– 10/10/2016

Box Outfit Car 04432 stands completed outside the SN Engine Shed in Silverton.
Box Outfit Car 04432 stands completed outside the SN Engine Shed in Silverton.

Box Outfit or Bunk car 04432, was in better shape all round but still needed a new roof and replacement of window frames, glass and doors. Much of the work was carried out on private land south of Durango and the car was eventually transported to Silverton where it was lettered and now stands in the Silverton Northern Engine Shed where it will winter.



In December 2015 we purchased lumber cut to correct dimensions for the running boards and their blocks and sealed the boards. We removed the three windows from the sides and the window from the left door (left side is determined by looking at car from the B or brake end) and covered the openings with plastic for the winter. Tom Hahl, the Strater Hotel craftsman, repaired them over the winter and early spring. In February we cut new blocks to fit the roof slope.

We started working on the car again on March 22, after the ground dried, covering the running boards with a second coat of transparent waterproof sealer, then installing running board blocks, running boards and end braces. The four steel angle braces were found inside the car and re-bent to fit historic dimensions. The brake staff was reinstalled on the B end of the car. The broken uncoupling rod (cut bar) bracket on the B end of the car was removed and repaired.

Holt Sheet Metal evaluated the smoke jack roof flashing and determined the old solder joint could not be made water tight, so a new flashing was fabricated matching the old design but with hidden spot welds to ensure the flashing will seal and keep the interior of the car dry. Later, CAL Steel repaired gratis the old bottom part of the stack and fit it over the new flashing, then removed the non-historic cap and made a new longer pipe of the correct length to fit over the cut off stack.

D&RGW Bunk Car 04432 sits outside the SN engine shed. (photo: Anna Gibbs)
D&RGW Bunk Car 04432 sits outside the SN engine shed next to the 315. (photo: Anna Gibbs)


After examining surviving door and window trim, we saved what we could and purchased decades old Douglas fir wood milled to true size. We made two new window and both door thresholds out of hardwood for a better lifetime. Cracks in the window frames were filled and sealed, then painted. We installed all with new glass and wood beading. Rotted sheathing was completely replaced below the right door and partially replaced below the left door. At the right door the ends of the top floorboards and both layers below, as well as some of the sill were rotted. Abatron sealer and filler were used to repair the sill and bottom floor planks. New pieces of floor repaired the middle level, and new full car-width boards were milled from reclaimed fir to match dimensions for the top floorboards that reach the right doorway. The left door had to be almost completely and rebuilt, replacing only a handful of old boards with new. The right door was repaired in place, but it and interior door B needed new hinges.



The interior floor was sanded lightly and stained in Room B (at B or brake end) and the center room. Cleaning the floor in Room A revealed a dark red color, which was saved. The entire floor of the car and the tabletop were sealed with two coats of polyurethane to protect them and to serve as a wear coat for a car that will be used by volunteers. New galvanized sheet metal was nailed to the wall behind the stove to replace the missing piece.

The trucks and journal boxes were cleaned and painted. New cotton waste and oil was added to all journal boxes. We had new stencils produced as needed for bunk car lettering, using what we thought were the same fonts as used on other cars. However, we discovered that the lettering for WATER SERVICE was about two feet wider than seen in a historic photograph. Examining historic photographs carefully we saw differences from the fonts we had on hand. We then obtained sets of fonts from San Juan Decals in Apple Valley, Minnesota, and from the Blackstone Models division of SoundTraxx in Durango (the latter in exchange for their recording sounds of 315 appliances and locomotive in action).

The car was moved to Silverton in August 15, in time for some of the 315 crew to use it during 315 excursions that year.

Please consider making a donation, no matter how small to help preserve these Historic Cars.

D&RGW Freight Cars

Durango Railroad Historical Society is comprised of a dedicated group of individuals who are united by their interest in narrow gauge railroading and focus on the preservation of southwest Colorado’s railroad history.

The Durango Railroad Historical Society is a non-profit corporation in Colorado and is a public charity under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.