State of the Railroad — February, 2007
2007 has proved a promising year for the Pacific Coast thus far, and one of much work! Exciting plans are afoot for the big public event in May, and work is progressing well and fast on our latest acquisition; International Railways of Central America caboose No. 303. Five years ago, Brad LaRose was devastated when this handsome piece slipped away at the Sundown & Southern auction to become a wilderness vacation cabin. But thanks to fate, Badger’s web sleuthing, and a few talented sets of hands, this tired old hack is really becoming something to be proud of. The exterior restoration of the car is essentially complete – with the new steps finished, installed and painted – and progress continues to be made on the interior. Painting is well on its way and the pot-bellied stove will soon reclaim its place. Phil, in Rio Grande style, painted the handrails and brake wheel white,, a subtle reminder to the years this caboose spent as a Colorado crummy.
Meanwhile, our 25-ton 4-4-0, acquired one year ago from the departed Six Flags Astroworld in Houston, Texas, continues to be improved. This locomotive arrived at the Ranch in sorry shape, and while there is still a long way to go, the “Texas Belle” with us today is a 100% improvement from what arrived last January. President’s Day Weekend saw Phil and Jeff needle-scaling peeling paint on the domes and completing the electrical on both the Nos. 1 and 2. Gone are the days of jury-rigged gauge lamps and flashlights. Now all that’s left to do is get the dynamos working and mount them! Next is finishing the runs to the ends of the tender for coach lighting. Later in the afternoon, Jim dropped by with his restored Ford Pickup. Sweet looking ’39.