Rapido VIA sleeper

Edmundston Blog: 8 September 2016

Edmundston Blog: 8 September 2016

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Rapido sleeping car

Dan and Jordan remove the corridor wall where there was extensive moisture damage.

Wednesday, August 31st:  

We successfully removed the wall from the left bathroom. After spending too many hours trying to remove stubborn screws, we decided to just cut through them with the sawzall. Cutting through the ply-metal, 2 steel plates, and the screws was a slow process, but, it was still faster than trying to fuss with taming of the screws (pun credit to Dan).

Jordan worked on the carpeted hallway. The screws were a bit stubborn here too, but through his shear strength and force (and a bit of help from the rotted wood), the aluminum extrusions came off. Most of the masonite walls have come off in the hallway; it was easy enough since most of it was rotted from the moisture coming in from the windows over the years.

Railcar restoration

Dirty, mucky fibreglass insulation – it all needs to be replaced!

Jordan adds: “I cleared all the debris down to the steel framing. During this process all of the aluminium trim pieces were retained in mostly excellent condition with a few bends that shouldn’t be too difficult to fix. With this out of the way, Dan and I removed the steam heat radiators for the entire length of the aisle. Dan used the angle grinder and cut them into smaller sections to be removed later on. They will be replaced with electrical heating elements.”

(Jason misses the wonderful moist air of a steam-heated car, but you take what you can get…)

The electrical cabinet was sanded, primed and painted.

Rapido sleeping car restoration

Tiffany endures the heat while Dan primes the electrical cabinet.

Thursday, September 1st: 

Second coat of paint in the electrical cabinet was applied. Basically ready for Ted to install electrical panels.

We got under the train to start removing the steam pipe. Unfortunately it is necessary to remove the main steam line in order to install the HEP (Head End Power) cables. We may add some covering later on to make the HEP cables look like a steam pipe, but for now we’re focused on getting all of the necessary upgrades done. I brought a portable bandsaw to help with the pipe removal. It was wishful thinking, as the saw couldn’t really fit into the crevices of train. It would have been nice otherwise.

Dan and Tiffany try to figure out how best to remove the steam line.

Dan and Tiffany try to figure out how best to remove the steam line.

To protect the centre sill, we clamped 2 pieces of plywood on the sides and above the pipes where we were cutting. This helped accidentally nicking it with the sawzall. The first few cuts went relatively smoothly. But as we got further into the tanks, we realised that the pipe was bolted down with brackets from above. Dan ground most of it off. Another issue came up when we cut too long of a section and couldn’t get it out.

Rapido Steam Heat

Dan tries new and innovative ways to pry out the steam pipe…

Working underneath the car presented us with a number of challenges. The space was cramped; the main air reservoirs were in our way wherever we went; and foreign particulates (otherwise known as rusty bits of dead metal) kept falling on us as we were cutting.

After a while I gave up as my eyes had endured enough rusty dust for one day. Jordan and Dan removed a large chunk of the main steam pipe – almost 40 feet.

Rapido underbody

Dan is getting a taste of what Jason endured to measure this type of car back in 2005. But much worse.

Moving back inside, I continued removing the necessary interior walls to upgrade to head end power. Finally, I got a hold of a track saw for us to use when we need to cut into the floor, this will be great for cutting it out at nice right angles and for cutting pieces to size while on site. It also has a depth gauge so we can cut through the floor without worrying about hitting the piping and structure underneath.

Labour Day Weekend

Bob Merriam spent Labour Day weekend working on the final painting prepwork and actually painting! Hurray!

Tiffany and Bob masked off the windows and sealed and masked the end doors.

VIA E Sleeper

Bob Merriam and Tiffany prepare Edmundston for painting.

The weather was kind to Bob and he was able to paint the vestibule, the blue area around the A end door, and – amazingly – all of the left side! Have a look at the amazing transformation below.

Rapido VIA sleeper

And the left side of the car… is painted!

Doesn’t that just look gorgeous? Here are some more shiny bits in the vestibule:

VIA Rail Vestibule

Lots of beautiful blue paint in the vestibule of Edmundston.

Wednesday, September 7th:

Dan and Jordan spent most of the day working with Ted Wakeford on the windows for Edmundston. The first step is grinding away the dirt and grime on the frames before we can remove the screws.
Sleeping Car Windows

Grinding the shmutz off the window frames.

Next we are slowly working to remove the screws so we can remove the broken glass and insert the fresh panes. This will take a few work sessions to complete as we don’t want to damage any of the frames in the process. With the car half painted, we should be able to start reinstalling the windows as they are repaired next week or this weekend.

Edmundston sleeper windows

Dan Garcia and Ted Wakeford slowly remove rusty old screws from the window frames.

We didn’t work much on the inside today but I managed to finish removing the radiator covers from the aisle wall. It’s getting a little cramped inside the car so we may have to take some time to clean out the junk in our next session. Our old junk needs a storage area where we can store its junk.

As we’ll keep reminding anyone who will listen (and some who won’t), this restoration is costing us an arm and a leg, and Janet is ready to have Jason arrested. If you appreciate the efforts we are taking to restore Edmundston, please consider making a donation. The link is below. Thanks to everyone who has contributed so far!

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