YWRR looses a historical car

Ironhorseman May 12, 2009

  1. Ironhorseman

    Ironhorseman Staff Member In Memoriam

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    The Yreka Western's historical Great Northern parlor car that was once the personal car of the creator of "The Empire Builder", James Hill, has been lost to a repossession by a creditor this week.

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    The car has been at the YW since the mid 1950's and was used by Willis Kyle as a place of lodging while visiting the YW, until Mr. Kyle became so disabled he was no longer able to access the car.

    The car was built in 1900, has two bedrooms with bath facilities in both rooms. It also has a parlor, dining room, galley and servant's quarters. Originally built with wood siding, the car was fitted with steel sheeting in the early 1920's. In the following photo, you can see the original wood siding under the steel:

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    The good news is the car was purchased from the foreclosing party by none other than the great grandson of James Hill, James Hill III.

    Affectionately called, "The Goose Nest" while at the YW, she was moved out of the YW yard to Montague where, assisted by 3 large cranes, her approximately 180,000 pounds was gently lifted into the air where thereafter a 4 axle flat car was pushed under her. The cranes then gently set her down onto the flat to be secured for it's journey.

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    Mr. Hill is sending the car to Roseville, Ca to be restored at the Jim Dobbas Inc. yard. Mr. Hill stated he will endevor to keep the original flavor of the car intact, but will convert the trucks with roller bearings (which will be kept hidden by the original friction bearing covers). He intends to also equip the car with all modern amenities, but they too will be discretely hidden out of sight. It is estimated it will take at least a year to get the restoration completed.

    After the restoration, Mr. Hill intends to bring his entire family to Roseville where they will connect the car to a train, (AMTRAK??) and they will proceed north to take the rails along the original Great Northern rails to Wisconsin. There, he will place the car in his museum.

    I have some interior photos of this car, somewhere. When I find them, I'll post em.
     
  2. SteamDonkey74

    SteamDonkey74 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Sad to see this car get repo'd, but I am glad that it is someone sympathetic to the ongoing preservation of railroad history that purchased the car. It could have languished in the weather for years and been stripped clean of parts by metal thieves and rotted by termites. This is a much better outcome.
     
  3. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Sorry to see the car go. However, I agree- This may be the best alternative. Hmmm. Maybe I can catch it coming through my area. I'd imagine restoration will require some lengthy time to complete proper research, acquire necessary supplies, reproduce when possible, etc.

    Boxcab E50
     
  4. randgust

    randgust TrainBoard Member

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    OK, hold the phone here..... there's a bunch of things here I'm going 'whaaaa???'

    I work with a lot of railroad museums so moving old cars on their own wheels has been next to impossible and this one intrigues me.

    I'm not finding UP 253502 in my ORER; all I show are boxcars in that series. What is the length and capacity of that flatcar???? On a typical 89' flat, you're talking a 70-ton weight limit; that business car has to weight more than 70 tons! If it were lighter, even in 'the day' it wouldn't have had six-wheel trucks. And then....how long is the car? That car is either a lot shorter than it looks (70'??) or the flat is longer than it looks (??).

    Can anybody find this thing in an ORER and give me dimensions and capacity of that flatcar??? I could sure use that thing!
     
  5. Ironhorseman

    Ironhorseman Staff Member In Memoriam

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    You had the same question about capacity of that flat car as I had. I looked for a posted load limit and none was to be found. I can't tell you the length of the flat, but I believe it's a 90 footer. The Goose Nest is around 70 feet though.
     
  6. SP Cabforward

    SP Cabforward TrainBoard Member

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    Its sad to see this car leave. But I feel it belongs with the Hill family instead of the YW. It is also good to see that it is getting restored. The interior is very nice, but I always thought some of the upholstery could use replacement, and scratches taken out of the wood in places.
     
  7. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    If the Hill car is close to the stated 180,000 lbs, that's nearly 90 tons.

    Boxcab E50
     
  8. fitz

    fitz Staff Member

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    Thanks for reporting this, Bill. I know it saddens you as a member of the YW community to see the car go, but it will be interesting to see it run on rails again. :tb-sad:
     
  9. Siskiyou

    Siskiyou In Memoriam

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    Road trip, road trip !!!

    Bill, it sounds like you have contacts - do you think we can monitor progress of the refurb and find out when and where it will go north to GN country? Possibly the Cascade or Siskiyou Line? (Yeah, wishful thinking)? Heck, Sacto is only 6 hours from Central Point and - what - 4 hours from you?

    Scott
     
  10. Ironhorseman

    Ironhorseman Staff Member In Memoriam

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    Tim - I agree with you. The Goose Nest has been sitting outside for over 50 years with little maintenance. I'm sure it will be a first-class restoration. Mr. Hill is very enthusiastic about it.

    Boxcab - Yes. When I was told of it's weight I thought to myself, that's about what the YW's 1915 Baldwin Mike weighs! But the unit has cement floor for about a total of half of the units' length (at both ends of the car). It's wooden planking in the center.

    Scott - I've been invited to check on the progress when ever I happen to be in the Roseville area, which will probably be a couple of times during the next year to visit my daughters. I doubt it would cause any trouble if you would care to accompany me for the observation. Either way, I'll keep in touch with my contact as time goes on to be alerted for a departure date and time schedule when it does leave Roseville. :)
     
  11. Kurt Moose

    Kurt Moose TrainBoard Member

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    Maybe it will make it on the end of the "Empire builder" one day!:teeth: Glad to hear it's being restored.
     
  12. JCater

    JCater TrainBoard Member

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    Good to hear that the car will be saved although "restored" is probably not the right term since there will be numerous modern changes that will change the original character of the car (thus making it ineligible for inclusion in the National Register). Better than having someone cut her up for scrap for sure ;)
     
  13. Ironhorseman

    Ironhorseman Staff Member In Memoriam

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    Just for information.

    The Central Oregon & Pacific picked up the "Goose Nest" yesterday morning (14th) and it is on its way to Roseville via Black Butte.
     

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