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Getting some closure. And floors.

Getting some closure. And floors.

By dgarcia

Edmundston Work Sessions


Over the weekends of Sept 24th and 25th, and Sept 31st and Nov 1st Via Rail Canada TMC was able to let us back into the shop and use the drop table to finish our work which we started over a year ago.


The work required us to drop the B end truck and replace the Subfloor which had deteriorated to a point that in some places you could shake hands with someone who was inside roomette 5.


A small group of us arrived around 8:30am on Saturday which consisted of John Carey, Brian Craus, Jeff Keddy and Brendan Frisina as we waited for the Hostlers to move “Edmundston” to the drop table we job briefed on what work we could technically be completed in the time we were allotted. Once spotted and the track protected with our personal Rapido lock we started to prepare the B end truck for its removal. After removal we would inspect the truck later on in the day. We started the structural inspection of the side sills,centre sill and bolster of car which are not accessible with the truck in place. We used a needle scaler on the bolster and centre sill to look for cracks which none were found. The car from the perspective of just the frame is in great shape .... in other words it’s not going to fall apart Pullman Standard knew how to build a frame and it’s going to last for a long time. We did find however some rot in the Left side B end side sill under roomette 6, not surprising to me because that’s where a roof leak has been weeping for years. John Carey fabricated a “patch” doubler which meets the requirements to patch up the holes and since we are allowed to weld to the side sill, John stitch welded it in.


The Subfloor under the truck was a mess ... completely rotten ... last time we cut out only a portion of it because we had to remove all the hot rivets that hold the subfloor in place and while grinding the rivets we found it not to be an option because the insulation that Pullman Standard used in 1954 is flammable and if hot sparks ignite it, it smoulders at a really hot temperature which would catch the wood floor on fire and that would be bad ... so we came up with a different approach we drilled the rivets out and used a step bit to chew the head off just enough to use a air chisel to take the rest of the rivet off. So at one point we had Brian on the needle scaler scaling the frame from rust, John drilling and reaming, and myself on the air chiseler knocking the rivets out and Jeff being a runner for tools and material which we needed .... the team worked well once we got the rotten floors out and we removed the insulation and now had a flat surface to install the new floor. We inspected the angle iron and Z braces which were under the old sub flooring. We discovered that we needed to replace some angle and Z bracing and so cut out the rotten steel. At this point John set up to fabricate and cut new steel angle to length , Z bracing and steel sheet for the subfloor. Brian and myself moved over to the Right side of the car and started to remove that flooring and Jeff took over the needle scaling and wire wheeling of the floor which we were going to keep. Again we drilled, reamed, chiseled and prepared that floor for inspection to see what it needed. Jeff started to prime and paint the subfloor flat black which we were keeping.


After the metal was fabricated and test fit we cut out the rotten pieces of angle iron and Z bracing and John welded and teck screwed in the new metal. Meanwhile after Brian and I had finished with the floor on the right side and marked what had to be cut out and fixed there. Brian and started working on replacing the old signal pipe which had been torched off and we then decided to use it as a main reservoir pipe and he started working on restoring that back to service, while Jeff and I measured and cut new Rockwool insulation.


Once John was ready for insulation and we installed it, all of us together lifted the floor sheets up while John tech-screwed the sheets in place. Then John welded in the Z bracing in, while I used butyl rubberized caulk to seal the seams from the weather. Once that was accomplished the floor on the one side was now completed except for paint. We continued this practice over the next days and were able to complete the floor under the truck. This fix should last now, since we are not using the toilets any more in the roomettes, this will slow down the deterioration of the metal considerably.


Not to leave Brendan out ... he worked on the truck which was removed, needle scalded the entire truck, took apart the centre bearing wear plates, cleaned them, then we inspected them and replaced the main wear plate because it was beyond its limit. Brendan re greased the bearing and painted the truck flat black as to Via standards, then we lubed the brake pins and reinstalled the truck under Edmundston while he had the paint out, He painted the battery boxes, air conditioning condenser and compressor. He also helped Brian with the main reservoir pipe ......


The work session over the two weekends was very busy and not with out its problems but I could not have done it with out the dedication of this crew. We work well together. A huge thank you to John, Brian, Jeff and Brendan


Until the next Edmundston adventure .....


-Chris Fox