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Project Updates – 9/15/2019

By September 15, 2019Members Only

Submitted by DJ DePanicis

Caboose Update

Last weekend saw a great deal of progress with the last new structural beam put into place. As of this point, the longest, heaviest and most awkward pieces are now placed on the car. The morning started with prepping the header beam and removing the old one. This proved to be much easier on this side than it was on the north side, especially below the cupola. We made a few cuts and the old beam lifted right off. Since there are some good original wall frame boards on the car, we made the needed adjustments on the new beam to accommodate the mortises on those frame pieces. Rich G. and I cut the notches out before lunch and shortly after lunch we were ready to install the new header. While all of this was happening outside the car, Brody was inside the car cleaning up the casting at the bottom of the chimney. It was caked with rotten wood and rubber waterproofing material.

After lunch we were ready to install the new beam. Because of the positioning of the car, we were able to lift the new beam in with the forklift. This proved to make the job very easy as we could use the forks to support the beam if any adjustments needed to be made. Within 30 min the beam was in place and secure.< The day closed with sorting wood, cleaning the floor and marking the new timber for the wall frames. Sarah, at some point, said she would cut the steel I found into smaller pieces to use as shims for the bottom beam (Hopefully by next week....) I plan to be out next weekend (Spet 14-15)  for work on the 765, but in the downtime I will be working on the caboose. The first step will be to shim the bottom beam to level. This, I feel can be done with the forklift or a few car jacks. Once the bottom beam is level, It can be bolted to the frame and the new framing timber can be cut. Many of those new boards will have to notched to accommodate the 1" board for the window pockets. I have a jig already made up, so all that is needed is to make location measurements. Once a few of the vertical frames are in, I have a few ratchet straps ready to start drawing the top together to begin squaring up the car for accurate measurements to fit the rafters on the car. With that being said, the only item that could potentially hold us back is the milling of the rafters. Several weeks ago, Rob and I took the pattern piece to Big C lumber's mill shop. I have called and left numerous messages because at this point, I do not even have a quote for the work to be done. I gave Steve the info for the rafters and he is going to try as well to contact Big C and/or explore other options for the milling of the rafters. Let's hope we find some answers because we are coming to a point where we can start installing them. Thanks to everyone who has put some time into this project. As Steve said, every new piece of lumber that gets put on the car shows positive progress and is one step closer to a finished product. Please let me know if you can come out and help next weekend. I know the fire-up is happening at some point, but I'm sure there will be down time and a few extra people looking for a project. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.

David DJ DePanicis

The wabash caboose work continues Contact DJ to get in on the email chain for that project at

The header beam is in place on the north wall.

Work on the box car continues in the following weeks. Contact Rich Brinkley to get in on the email chain for that project at

358 is ready for electrical and plumbing work. Contact WD Miller to get in on the email chain for Project 358 at

534 work continues every weekend. Contact Carl Lyvers or Jerrad Bennet for information on that project at or