This website was last updated: March 16, 2010
March 2010: The Western Maryland Scenic Railroad shop forces will start work soon on closing in the small hole on the side of the car. Work should be completed this spring.
April 2009: After a very full year of changing jobs, related training and being very busy with work I finally got back to do more work on St. Nicholas Mountain. The main thing I worked on this time was rebuilding the perimeter lights. A start was made in replacing the restaurant-added lights with (like-original) fluorescents. Another project started was removing layers of fabric, glue and paint of the original wainscoting panels and remaining part of the partition.
September 2008: Good friend Bob McCown donated an original Amtrak air conditioning condenser to the restoration of St. Nicholas Mountain. The condenser came of an original Amtrak Heritage car and the type is well known for its reliability. It will he hung on the car at the same location as the original condenser (which has gone missing). Mounting will have to wait until the large patch has been repaired though, as its location is right under the sag in the side sill. Its added weight would make that problem possibly greater.
April 2008: Another work session and one in which an important milestone has been reached: window replacement is finally complete! With the help of some good friends we finished rebuilding the windows. 26 windows have now received new 'glass' and the car looks so much better now. More importantly; no more water will be entering the walls through broken windows and old, cracked and missing gaskets!
January 2008: Great news! After 3 and one half years of ownership I have finally been able to get St. Nicholas Mountain moved from its original location. Basically she could not get moved until the previous owner and the connecting railroad cleared up some unresolved business, differences of opinion and claims back and forth between them. This has been partly accomplished now, and up to a point that St. Nicholas Mountain is no longer considered part of the issue. It took several months of intense contact with the railroad and its representatives to get a contract drawn up to move the car from its current location in Central Pennsylvania to the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad, but finally by the end of December all paperwork was in place to start the move.
On December 29, 2007 St. Nicholas Mountain got pulled out of the yard it resided in and was moved to the interchange with the connecting railroad. It sat there until January 2nd when she got picked up by the local servicing the area. It arrived in Hagerstown, MD the same night where it was held for the next train to Cumberland the following night. It got safely delivered to the WMSR interchange in Cumberland on the 4th of January where the WMSR crew quickly picked it up and took it to the shop down the road.
This is where St. Nicholas Mountain will undergo structural work. The WMSR shop forces will be taking care of the holes in the side of the car and of the one in the roof. I will keep going on replacing the rest of the windows and start on restoring the observation end of the lounge.
October 2007: Another, although brief, work session. Again the car is still at its original location. Word has it that the connecting railroad and the previous owner have reached an agreement and that St. Nicholas Mountain can be moved soon. Work continued on replacing windows.
May 2007: This month marked another work session, still at the car's original location as an agreement still hasn't been reached between the two parties mentioned below. Work continued on replacing windows and installing some missing hardware in the vestibule area. I also got to have fun riding St. Nicholas Mountain during a switch move which confirmed the car's reported smooth riding qualities.
April 2007: The expected move to the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad had to be postponed again due to unresolved issues between the previous owner and the connecting railroad. A solution will hopefully be on its way soon.
December 2006: The COT&S on St. Nicholas Mountain has been done and the car has been prepared for the move to the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad which will hopefully transpire in March.
October 2006: One of the vestibule door windows was replaced as well as the bathroom window. Part of the old restaurant booth was removed to gain access to the brake cabinet and the observation-end door. The door was opened up from being welded shut. The recessed and perimeter lights in the observation and lounge rooms was hooked up again to provide a temporary source of lighting. Old restaurant wall-covering at the bar room, radio locker and bathroom was removed revealing the old original walls.
August 2006: The AEI tags were reprogrammed and now match the RPCX 1291 reporting marks.
June 2006: Three more tall windows were replaced. St. Nicholas Mountain was re-stenciled to RPCX 1291, the number she'll be wearing from now on.
May 2006: Work started on replacing windows. The window in the obs-end door, broken and covered with a piece of plywood, was replaced as well as the brakeman's seat window and four tall windows. Another piece of plywood, covering the hole in the small patch, was replaced with steel for better security.
December 2005: Moving St. Nicholas Mountain out of her present storage location is proving to be more troublesome than initially expected. Apparently the connecting railroad has some issues stemming from the past that first need to be resolved before the car will be allowed to move. It has been decided that, once released, the car will first be moving to the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad shops to address the structural issues (holes). In light of this the COT&S and other preparation work will now be done at the present location instead of moving to another shop first which is located in the opposite direction of the WMSR shops.
September 2005: September marked another work session on St. Nicholas Mountain. It also marked a visit to the car by Amtrak inspector Steve Zuiderveen who gave St. Nicholas Mountain a general looking over. The hole in the roof was covered and the antenna secured. Rust on the sides was addressed. Inside the car the last part of the restaurant ceiling was removed. Original wainscoting was discovered underneath the restaurant applied fake leather.
May 2005: Work has progressed on St. Nicholas Mountain. Most of the car has now been sealed from the elements. Holes in the edge of the roof were sealed. The second folding step was made to operate. The Gyralite housing was sealed. The old patch repair was sealed again. Work has progressed nicely on patch-painting rusted areas on the car body. The move to a shop for getting the brake work done is still awaiting action from one of the involved railroads.
March 2005: St. Nicholas Mountain is getting closer to her first move. She will be moved to a local shop in Pennsylvania to get her brakes certified, locking center pins installed and some other minor work done to prepare her for the big move to Iowa.
October 2004: Work has been done on St. Nicholas Mountain to get her sealed up to prevent more water from getting in. Some clean up of the interior has been done and one of the drop steps has been made operational.
June 23, 2004: After careful thought and information gathering I decided to purchase St. Nicholas Mountain and to start on the journey to restore her to as-built (as much as possible) and operating condition with the hope to eventually operate her on Amtrak and the same train and route as she was built for.
May 2004: May marked the pre-sale inspection of St. Nicholas Mountain in which the car was looked over for serious defects and feasibility for restoration and use as a private railcar.
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