Rapido sleeper

Edmundston Blog: 28 August 2016

Edmundston Blog: 28 August 2016

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Please click on the DONATE button below to contribute to our efforts to restore Edmundston. Every little bit helps.

(Note: if you are outside Canada, leave the mailing address blank as PayPal
won’t accept a non-Canadian address for Canadian dollar contributions.)

The Rapido team works on our sleeping car.

Tiffany working on the bathroom walls. All photos on this page are by Tiffany, Jordan and Dan.

Meet Tiffany Pang, our new restoration manager for Edmundston. Tiffany has been working very hard throughout the month of August to bring Edmundston back to life, hopefully in time to run some excursions this fall. It is a daunting task, for sure. We’ve discovered a lot of internal work that needs to be done on the car.

Tiffany is a quick learner and is very handy with restoration work. She has extensive experience at the Toronto Railway Museum and has even trained as a blacksmith! This is a woman who takes restoration seriously. She had never used a sawzall before working on Edmundston and now she handles it like a pro. Tiffany has been working mainly with Rapido’s usual suspects, Dan Garcia and Jordan Smith.

The Rapido team works on our sleeping car.

Jordan is in our ex-VIA sleeping car but he would rather be on Amtrak. He’s so fired.

The biggest job on Edmundston’s interior has been the bathroom end, or A end, of the car. The main air intake vents are above the bathrooms and for the 12 years Edmundston was parked in Georgia rain was pouring in these vents. (It was probably pouring in for years before as well.) Bob Merriam covered up the vents last year (see the video here) but the damage had long since been done.

The plymetal walls between the corridor and the bathrooms were rotten and needed to be removed. This proved difficult for two reasons. Firstly, all the screws had rusted or seized into the metal framing. Not to mention that the screws were a complete mish-mash – you could find Robertson, Phillips and slotted screws in the same metal strip! Jordan found it interesting to see how the car was built and maintained over the years, but more modern, modular construction would have been a heck of a lot less work!

The Rapido team works on our sleeping car.

Dan surveys the damage in this panoramic shot by Jordan.

Secondly, these sleepers were designed and built with the expectation that the bathroom walls would NEVER need to be replaced. They were fastened in place before the ceiling was installed on the car. Jordan spent two days in the ceiling above the bathrooms – in temperatures north of 30C – disassembling the brackets that were holding the walls up. It was tedious work but it paid off and most of the walls are now removed. There are still 2 toilet walls that have been giving us trouble but the crew thinks they can have them removed in the next work session.

The Rapido team works on our sleeping car.

Left: Early on, Jordan tries to release the rusted screws.
Right: It’s a few days later, and everyone is ready for a bath and a nap.

The other result of years and years of moisture getting into the A end is that the floor is rotten. We have removed most of the rubber flooring to find that the wood has rotted away in a few spots clear through the car. You can see the track!

It hasn’t been a huge problem, but a couple of tools have fallen down to track level or ended up in the centre sill. It also makes placing the ladder a bit precarious as Jordan found out when he almost toppled over. Thankfully because we are almost done the walls we can start removing the rotten floor soon.

Pullman bathroom

The bathroom area is cleaned up and ready for some new floor and walls.

We’re renting a small truck to pick up the plymetal sheets, 1″ plywood for the floor, and a roll of wall carpet that Jason found in – of all places – Georgia. The wall carpet cost about $1200. Did anyone say owning a passenger car was cheap?

Ted Wakeford gave Jason a shopping list for all of the head end power control relays and components. That was another $5000 USD bill, along with all the necessary cabling – $10,000 USD. We estimate by the time Edmundston is fully refurbished the car will have cost Rapido close to $200,000. If you want to contribute to our restoration efforts, please click on the link below. We could really use your help as we never expected it to cost this much. Any contributions of $400 or more will get a free excursion with the team on the first run when the car is in service. We only have about 12 spots available for this.

Please click on the DONATE button below to contribute to our efforts to restore Edmundston. Every little bit helps.

(Note: if you are outside Canada, leave the mailing address blank as PayPal
won’t accept a non-Canadian address for Canadian dollar contributions.)

Pullman Standard Electrical Locker

Dan cuts away the 1954-era electrical equipment to make room for the Head End Power controls.

In preparation for Ted to finish the head end power equipment, Dan started working on the electrical cabinet. Some of the heavy old equipment is now removed and ready for disposal. This clears up a lot of space for the new controls. Edmundston will have proper climate and lighting control using a touch screen, which is far superior to the old DC relay system built in 1954.

All of the fixtures from the bathrooms have been retained and set aside for safe keeping. Due to the corrosion we will need to replace much of the hardware.

We’ve decided to fit a shower stall in one of the bathrooms. In the interest of being historically sensitive, the shower stall will be fully removable. But honestly, we think being able to have a shower on a four-day trip across the country is a bonus so we’re not too worried about its removability. We’ll work on the shower once the head end power is fully up and running and the bathroom is fully functional.

Outside the car, Bob Merriam has been finishing the body work and we expect to paint it in the next few weeks. We’d really like to get Edmundston into service in the fall and to do that it can’t be in a patchwork of primer. Below is our painting diagram.

Rapido Edmundston Sleeper

Our painting and lettering artwork for Edmundston.
We can’t use the VIA logo but we’ve used just about everything else!

As you can see we have a huge job ahead of us. That’s why we’re soliciting donations to help with the restoration. As mentioned above, the first dozen or so people who contribute $400 or more will get a spot on the first run.

Tiffany, Jordan and Dan are working hard on Edmundston so we expect to have a new update soon!

Please click on the DONATE button below to contribute to our efforts to restore Edmundston. Every little bit helps.

(Note: if you are outside Canada, leave the mailing address blank as PayPal
won’t accept a non-Canadian address for Canadian dollar contributions.)

Rapido sleeping car

Here’s a neat panoramic shot from Tiffany.
We look forward to having these section berths back in service.




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