Copper Range #60 Restoration Journal

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Restoration of Copper Range #60 is now complete. The car was built as a second-class coach in 1903 by the American Car & Foundry Co. (AC&F), in Jeffersonville, Indiana. The #60 was a typical open-platform car of the period. It was one of six identical cars ordered by the then five-year old Copper Range Railroad under AC&F Lot No. 2504. The car has been restored to the 1944 to 1946 appearance, representing the final period of the railroad’s passenger service.

The oak interior was stripped down to the bare wood, bleached, filled, sanded, and restained. The stain is a “golden oak” color and has a gloss finish. Replacement ceiling panels were installed. The seat cushions were all completely upholstered in red plush (mohair). Each cushion cost over $500 to reupholster.

The exterior has been painted in the “Milwaukee Road” orange and maroon paint scheme that was adopted by the Copper Range Railroad. Mechanical work was performed to make the car operable for special occasions.

This was an all-volunteer effort that took three years to complete. To learn more about the work that went into the car, read about some of the work sessions and photos below. The car is now on display inside the museum’s Coach Shed.

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OPEN HOUSE, September 20, 2003

On September 20, 2003, Copper Range coach #60 was unveiled to the public during an Open House at the museum. Visitors were offered guided tours through the car while historical displays on the Copper Range Railroad and #60 were housed under a tent near the car. After the Open House, volunteers and donors for the Copper Range restoration rode in the car to Quartzite Lake with a requisite photo stop at Ulrich Road crossing in perfect late afternoon sun. Upon return to North Freedom, the special continued uptown where passengers disembarked and strolled down to the North Freedom fire station for dinner and a slide presentation on the Copper Range and #60. Hats off to Bill Buhmaster and his crew of 40 volunteers for a wonderful restoration job on #60 and an enjoyable day! Click on the photos for larger images. All photos on this page by Paul Swanson.

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October 2002 Work Session

all photos on this page by Bill Buhrmaster

In September and October volunteers held three work sessions on the Copper Range 60 coach. Through these efforts, the restoration project is much closer to completion. During the fall work sessions, all of the doors and windows were reinstalled in the car. At the same time, the seat frames were being rebuilt and painted brown, to match the floor. In subsequent weekends, the seat frames, arm rests and cushions were installed. By the end of October, brass window and door hardware was being installed along with the window curtains. Volunteers participating in the fall work sessions included:

Pete Becker, Ken Breher, Daryl Gasser, Judy Gasser, Mike Harrington, Jeff Haertlein, Roger Hugg, Jerry Mennenga, Carol Mennenga, Randy Merzdorf, Larry Myers, Jim Neubauer and Matt Theroux.

The car restoration is largely complete, with the exception of painting the underframe, trucks and platforms, as well as installing the coach lamps and baggage racks. The balance of restoration work is scheduled to be competed by May 2003, at which time the car will be placed on display in the Coach Shed.

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October 2001 Work Session

All photos on this page by Bill Buhrmaster except as noted

Good progress has been made on the Copper Range #60 restoration coach in 2001. Recent efforts saw volunteers working on completing several projects in the interior of the car. In September 2001, the last of the new headlining panels was installed. With the headliners complete, the electric wiring and lights were reinstalled. More recently, all of the interior oak woodwork was given a sanding prior to applying the final coat of varnish. The upholstering of the seats is also progressing well. All of the old cushions have been stripped and now there are 16 cushions remaining to be upholstered.

Volunteers who have helped to make all of this recent progress possible are: Pete Becker, Ken Breher, Dean Sauvola, Jerry Mennenga, Carol Mennenga, Don Ginter, Paul Swanson, Matt Theroux, Darryl Gasser, Judy Gasser, Sandra Hamlet, Jim Neubauer, Randy Merzdorf, Jeff Haertlein, Mike Harrington, Ed Johnson, Ray Buhrmaster, and Bill Buhrmaster.

Over the 2001-2002 winter months, efforts will turn toward reinstalling window sashes and clerestory windows. By Summer 2002, reinstallation of the seat frames and hardware will begin. The ultimate project goal is to complete restoration by the Fall of 2002. A significant portion of the work planned for 2002 is being funded through a donation from the Mathews Foundation, of St. Louis, Missouri. On July 12, 2001, the Mathews Foundation awarded the Mid-Continent Railway Museum a $10,000 contribution to support the restoration of the Copper Range coach.

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October 2000 Work Session

all photos on this page by Paul Swanson

The weekend of October 14-15, 2000, another work session was held down at the Car Shop. 14 volunteers put in over 200 hours completing several projects on the Copper Range #60. Work completed included:

  • Installation of new ceiling panels
  • Installation of south end platform railings and steps
  • Woodwork stained/varnished inside the two saloons
  • The two end doors were sanded and painted
  • Ceiling wood trim was sanded and stained
  • Clearstory headliner panels were painted
  • Floor repairs were sanded
  • Letterboard lettered “Copper Range” on both sides