Over the past year, the Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum has been investing a large amount of work into our seven ex-New York Central Budd-built all stainless steel passenger cars from the 1941 re-equipping of the “Empire State Express.” These coaches were acquired from Metro-North Railroad in 1987, having served more than forty years in long-distance and commuter passenger service. Our volunteers have been working hard on refurbishing our coaches. From replacing window glazing to interior repairs, the effort has been large and very successful, but there is still much to do.
Here we see one of the coaches which has been brought inside of the museum’s restoration shop for some interior work including replacement of some of the wall panels. To do this work, the car’s seats had to be removed and the old failing wall panels removed. At the same time, the car will be outfitted with electric heat to replace its original steam heating system which is no longer supportable. The flourescent lighting was added during a 1970s rebuild to help “modernize” the cars after they were reassigned to New York suburban commuter service.
The original heating elements are being removed, however, the original stainless covers will be replaced to hide the new electric baseboard heat. Here we see the east side of the car where the radiator covers are being removed to allow access to the original heating elements and allow the failing wall material to be removed to be replaced.
Additionally, upholstery repairs are on the slate as well. Here we see volunteer, Don Wawrzyniak, hard at work on some new seat covers. In house upholstery work is something new to the R&GVRRM. We thank Don for taking this on, and welcome anyone interested in helping us with this facet of the restoration. With five coaches to work on and lots of work to do for all skill levels and capabilities, the museum could use your help if you would like to volunteer with us to help restore our ‘Great Steel Fleet’!