Thursday, July 9, 2009

Welcome to the weblog of the SN 1005 restoration, a project of the Bay Area Electric Railroad Association.

Sacramento Northern 1005 is an electric interurban car, one of the first acquired by the Association. It is a sentimental favorite among members, as it was prominently used in railfan excursions on the Key System and Sacramento Northern in the early days of the Association.

The car was stored in Oakland, but many of the excursions were in distant areas. This meant 1005 rode a lot of freight trains getting there. The 1005 is more fragile than a freight car, even though its couplers and brakes are compatible. This led to incidents of damage. The most severe was in 1962, when the center sills were badly bent. The Western Pacific Railroad moved it to their shop for repair, but after long study, considered the car too far gone.

Enter car 1020, another excursion regular. 1020 had been built as a trailer and converted to a motor. During a fan excursion in the 1950s, its electrical gear caught fire,and it was converted back to a trailer. The railroad offered both 1005 and 1020 in settlement for 1005's damage, with the notion that museum volunteers could strip the electrical gear from 1005 to remotor 1020.

The Association did not do that. 1020 remains a trailer. 1005 was used in limited fashion despite its damage.

And here, the phoenix story begins. In 1999, the Elliot R. Donnelley Family Trust offered $75,000 to restore 1005, and work began in earnest. The damaged frame sections were replaced. Restoration expert Glenn Guerra was brought on board. Virtually all of the woodwork below the ceiling was replaced. Windows, seats, mechanical and electrical work continues to this day. About $250,000 and 20,000 man-hours have gone into the project.

Most of the work is now done. The project is in its finishing stages. There are still a lot of interesting things going on, though. This weblog aims to document some of them.

Above is a picture of the car as of July 5, 2008.

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