public Service 262 - the only other survivor from the same series as our own Indiana Railroad 205.  Thanks to Dave for giving us permission to post these!
Dave is just now wrapping up a multi-year restoration of car 4001 that saw the car stripped down to a shell and completely rebuilt.  The trucks and motors were sent all the way to Pennsylvania to be professionally rebuilt; major steel work was done (car 4001 wasn't as badly rusted out as the 205 is, as it didn't spend 30 years in the Washington state rain forests like our car did, but it still had its share of body rot); and the roof and interior were completely re-done.  The car's mechanical and electrical systems were also fully restored by Dave and the WRM crew.
It has been faithfully restored to its 1940s appearance, not long after acquisition from the Indiana Railroad.  WRM has restored some features that these cars (or, at least, the 205 - I'm not as familiar with the 4001's idiosyncrasies) had lost by the end of service, like MU sockets and multiple flag brackets at all four corners.  Other features installed by Portland when the cars were acquired from Indiana have been retained, such as the hang-on headlights, mixture of brass and wood end windows, and horns (soon to be installed).  During the 1940s IRM's car, which was numbered 4003 on Portland Traction, would have looked almost exactly like this.
And the interior of car 4001 is virtually unchanged from what it would have looked like in Terre Haute city service on the Indiana Railroad.  What a beauty!  I'm going to have to schedule a trip out to Rio Vista to ride it myself soon.  I believe their plan is to make this one of their regular service cars.  Cars of this size, like our own IT 415, are pretty ideal for museum operations with longer railroads (WRM is among the only trolley museums, if not the only trolley museum, in the country with a longer line than IRM's).

I sometime get asked why we're not doing a major rebuild like this on the 205, and I can only agree that it would be wonderful to do so.  But unfortunately the 205 would need even more work than WRM's car and we just don't have the manpower or money to do the work.  But if you have a friend with a spare $750,000 or so that they don't know what to do with, let me know!


Anonymous said...

something to look forward to in the future

Anonymous said...

I was in the first revenue run of the Portland #4001 yesterday. Dave and the Shop guys sure did a great job on the suburban car!

Don't forget that when you came west, the Miles Bed and Breakfast has space for you and transportation out to Rio Vista is also available.

Thanks for posting the pictures of the car!

Ted Miles, WRM volunteer
IRM Member