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Restoration Planning


The restoration and conversion of St. Nicholas Mountain will be done in five phases:


Phase I: Sealing all holes and leaks.

    To prevent further decay all holes and leaks will need to be sealed first. The "restaurant" holes were covered over with plate steel but still leak. These leaks will be sealed to prevent more water from entering the interior and sides. Some windows have been thrown-in and the gaskets are old and leaking and will be replaced. An old side-sheet repair has opened up at the edges and is admitting water into the side. This old repair will be re-sheathed or at least sealed for now. Being an ACF car the riveted roof has the common problem of corrosion at the eaves. Especially at the round-end the steel has rusted through in some locations. These spots will be sealed until permanent repairs can be made. A new vestibule door to the interior will also be installed as the original door is gone and a make-shift steel door is now covering the entrance. Paint touch up will also be done on the areas requiring so. 


Phase II: Rebuilding the sides and roof.

    When engineering has been prepared professional help will be enlisted to close up the holes and bring the correct camber back into the side. Depending on what will be allowed, the smaller holes might be done before that. The corroded lower edge of the roof will be fixed by replacing the lower edge of the steel sheathing where needed. At the end of this phase the car will be painted in original colors and lettered like it first appeared on the Great Northern with Empire Builder titles and the Great Northern name.


Phase III: Interior, air-conditioning, electrical and plumbing.

    The entire interior will be built up from scratch - save for the lounge ceiling and side walls which are still intact. Some items will be adapted for its future use as a Private Railcar. The radio locker, for instance, will be replaced with a shower. Care will be taken to disguise its new function as much as possible, to preserve its original look. Air-conditioning electrical and plumbing work will be done at the same time.


Phase IV: Details, details and more details.

    After the major construction work has been completed on the interior it's time for decorating and adding the original furnishings, furniture and details. The exterior will also be dressed-up by adding the missing outer observation room door and neon tail sign, and the car's original full length skirting.


Phase V: Amtrak conversion and certification.

    While not really a separate phase most of this work will come towards the end of the restoration. In all repairs and modifications an Amtrak certification will be kept in mind and everything will be done to conform to the requirements Amtrak sets for using private railcars on its trains. In this phase major items like 40-year truck rebuilds and inspections will be done as well as replacing the E-type coupler on the round end with the now required H-Titelock type (which is already installed on the vestibule end - this is the original configuration).



    This is the general plan of attack. Some items might need to be moved forward or back between phases as the need (or desire) to do so arises.


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