Project Description

The car will be restored as close as possible to the appearance after the 1957 shopping.
The car arrived with the fluting removed from the left or east side. This is to be replaced.
The dome has one lower row of windows missing on the left or east side. These will be replaced.

The functional systems on the car will be addressed as a first priority. The air conditioning and water raising systems will be repaired. The air brake system was rebuilt prior to shipment of the car from Nashville. The electrical systems are to be checked out and made functional as expertise is available or in conjunction with interior priority list.

Conceptually the work will begin with the interior. As often as possible projects will be done in parallel utilizing our available volunteer labor pool.

Interior priorities:

Mens bathroom
Ladies bathroom
Hallway at bathroom end of car
Turquoise room
Main lounge
Downstairs lounge

Exterior priorities:

Fluting on east side installed
Dome glass
Name boards and number boards replaced.
Stripping excess paint from sides and ends of car including end doors
Undercar cleaning
Under car and truck painting

June 9, 2011

We have restored the original look of the car with the addition of the long wire antenna on each end of the dome. Andy Szabo rebuilt the mounting stanchions and Kenny Rhoads built the fake antenna out of PVC. The air conditioning system failed to cool when it was turned on for the Santa Fe convention event. Had Paul Mickel do a cursory check and the Freon levels look O.K. and the compressor runs. It appears that one or more of the thermal expansion valves (TXV) has failed. These are located in the overhead compartment inside the car near the evaporator. Paul will provide us with a quote for repairs. The dome cover has been put in place. We tied it down with nylon rope and bungee cords to make it easier to remove and replace.

March 10, 2011

Jerry Tedrow completed the installation of the window sills in the lower portion of the car. Rudy Morgenfruh wired the blower fans and the heat / cool switch to the exterior panel. These controls are now useable without having to open the electrical locker door. Bart supplied and installed a pilot light panel for the HVAC system. Rudy wired it and we now have visual indication on the status of the HVAC system. Rudy also continued removal of non used wiring from the electrical locker.

February 10, 2011

Jerry Tedrow fabricated window sills for the east side of the main lounge and the desk window. Jane Barton applied 6 coats of Tung oil with a steel wool rub after each 2 applications. When finished they were installed.

January 13, 2011

Rudy Morgenfruh was in town and continued to strip old, non used wiring out of the electrical locker. Jane has completed painting of the dome and stairwell areas. Jerry Tedrow has made new window sills for the main lounge and hallway on the west side of the car. Jerry will make the rest of the sills in the coming weeks. Hal Whitehead is working on cleaning the duct work and the spot lights in the main lounge. I made contact with the curator of the Santa Fe art collection. Sally King confirmed that they have a turquoise Room logo necklace in the collection. She will have it photographed in high resolution and send us the digital file.

December 8, 2010

The lighting in the dome area has been repaired. All of the tubes were removed, the cans cleaned and repainted; the lenses cleaned and replaced. The emergency lights were replaced and the fluorescent tubes replaced. The swivel parlor chair seats have been bolted in place. The window framing and portions of the ceiling have been painted by Jane. Andy Szabo provided stainless steel cover plates for the ash tray slots in the dome parlor chairs. They have been installed. We also have the covers for the bench seat when the time comes. Ken Dickinson and Art Bliss repaired the center window on the west side of the main lounge. It had a leak and after disassembly it was discovered the entire lower mounting steel had rusted away. The steel was replaced and a new shim installed, then the window was bolted back in place. Jerry Tedrow is continuing to work on the window sills for the hallway and the main lounge.

September 2, 2010

Jane completed the upholstery work on the couch donated earlier this year. Jerry Tedrow has measured the main lounge to build the cabinet for the end wall on both sides of the door. He will also pick up the materials for the new window sills in the main lounge and hallway. Craig has the material for the dome window framing and the window sills.

August 22, 2010   Project Photos 8-2010

In February Kenny Rhoads and Bart drove to Salinas and picked up some parts from the ATSF 503 donated by Wayne Yetter. Acquired the magazine rack / table to be used to repair the formica covering on ours. Also picked up replacement toilets, electrical parts, speakers for the lower lounge, stainless steel shrouds and 3 pieces of dome window glass. Jeff Crosby has taken the doors from the back bar to a stainless steel shop to have them repaired.

Duplex outlets have been installed in the dome and on the rear wall of the bar. The low voltage problem has been solved. The car was wired for 208 volt operation resulting in only 104 volts available at the wall sockets. Found that the transformer had taps available to change this. We now have 236 volts and 118 volts in the electrical locker. Rudy has started removal of the old Frigidaire air conditioning system wiring and the control wiring for the missing diesel generator. Getting these out will give us the room we will need should we ever find another generator. The electrical locker is looking much better. Hal has started scraping the interior edges of the dome windows in preparation for painting. In March the magazine rack / table had all of the missing Formica pieces replaced from the table supplied by Wayne Yetter.

The duplex outlets in main lounge have been reworked and are now fused. Wiring for external switches to control the lighting in hallway, dome step lights, dome ceiling, main lounge ceiling and Turquoise room have been installed on the dome stairwell wall. More of the old unused wiring in the electrical locker has been removed. A transformer for the 32 volt low voltage lighting was installed and wired. The battery charger will be removed. A phase detector has been installed in the electrical locker. This will enable instant identification of improper phasing to prevent burning out the air conditioning compressors and running the fans backwards. One of the toilets donated by Wayne Yetter has been installed in the bathroom and it is functional. It dumps to the ground so a holding tank will be addressed soon. Jane completed the upholstery work on seven of the revolving seats in the dome.

In May we removed additional non functional wiring from the electrical locker. Added contactors with overloads for the blower fan circuit. These are currently wired direct to the circuit breaker. Works O.K. in RR service when the car never gets shut off. We need the ability to shut down the heat or Air conditioning without using the breakers. When this is wired in we will also add the function of the compressor or heaters to not turn on if the blower fans are not running. In late may we put a tarp on to cover the dome. Single 12 X 20 (reused from last year) over the middle of the dome and a 20 X 30 over that one and the rest of the dome area. The refrigerator condenser blower fan started acting weird. To repair a small hole was drilled in rear bearing cap for a lubrication point and added oil to wick. It now seems to be working much better. Rudy traced the circuits for the 5 switches at the lower lounge level bar. Only 2 switches were doing anything and this did not seem correct. Found that over time a number of circuits were wired together or that switches had gone bad. All is now repaired and all 5 switches are working mechanically and have a function. Jeff Crosby had the back bar doors repaired and has reinstalled them.

Our fix did not work so we replaced the condenser fan motor on the refrigerators. The original motor had sealed lubrication that finally gave up after 60 years. Motor was replaced with exact same type motor. Have obtained a small cutting board for the bar. The original brackets were still in place allowing us to provide the correct size replacement. Jane has started work on the couch we brought home from California. She plans to have it completed and in the car prior to September opening.

Jim Stephenson of Houston Texas, a former owner of the 504, donated 2 left hand door locks / handles and one push plate for the car. Left hand door hardware is very difficult to find as not many car were built this way. Bart picked them up on his trip through Texas. Bart installed the handles on both doors and the push plate on the main lounge end. Jane is working the upholstery for a chair and couch for the main lounge. The fan motors on the evaporators stopped functioning. The bearings were not good. Have removed the fans and are sourcing replacements.

December 21, 2009

The new carpeting has been installed. With the carpet complete the original style furniture for the main lounge has been moved from the Regal Phoenix to the dome car. Craig Shields found the lounge table stored in the Santa Fe refrigerator car. It has been cleaned and placed in the dome’s main lounge. Hal Whitehead and Ken Dickenson have installed foam insulation board and the hard board walls in the dome. New corner trims pieces and trim for the bench seat ramps have been installed. The sound system circuits were traced and the system put in working order. Craig Shields provided replacement transformers that were formerly in the Denehotso. This was fortunate as they are exactly the same as those that were in the dome car. Hal and Bart donated a tuner amplifier for the car and a set of speakers for the lower lounge. Rudy Morgenfruh was in town and did some investigation on the electrical system. All of the junction boxes under the car have been identified and marked. The Santa Fe lettering has been replaced over the window band and the car name “Plaza Taos” has been placed on the side of the car. Jeff Crosby provided new ballast for the cabinet lighting behind the bar and Rudy installed them. The remainder of the dome glass has been relocated to the shipping box outside the car on the power pedestal. The bathrooms have been cleaned up and the west side being designated as the storage/supply room. The east side will have the toilet replaced. A replica Turquoise Room logo was donated by Dr. Nick Muff. George Barker has purchased the materials to replicate three chairs for the lower lounge. Jane Barton is doing prep work for painting in the dome area. Jeff Crosby replaced a defective ballast in one of the main lounge ceiling fixtures. All of these lights are now in working order. Jeff also repaired the bar cabinet lighting. November 18 signaled the official start of fall in Arizona. This was determined due to the day Hal removed the tarp from the dome. Rudy Morgenfruh worked on the electrical and we now have working heat. A new door closure was installed on the main lounge door. The door no longer slams shut. The end window in this door has also been replaced. Phoenix Metalcraft fabricated trim pieces for the door frames on both ends. The plastic covers for the Sand Paintings have been installed. Jeff Crosby rebuilt the light fixture for the Turquoise Room sign, also donated by Dr. Muff, and installed it. The north door has been equipped with a dead bolt for security.

July 17, 2009

In May Hal Whitehead started stripping the lower lounge area removing the Amtrak modifications. All of the swivel chair furniture was moved to the Santa Fe boxcar for future installation in the Regal Phoenix. Jane Barton did the sanding and Bondo work then painted both the primer and finish coats. Craig Shields fabricated and installed a new front for the bar. The pieces of original lounge furniture we have were then moved to the lower lounge. George Barker is going to manufacture 3 additional chairs matching those we have. This will complete the seating in this area. Marge Mahoney, of the Kokopelli Questors, presented the museum with a check in the amount of $ 2,000.00 to be used for carpet in the Turquoise Room and Lower lounge. We hope to do the hallway at the same time. Ken Dickinson and Art Bliss are installing the dome windows. By the end of the month all of the windows were replaced and the dome covered with a tarp.

In June the lower lounge and bar area were been painted. The curtains have been made and installed in the Turquoise room, lower lounge and main lounge. New window sills were made for the lower lounge and Turquoise Room. Temporary tables have been placed in the lower lounge. One has a lamp and the other will have a matching lamp when Bart gets home again. Jeff Crosby replaced the lighting on the front side of the bar. George Barker is going to replicate 3 chairs for the lower lounge. When completed we will have a full compliment of furniture for this room.

March 10, 2009

Ken Dickinson and Art Bliss have completed the installation of the name board on the east side of the car and are working on the installation of the fluting end caps. Mark Hendrickson installed the cold air return grill and is working on replacement of the floor trim in the bathrooms. Hal Whitehead has installed the radiator grills in the hallway, main lounge and Turquoise room. A grant was submitted through the Kokopelli Questers group for funds to replace the carpet in the Turquoise room and the lower lounge. Jane Barton painted the walls in the main lounge.

March 5, 2009

Hal Whitehead has installed the trim pieces in the main lounge and the turquoise room. Jane Barton did the bondo work and has painted the hallway and the turquoise room. Nighthawk Restaurant supplied the missing table for the dining room and the bottle canisters for the sink area. The rain we had in mid December allowed the discovery of a serious leak in one of the lounge windows. Ken Dickinson and Hal Whitehead removed the window and found it had been leaking for a long time. The majority of the sill and window mount had rusted away. It was cleaned and new steel welded in place; then the window was re-installed. The sinks have been installed in both bathrooms and leak tested. The first test showed a major leak in the west bathroom. Everything was removed and it was discovered the water line to the toilet had been cut off with no cap or valve. A cap was soldered in place and the water system tested again with good results. On January 17th a major work party was organized by Hal Whitehead to install the large pieces of fluting on the east side of the car. Follow up work to install the cap pieces is continuing on both sides of the car. James Carpi provided replacement ballast for the lights in the turquoise room and Joe Padberg installed it. All of the lights are now working. Ken Dickinson made a trip to Nashville and picked up the sand paintings for the end of the main lounge. He has secured these at his son’s home and will transport them to the museum on his next trip. The tarp has been removed from the dome for the winter. Once it was off Kenny Rhoads went up on the roof and cleaned the dome windows. Phoenix Metalcraft provided the trim pieces for the main lounge; Hal has installed them and Jane is doing the prep work to paint the lounge.

October 16, 2008   Project Photos 10-2008

The steel flooring at the bathroom end of the car has been replaced. It was then covered with cement board and the seams filled. The linoleum has been purchased and is next to be installed. The Turquoise room has been painted and looks fantastic. The fluted trim molding over the windows has been replaced. This was missing but the museum had enough in stores to fit the need. We contacted Wayne Yetter, who owns the 503, about some of the items we found in the car but could not determine where they went. He was able to provide a lot of information. In addition he offered to give us the items he removed from the 503 when it was rebuilt as a private car. Stan Garner brought some items as far as Winslow on the Pony Express and Mike Salwitz offered to deliver them to the museum from Winslow. Work continues on stripping the glue off the walls where carpet and paneling had been. Phoenix Metalcraft fabricated new trim pieces for the walls and the hallway ceiling.

September 17, 2008   Project Photos 9-2008 

Hal Whitehead continues to make great progress on the dome car. One tarp had to be replaced after the high winds of late August. It is hoped that the remaining tarps will last until Thanksgiving when it will be cool enough to remove them for work on the dome windows. Ken Dickinson has started the process of sourcing the 3 different gaskets required for installation. The dome glass has been moved from the main lounge to the dome. The bathrooms and entry area at the north end have had the flooring repaired. Hal was able to source additional corrugated material through Amber steel. After replacing the steel flooring it was covered with wonderboard. Next will be the application of the floor leveling material. With help from Richard Poyer and Jerry McGonigle the lower pivot pin on the end door has been rebuilt and installed. This door now works wonderfully. The nut plates for the handholds on the east side of the car were welded in place by Richard Poyer. This enabled the last piece of interior wall in the main lounge to be installed. It also should be the last thing required on the exterior before the fluting can be replaced. The Turquoise Room, Main Lounge and Parts of the Hallway have been stripped of carpet glue, sanded and primer painted. The paint for the Turquoise Room was matched and sourced. The window wall has been painted. Jerry McGonigle has a list of drawings to look for when he is in Chicago. The passageway lighting circuit was repaired and 3 broken sockets for the floor lighting replaced. Jane Barton cleaned the carpet in the main lounge area. A new product has been added to list of cleaning supplies. “Whink” rust remover for carpet and upholstery works. Many of the carpet stains are gone. Jeff Crosby is sourcing replacement fluorescent ballast for the lights that do not work in the turquoise room and main lounge.

August 9, 2008

Hal Whitehead has been making great progress on the dome car. Prior to the start of summer the dome area was tarped to protect it from the weather and also serves to keep the car cooler. The bathrooms and entry area at the north end are under repair. The floors were in terrible shape. All the old material has been removed. The new floor panels have been ordered from Amber Steel. The duplex outlets in the main lounge have been wired and are working. Hal has started stripping the adhesive from the wall in the Turquoise Room. A project list has been established and is posted in the main lounge of the car. Jerry McGonigle is going to search the drawing files at the Illinois Railway Museum for the supplemental spec referenced in the spec we have. Craig Shields, Hal Whitehead, Kenny Rhoads and Jane Barton built and painted a set of steps for the south end of the car. This has made access much better.
Photo of car s delivered to ARM.