Friday, December 16, 2011

Route 66 railroad exhibit

Jordan and I were out doing some Christmas shopping earlier this week. We found some gifts for mom and daughter, but while we were out, I decided to stop to show him this old locomotive that had been quietly rusting away in the rail yard here in Owasso. It's being restored at a site west of Tulsa near Red Fork along with an old Pullman car, a tanker, and a caboose. Eventually the site will be a transportation museum.

It will take a lot of time and money to fully restore this Pullman. It was damaged when an adjoining car was set afire by vandals, and time has not been kind. This is the kitchen. It's roughly the size of my daughter's closet, big enough for two people to stand if they're careful with knives and elbows.

This was the dining area. Small tables and chaired lined either side, and that area at the back was the sun room. All the windows were broken by vandals. They're covered temporarily with plywood and high-impact plastic sheets. The volunteer workers said they'd found a cache of brass fittings for all the windows and doors, but as brass is so expensive they were reluctant to attach the hardware. It's certainly possible to reproduce that with a 3D printer, so that may be a better alternative.

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Blogger Steve A said...

Wasn't a good part of the point of Route 66 to kill off railroads in an early version of government picking winners and losers?

5:50 PM  
Blogger Ed W said...

The growth of the interstate highway system coupled with post-war prosperity probably doomed passenger rail, Steve. Though then as now heavy bulk goods could be transported more economically on the railroads. Cyrus Avery saw the benefits of replacing the older Ozark Trail with modern paved roadways, foresight that helped provide another transportation link between Chicago and the west coast when the war came along. Jim Ross's book "Oklahoma Route 66" had a story from a girl who grew up in Stroud. She said there were times she had to wait for 10 or 15 minutes to cross the road during the war. Traffic was that heavy. Remember, this was a 2 lane highway that wound around the terrain, not a high-speed interstate. Think about an almost solid line of trucks stretching from Chicago to San Diego!

8:11 PM  

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