Alexander Chapter- NRHS

     In addition to our boxcar restorations, the Alexander Chapter-NRHS sometimes pulls one of its smaller projects out of the weeds and into the spotlight. Member Matt Bumgarner obtained the standard Railway Express Agency / Southern Railway baggage cart about ten years ago. It was in dire need of restoration then, and after another decade in the elements, the wood had literally crumbled into sawdust. Still, the cart was relatively complete, having even its handle counterweight and rear hook. The metal wheels date the car into the 1920's, just after the wood-spoke era, and prior to the rubber-tire era.     
   (Left and above) In July, 2009, the poor old wagon was held together only by her metal strapping and truss rods.
     (At right) With a damn fine looking  boxcar in the background, the team of hacks, uh, well-trained surgeons, prepares to disassemble the dilapidated baggage cart.

     (Below) All of the metal parts were still on the car and in excellent condition, including this fulcrum.
    Even though a small project compared to the boxcars, there are several pieces of wood that will be quite tricky. Two large pieces of wood on the axle sets (above) must be cut to clear the wheels, while the end sills (at right) utilize mortice & tenon construction, just like the boxcars!
Southern Railway Baggage Wagon
Alexander Chapter NRHS
    The new wooden components are made out of oak that was cut, milled, and dried by chapter members... no store-bought timber here!  Note the tenons on each end of the sills.

   Just like a boxcar, the wagon has side sills, intermediate sills, and center sills.
   (Right) The tenons of the sills fit into the mortices of the end sill perfectly. The ends of the sills will be chamfered (beveled) later.

  (Below) The bolster has been cut and ready to put into position.
   (Left & above) The bolsters are positioned and put into place per the Southern Railway 1913 Standards engineering plans. All of the cart's metal parts have been previously sandblasted, primed, and painted.
   (Right) The front bolster and fulcrum of the wagon is the trickiest part of the car to position and assemble.

  (Below) When the cart was deconstructed, most of the bolts had to be cut or destroyed. To replace these items, member Gerald Williamson custom machined commercial carriage bolts to fit the application. We also used only square nuts where appropriate.
   (Left & below) The frame is complete, bolsters, and axles are in place. The wood is ready to paint and prime!
   (Right & below) All of the metal parts were painted before being mounted on the body and the steering fulcrum was coated in grease. Some metal burrs were still in need of being smoothed out and final paint touch-up was done.
   (Above) It took five of the chapter members to flip the baggage wagon after all of the painting on the underside had been completed. (Right) Vinyl "Southern Railway" stencils are applied to allow for final lettering.
   (Left) This is a quickie shot from a mobile phone, but the wagon is almost finished. The chapter did add two black stake pockets so that we can add some secondary signage for mobile displays at train shows and local civic events.