On July 6, 2008, we completed the redecking of NH flatcar 17504, built 1951 by New Haven Railroad shop forces at Maybrook, NY. Pics show the placement of the final board, coating the cut edges with preservative, drilling up through the bottom of the car for deck bolt holes. The rebuilt trucks were rolled back under the car on Sunday afternoon and the car was lowered onto the trucks. The 40-foot car has a one-piece cast steel frame, made by General Steel Castings Co. and assembled into a car by the New Haven's Maybrook Car Shop (they added brake equipment, a deck, assembled the trucks and painted the cars). It was later used as a Wire Train car, as T-294.
What was done:
Cut off all old handrails, brackets, pipes, etc. that were attached to the car when it was in Wire Train service. Scaled and chipped all rust from the frame. Photographed, measured and traced all visible lettering. Needle-scaled and power-wirebrushed the outside of the car frame, primed and painted it. Removed brake valves and brake piston, replaced with rebuilt components. Rolled trucks out and replaced all four wheel sets, scaled, primed and painted trucks, installed eight new axle seals in the journal boxes, assembled trucks with refitted journal bearings, new journal oil pads, new center pins and new brake pins and cotter pins. Replaced all cotter pins in carbody brake rigging. Replaced brake wheel.
Deck was pressure-treated creosote oak 2x6 installed with hundreds of original-type flat-head "car bolts" and original-style floor clips (both still available from the original old-time supplier) and a lot of 1/2" nuts and washers. The deck was laid over sheet steel on the car end areas, to keep any rain water off the trucks (and out of the journal bearings).
What remains to be done:
Connect brake rods to trucks, install new air hoses, test brakes and set brake piston travel, finish cutting stencils and apply lettering, touch up any paint "nicks." Many RMNE people worked on this project and the final result is one all can be proud of. Pics of the finished (lettered) car will be around after it is done, perhaps after next weekend. Yes, it's "just a flat car." But it's a NICE flat car, and one more asset that can be put to good use on our railroad.