Edmundston Blog: Summer 2018

Edmundston Blog: Summer 2018

aka “The Saga of Roomette no. 6 (and no. 10 too)”

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As with all projects, there comes a time when things just don’t go as smoothly as planned. Let us introduce Roomette no. 6. Not that there’s anything inherently wrong with the roomette or that number, but rather the floor underneath it. And the roof above it. And the walls surrounding it.

You’ll have noted that in the past blog posts, we mentioned a roof leak problem. That roof leak has manifested itself into floor problems because it’s been such a constant issue, and likely one for a long time. On top of that, in typical 1950’s Pullman design, all of the exit chutes for the toilets went straight to the trackbed as well as the truck. That unfortunate spray has resulted in a substantial amount of acid corrosion primarily on the B-end of Edmundston, but also on the A-end. A lot of the damage on the B-end of the car happens to be under – you guessed it – Roomette no. 6.

So over this summer, which we could really just call “The Summer of Roomette no. 6”, a lot of work has been done surrounding that area of Edmundston. Here’s a full overview of what went down these past few months.

21 June 2018 – Window work in no. 6

Nothing like getting the summer off to a comfortable start with a full treatment, cleaning and finishing of the window in Roomette no. 6. The entire window frame was treated with anti-corrosion spray, new gaskets and new glass installed, and the end result is a great view of trackside. There’s a two-part video made by Chris on the entire process. Popcorn and a notepad are advised for watching.

The restored and installed window for Roomette no. 6

28 June 2018 – Housekeeping in no. 6

With attention shifting to the inside of the roomette, we needed to remove some of the interior furnishings. For those that have never seen the inner workings of a duplex sleeper before, there are two types of roomettes: Upper and Lower, with our beloved Roomette 6 being the later. For the lower roomettes, the bed slides on a tray underneath the upper roomette beside it. However in the upper roomettes, the bed folds down from the end wall – Murphy (bed) style.

A cleaned out Roomette no. 6 is shown as viewed from the bench seat (left) and the corridor (right). Notice the tray (sans mattress) where the bed slides out of the way under the adjacent upper roomette.

9 July 2018 – Fixing up the floor under no. 6

The day was spent cleaning the utility trough and cleaning the floor.  Much to the dismay of purists (aka Jason), the steam pipes are going to be removed since they won’t be used any more. Following that the floor and trough with be prepped and painted the same taupe colour it was previously (They say taupe is a very soothing colour). The covers will then be cleaned and painted black and all the wood will be replaced with cedar because of its resistant to water and moisture. And that will all be topped off with reinstalling the carpet.

A view of Roomette no. 6 with the carpeting removed. The view on the right shows the utility trough in more detail, including the steam lines used for heating the car.

9 July 2018 (continued) – Problems under no. 10

Whilst taking the window out of Roomette no. 10, it was discovered that the floor sloped down towards the wall. That’s not good at all. Upon further investigation – after removing the carpet and the steam heater tough covers – this is what I found. To quote our wonderful car whisperer Chris Fox, “You could fill a Mr. Turtle pool with the water in the insulation!”

A view of Roomette no. 10 from the corridor with the raised floor removed.

We’re going to go back and remove the 150 lbs of extra weight from Rm. 6 as well. So on the left- and right-hand side of the car, there is a utility trough for the steam pipes that runs the entire length of the car. Great for wiring our new electric heaters in the future but very, very bad for holding moisture and soaked insulation.

The inside of the utility trough with the completely soaked insulation. This all has to come out and be replaced.

And to quote our humble leader Mr. Shron … “ewwwww, yucky!”

27 August 2018 – Finders keepers under no. 8

Just like when cleaning out a chesterfield (sofa), you’re bound to find some surprises. Usually it’s only a few loose coins. Well, imagine that sofa is a railway car that once had occupants. Well, that’s exactly what happened when Chris Fox was removing the flooring and carpet in the area of Roomette 6 under Roomette 8 in order to inspect (and remove) some bad insulation in the utility trough.

Chris Fox’s treasure includes (counter-clockwise from top): A coat hanger, a Canadian dime, a bingo chip, and half a risqué French magazine (we can’t show the other pages because they show off way too much)

28 August 2018 – Further fun under no. 6 and no. 8

Another day, another adventure into the subfloors. This time thankfully offered no huge surprises. Just kidding … we had surprises and not the good kind either (see above).

Two views that you don’t see too often (or ever for that matter). Left: Looking along the floor of Roomette 6 from under Roomette 8 where the bed is normally stowed. Right: A mouses view of the corridor through the vent underneath the step of a roomette.

After some exploring through the catacombs of Edmundston, Chris Fox proceeded to remove the bad insulation from the utility troughs, remove the steam lines, and prep the trough for installation of wiring for our new electric heaters. Unfortunately he discovered that the sub floor of the utility troughs were completely rotted out from the collection of water and moisture. He had to cut out the floor completely and prepare it for replacement. This all has to be done before any new wiring can proceed.

The view on the left was achieved after Chris removed the flooring in order to replace the trough subfloor. Yup, that’s the truck and ballast below. On the right is the waste chute from Roomette 8 – in excellent shape overall – so no need to do any work here even though the chutes will be sealed and no longer used.

30 August 2018 – The sky is falling!

Another day and more (mis)adventures for our restoration efforts. Once again, the culprit is Roomette no. 6. While Chris was working under the car around the truck at the B-end, something … happened.

The underframe of Edmundston over the truck on the B-end. Notice something missing?

To our restoration expert Chris, it may have seemed like the sky was falling. It was actually the floor under Roomette 6. Yup, the whole sheet metal floor. Thankfully this is why Chris (and everyone who works on the Rapido fleet) practices safety and use protective equipment.

The floor section that fell out from under Roomette 6. While it doesn’t look too bad on the left, on the right you can see all the rust that came from the underframe. The sheet was literally riveted to the rust, so when the rust gave way, the whole plate did too.

However unfortunate this turn of events may be, it’s actually a blessing. This has redirected the focus of restoration to the underfloor to correct any inherent problems with the underbody before we shift our focus back to the interior. But in order to fix this specific problem, we need to drop the truck out from under the car in order to gain unobstructed access and the space needed to enact repairs.

It just so happens that VIA Rail’s Toronto Maintenance Centre (where the Rapido fleet currently lives) has a drop table, just such a place for us to perform the work. However, it’ll be out of service later this year for replacement, so the need is critical to get Edmundston in for repairs while we have an open window. But that’s for another blog post.

Note: There were no Chris Fox’s injured during the making of this blog post. At least not seriously anyway.


Further work continues on Edmundston to get it finished and ready for “company” service. Any assistance that you can provide is greatly appreciated. Click below to donate to our restoration efforts, or contact us if you can provide any other assistance.

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