At left, ET&WNC 434 has called the New Jersey Museum of Transportation home for the past 40+ years. Located in Allaire State Park in Wall, NJ, the museum operates a 3/4 mile loop with a varied collection of narrow gauge equipment.
At right, this motley crew from the Alexander Chapter-NRHS rented a Kia Minivan and braved the incursion into VERY friendly New Jersey. In a related note, Cracker Barrel sales went up dramatically along the eastern seaboard.
The exterior siding of the car is in pretty rough shape and one door is missing. However some 90% of the body hardware still exists, and even the lettering on one side remains painted.
The interior of the car is in amazing condition. The roof is 100% pristine. The only reconditioning needed here is one interior beam next to a door opening and floor boards located in the doorway openings.
The "wood loading" paint is in great shape in four places in the car. These will be saved when the siding is replaced.
So ends the first chapter in the acquistion and move of ET&WNC 434. She is now safely tucked away at the chapter's workshop in Oyama, NC, located halfway between Hickory and Conover.
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ET&WNC Boxcar 434
Alexander Chapter NRHS
On September 25, 2009, five members of the Alexander Chapter-NRHS traveled to Wall Township, NJ in order to bring a historic narrow gauge boxcar back to some of her original stomping grounds in North Carolina. Thanks to the generosity of the Pine Creek Railroad and the New Jersey Museum of Transportation, our chapter now has one of the very few remaining pieces of the East Tennessee & Western North Carolina Railroad.
In 2008, The NJMT agreed to deaccession to the car to our chapter based on our work on restoring our ex-Chester & Lenoir Narrow Gauge\Lawndale boxcar and the parallel plans of the North Carolina Narrow Gauge Museum. The first step of the restoration, the actual move of the car, was originally planned in October 2008, but various scheduling conflicts pushed us back almost a year.
Nevertheless, with the incredible help of the NJMT volunteers, a skilled crane operator, and a super truck driver, the boxcar was prepped, lifted, loaded, and taken to North Carolina. Stay tuned for ongoing updates of this historic car's restoration...
At right, structurally, the biggest concern we have is some significant rot in one of the side sills. Interestingly enough, this rotten section is a sill repair that was made by the railroad at some point. Note the lap joint. Considering that on our first boxcar project that we replaced two complete side sills, one complete end sill, and repaired one intermediate sill , this looks like some pretty light work by comparison! To say that we are *THRILLED* with the condition of this car would truly be an understatement.
In preparation to load the boxcar body onto the truck, we had to remove a *LOT* of hardware from underneath the car. Yes, it was a lot of work, but it is fantastic that so much hardware remains! The lag bolts were able to be loosened from the other metal parts for the most part, but weird angles and laying down across rails and crossties didn't make for the most comfortable environment. On the other hand, it was a beautiful day. It could have been raining!!!
A lot of manuevering on a narrow road behind the shop was required for the crane and the truck. Completely empty, the boxcar body weighed 10,200 pounds.
At the far left, a sled was made to support the ends of the car to the height of the needlebeams and was lubricated with Ivory Soap for easy sliding into the truck trailer. We could not have done this without the help of the NJMT volunteers, whom we are deeply grateful to for their assistance and generosity.
Can you say "Tight Fit"? Going into this project, we thought we would have about 6 inches on either side of the car and about 18 inches at the top. Well, we ended up with about THREE INCHES on the sides and THREE INCHES (if that) at the top.
Our crew started dismantling hardware around 10am, the truck arrived around 1:45, and we were loaded by 5pm. A hard day's work, but we made new friends, had a new boxcar, and had another eleven hour drive ahead of us!
Unloading the Car
On Friday, October 2, we were ready to unload the car. Six chapter members, along with some very much appreciated assistance from Huffman Housemovers, stood by ready to pull 434 from her very tight wrapper. On the photo at left, it was obvious the Ivory Soap still remained slippery, as the car had shifted about eight feet forward on her trip from NJ.
Below, George Ritchie eases the boxcar out of the trailer with the shop forklift.
The two photos to the left show how successul the forklift was at inching the car out of the trailer. It did not go without a hitch, unfortunately. First, the tow motor ran out of propane. Then, we ran the battery down trying to crank it before we realized what was wrong.
Hey, if it was easy, everybody could be doing this!
The photo above shows the success of removing the car from the trailer. Cribbing was set up under the car and it was jacked onto four industrial dollies situated under the needlebeams of the car.