MLS&W Restoration Report #8
December 2002

by Don Ginter, Curator, ©2002 MCRHS

OCTOBER 1, 2002 was chosen as Media Day for the Milwaukee, Lake Shore & Western #63 coach, this was a day when both member photographers and state media journalists were invited to photograph the car in all its now-brilliant Victorian colors and completed status. It would be the first time the coach was outside for photography since restoration began two years ago.

However, in order to organize a Media Day, preparations had to start early and a date chosen for the event. Once scheduled, all that was needed was to complete the restoration of the coach. Sounds simple enough, but ask our contractor—Glenn was extremely busy the month of September working through many of the weekends. Following are a few of the many tasks completed prior to Media day.

The stenciled clerestory and head lining panels had been installed earlier. Staining and applying several coats of varnish on all the interior cherry woodwork could now begin. Following this, the hardware for the clerestory windows was installed and then the previously custom fit clerestory windows could be muscled into place. The floor was cleaned and several coats of metallic red color paint were applied, matching the original floor color determined earlier. With the floor now painted, the coal stove at each end of the coach was moved into place and all 25 seat frames moved in. Installation of the seats was a two-step process; first the bottom cushion frames were located and fastened to the floor and side wall. Then, due to the early design of reversing the seat back cushions, these cushions were separately secured by back support castings that were mounted to, and pivoted about, the inside center of the aisle arm rest and side wall under each window. Both saloon doors and end doors were hung and brass hardware polished and applied to the doors and windows. Eight intricately cast brass baggage racks were properly positioned along the walls above the windows. The last restoration activity before the October 1 Media Day event was the painting of the trucks, completed a day prior to the roll-out. The green paint applied to the trucks had many of us questioning the selection of this color; however, it had been verified from two other Barney & Smith coaches built near the same time period as ours.

Media day dawned partially sunny, but more importantly not raining and the operating crew were on duty early. The south yard was cleared, then the Lake Shore coach carefully extracted from its restoration spot for the last two years in the Car Shop, and off to Ulrich Road Crossing for new builders photos. The trip up the hill proved the working capability of the adapter plate designed to Lake Shore’s Miller hook coupler to the modern Janney coupler of our diesel locomotive for the day.

The morning session of the media event was set up allowing museum member photographers to take all the photos required for future museum publication use. The low early morning light made for some excellent builders (or in our case, restorers) photos, and certainly highlighted the green trucks. After an hour or more of photography at Summit, the coach was moved back down the hill and located at our depot for more photos. The afternoon media session was for the statewide journalists. To enhance their stories, Glenn, Don Ginter, and Forrest Van Schwartz were available for interviews. Also, arrangements had been made to have many of the subcontractors available to add local interest to their articles. Within the following weeks, articles appeared in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, The Capital Times, The Plymouth Review, Janesville Gazette, Baraboo News Republic, Portage Daily Register, Wisconsin Dells Events, Reedsburg Times, Tri-County News, Chilton Times Journal, and Juneau County Star Times. Wisconsin Trails also had a reporter in attendance and it is hoped that a spring story will appear in their magazine. The press kit, made up for the Media Day journalists along with our website address for photographs, has been sent out to many national media publications.At the end of the day, the feeling was that the museum received some very excellent publicity from Media Day.

The coach was then returned to its spot in the Car Shop. We did not quite finish our job before Media Day. Some minor additional restoration detail work will be completed before next year when the coach will go on public display. A formal celebration of the restored coach is now being planned for Friday, June 27, 2003, with a general grand showing scheduled for the following day, Saturday, June 28.


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Tom Jeffris (right), with Glenn Guerra, project manager. Tom is president of the Jeffris Foundation, #63's major benefactor.



For more photos of Media Day, click here.