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Volume 4, No. 2 - January, 2002
Maintained and Edited by
Bill White and Kathy House


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A Note on RGS Caboose 0400

Here is the text of a note Rex Beistle sent me awhile back concerning caboose 0400 and, specifically, the unpainted cabinet doors on the interior:

I have not been to Georgetown or Silver Plume for quite a few years. For a couple years I went regularly with several modelers from the Boulder Model RR club. One winter we built an enclosed car (coach) from one of the West Side flats. The car (I do not remember the name of the car) has "step-over" seats from Midwestern streetcars. The seats have armrests made of fine grain old mahogany and I offered to refinish them. I took the armrests home to Longmont and refinished them with mahogany stain and a couple coats of polyurethane.

The seats had long been stored in a boxcar down below Hall Siding, and we went to get them with the diesel. That was far and away the most interesting ride I ever had on the Georgetown Loop. There was about 6-8 inches of fresh snow and the rails were completely covered. Phil, our GB&L engineer, had a couple of us out watching for rocks under the snow with instructions to really "sing out" if we saw anything on the track. The trip was great, quietly drifting down in the early morning Colorado snow, trusting that the rails were really still there.

After the covered car was completed, and warmer weather was at hand, we made a trip down to Old Georgetown Station to have a look at the equipment then on display. The object was to determine what materials might be necessary for some future work. The block car and caboose were behind the locomotive. The block car had been repaired some time before I started going up for the monthly work days, but was in need of some paint. The outside of the caboose was in need of paint as well as other repairs.

The parts of the caboose that were in the poorest condition were the window frames. The window frames and sills take a beating because of snow and water. The window glazing was largely missing and that allows water to get inside and rot the lower part of the frame. The lower part of the window frames were really rather sad looking and in need of replacement. The track in which the frame moves is even more exposed to the weather. Second in wear to the window frames are any other horizontal wooden surfaces. The platforms and end beams clearly showed the effects of snow and rain over the years. While there, we noted the cupboard doors were missing. Phil remarked that there was some bead-board siding left over from building the coach and asked if I could make some replacements. I happily replied that I could and quickly measured the openings. Upon our return to Silver Plume, I gathered up enough siding scraps to make the replacement doors.

On a subsequent work trip, we went to Old Georgetown Station with rags, buckets, brushes, paint and my replacement doors. I installed the doors, using new hinges as I recall, and then we all slathered red oxide paint all over the outside of the caboose and some gray on the block car. The doors were not painted because we had no paint to match the interior of the car. If one were to examine the doors and find that they were assembled using a pneumatic nail gun, this would confirm that they are the doors I built.

I think that the paint on the inside of the car must be from the days of the RGS. The paint is a very high gloss enamel on both the wood and metal parts of the car. If a small paint chip were to be examined under about 20X magnification, one might be able to make a better determination. It would also be interesting to compare the inside and outside of the various cabinets, looking for differences in paint. I really doubt that the individuals that had possession of the car after it left the RGS would have bothered to paint the metalwork a different color, if they painted anything at all. The quality of the interior paint job really looks like something one would expect from years past -- No runs or sloppy edges where the green on the wood meets the black on the metal work. With quite a little elbow grease and some appropriate cleaner, I would guess that the inside of the car could really be made to shine.

Best regards

Rex Beistle

Cool Picture

Here is a cool picture of the wooden mockup of RGS 20 being pulled through Silverton, Colorado, during the filming of Ticket to Tomahawk. The photo was taken by Ron Peck and provided to me by his son, Steve Peck.

Nine Stake Gondolas

Don Smith sent a note alerting me to a nine stake gon picture that begins to show how the dump mechanism worked. It's on page 244 of Volume I of The RGS Story, from Sundance. The first car in the string is a nine stake car and you can see the dump mechanism and a partially open door just to the left of the little boy on the far left. Thanks, Don, for the heads up.

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