Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 15

the tour bus garage where they were stripped and repaintRolla many times in its long career.
ed. There turned out to be more than 600 parts to the pasWith steam engines being replaced by diesels all along
senger car interior, including its unique seats. Because the
the line, citizens of the town lobbied Frisco for a retired
train would travel both directions, the seats were designed
locomotive. Their persistence paid off. In 1955 Frisco
to flip so passengers could face the front of the train.
handed over the title to the engine, its oil tender and a rare
As work progressed other Rolla businesses offered
passenger car built in 1883. They were cleaned, painted
financial assistance. Town and Country Bank paid for new
and moved to Rolla. They were spotted next to the mainseat covers and curtains. United Rentals offered a lift to
line where a water tank and depot once stood.
reach high places. Miller Glass donated the glass for the
Over the years, vandalism, scavenging for parts to keep
another engine running and the elements
windows. Scott's Printing provided vinyl letters and
PPG provided the paint.
wreaked havoc with the train. Rust covered the
Along the way much discussion took place with
engine's massive flanks, while the passenger
historians and rail fans who helped with clues
car fared even worse. Its roof had leaked, rotabout the proper colors for the restoration. One
ting the wood framework and the once plush red
Rolla
point made by some of the purists was that the
velvet seats.
original train ran with black wheels. These had
"I knew what the outside looked like because
been painted silver when it was put on display
I had seen it," Nick says of the project. "But I
in order to make the huge wheels stand out
hadn't seen the inside of the passenger car. It was
better in photos.
a mess. The ceiling was coming down. The walls
"Some were saying now is the time to go back
were caving in. The seats were all rotted. The floor -
to the way it was," Nick says. " 'Don't put the whitewalls on
well, one guy fell through it."
the wheels.' Well, we kind of kicked that around. It's really
Undaunted, Nick put his team to work with the same
neat to take a picture of your kid next to those wheels. If it
"can-do" spirit that brought the train to Rolla in the first
was all black you couldn't see it in the picture. So, we went
place. Some of the workers began sanding through seven
ahead and painted it silver."
layers of paint to take the tender and passenger car down
Not content to just restore the train, Nick's crew also
to bare metal.
was determined to make the whistle work. Over the years
"It took three guys three weeks with grinders," Nick
many parts had been removed, so replacements had to be
says. "We went through hundreds of dollars worth of grindfound or mounting holes welded shut. After much effort
ing wheels. The grinding was tough and monotonous for
the steam chamber was filled with air and the unmistakthe guys. We had a big celebration when that was done."
able sound of a steam whistle resounded in Rolla again.
Meanwhile, another group tackled the old passenger
An open house was held in August so that railfans
car. They found that the ceiling had once caught fire from
could see the effort made by Nick and his crew. Right after
the kerosene lanterns that provided light. As they removed
the ribbon was cut reopening the display a BNSF train
metal covering the original wood, they discovered it once
went by on the nearby tracks.
had a series of clerestory windows with intricate etched
"The train engineers had been watching us in the two
glass. Only one window remained, but from this they made
months we were working on the project," Nick says. "They
a pattern that was used to replace all 30 of the windows.
knew what was going on. When he saw there was an event
The entire inside was gutted and the pieces moved to
Bottom left: It took three men working for three weeks to sand the passenger car down to bare metal. They found many places where time and
the elements had damaged the metal and wood from its original construction. Bottom right: Nick walks past the same car after it had been completely restored by his employees and a few volunteers. Built in 1883, the car received a major overhaul during the restoration, including replacing
the etched glass clerestory windows that had been covered by sheet metal sometime during its years of service. It is one of only a handfull of Smith
Barney passenger cars still in existence. Frisco No. 1501 would have pulled cars like this when it was used for passenger service.
photo courtesy USA Travel

OCTOBER 2020 | RURALMISSOURI.COOP

15


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Rural Missouri - October 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - October 2020

Contents
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - Contents
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 4
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 5
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 6
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 7
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 8
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 9
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 10
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 11
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 12
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 13
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 14
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 15
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 16
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 17
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 18
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 19
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 20
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 21
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 22
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 23
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 24
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 25
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 26
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 27
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 28
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 29
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 30
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 31
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 32
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 33
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 34
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 35
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 36
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 37
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 38
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 39
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 40
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 41
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 42
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 43
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 44
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 45
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 46
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 47
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 48
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 49
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 50
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - Cover4
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