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The following day I drove to Empire-

Becks Recycling Solutions with my friend Luther Brefo to talk with the owners about the possibility of acquisition. In hand we had our restoration plan for the caboose, a box of doughnuts, and some coffee. We were hoping for the best, but expecting the worst. Much to our surprise, scrap yard owners Matt Eckdahl and Brad Cook were extreme- ly interested in working with us to save the car. It was determined that we could pur- chase the caboose for what the scrap yard had invested in it. Unfortunately, the new price would be a firm $8000, more than twice as much as we had originally raised. We were also given roughly two months to remove the caboose from the scrap yard. With this information, we headed back to the museum to regroup. After some careful number crunching, we determined that we would need to raise roughly $12,000 to purchase the caboose and move it to the museum. It seemed like a long shot, but we decided to give it our best. Organization was our key to success. As project manager, I assigned tasks to var- ious museum members, ranging from solic- iting donations to arranging trucking and crane services. To raise the money we needed, we used

every available resource in our arsenal. We made daily postings to our Facebook fan page as well as our blog and web site to en- courage donations. Several members posted on some of the more active internet discus- sion boards and mailing lists in an effort to raise awareness about our project. We also reached out to other like-minded historical societies and museum organizations for as- sistance. Thanks to our efforts and generos- ity of our donors, we were able to raise more than $12,000 in only two weeks. We were able to meet our obligation to the scrap yard, and earn their trust at the same time. In the grand scheme of things, raising money was the easy part. The next challenge was figur- ing out how to actually get the caboose safe- ly to the museum. We had two options for moving the ca-

boose. The first was to set the caboose body on its trucks, and then onto a special roll-off trailer for rail cars. This would require a crane at the scrap yard, but not at the mu- seum. Upon arrival, it could be rolled right off onto the museum’s tracks. The second op- tion was to bring the caboose body and its trucks to the museum in two separate moves. The caboose was already off its trucks, so this could be easily accomplished. Given the expense of the special roll-off and a five-hour minimum with the crane, we de- cided to go with the second. The museum and the scrap yard are only separated by 30 miles, so the crane could follow the truck to the museum and unload the caboose from the trailer in a reasonable amount of time. This turned out to be the cheaper option by several hundred dollars. On October 15, we arranged to have the

trucks moved to our museum, with the move graciously donated by volunteer Chad Tim- othy’s employer, Liberty Underground of Rochester, N.Y. Upon delivery, the trucks were thoroughly inspected and all the jour- nal brasses were removed and carefully ex- amined. Fortunately, we found everything in good condition, thanks in part to a recon- ditioning by Conrail in the 1970s. The day of the caboose move was nerve wracking, yet rewarding. On Saturday Oc-

tober 29, the crane arrived at the scrap yard first to set up. Klug Crane Service of Canandaigua was our contractor for the crane and rigging service. We had the truck and lowboy trailer (from WJW Associates of Medina, N.Y.) arrive about a half hour later to accept the load. This gave the crane op- erator time to set up and reduced the down time of the truck. Thanks to some recent rain, the scrap yard was a soupy, muddy mess, but it really didn’t affect the crane lift or the loading of the trailer. Once the ca- boose was set into place, it was anchored to the trailer with chain binders. The trailer was decorated with orange flags and “Over- size Load” signs, and we were ready to go. The road trip down to the museum went

without a hitch. It was a strange sight to fol- low a caboose down the road, and at the same time we were excited and extremely satisfied that we actually were able to pull it off! I was relieved when the truck pulled in- to the museum, and even more relieved when the caboose was set back on its trucks. For the first time since 2005, Lehigh Valley 95110 was whole again! Our story does not end here, however.

The next couple of weeks were spent getting the caboose road worthy so it could be safely moved into the restoration shop. The con- ductor’s valves at both ends of the caboose had been removed long ago, which allowed rain to get into the air system. Unfortunate- ly, the water made its way into the brake cylinder, valves and reservoirs. We thor- oughly cleaned the system out, rebuilt the brake cylinder, and swapped out the valves. Using a Schramm air compressor, we charged the system with air to 90 p.s.i. and checked for leaks. Finally, the moment of truth: We made a 10 p.s.i. reduction in the train line and the brakes applied! On January 15, 2012, LV 95100 made its

first rail journey in many years when it was moved into the restoration shop at the R&GVRRM. Now work can begin in earnest as we take steps towards repair and restora- tion. Aside from the obvious signs of wear and rust that need to be repaired, we will al- so fabricate many new components. New end steps will have to be made, as the origi- nals were lost some years ago. Mark Wilczeck, one of our newest volunteers, is a carpenter and contractor by trade. He has been advising us on the restoration of the ca- boose’s wooden interior, including investi- gating the use of reclaimed materials for some of the work. Long-time volunteer Chris Hauf has become our go-to man when it comes to paint and color finishes. Having just completed the beautiful paint finishing of our Rochester Gas & Electric General Electric 45-ton switcher (see LINESIDE LEGA- CY in the January 2011 issue), Chris has al- ready started research on proper interior and exterior colors for our caboose. If one lesson could be taken away from

this experience, it would be, “Don’t wait, do it now!” One person can’t do it alone. Get a group organized! It also helps to have a sol- id restoration plan in place with realistic fundraising benchmarks, to ensure that your rescued artifact does not become an- other rusty derelict. Everyone at the museum is excited about

this new project, and we hope to carry that momentum throughout the year. For more information, and to learn how you can con- tribute towards the restoration, please visit


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