A restoration plan for Atchison’s Army boxcar

After assessing the car’s overall condition, the next step was to develop some sort of plan for the restoration work. The roof is probably the most critical part of the car’s restoration, as the lack of a good roof has been responsible for almost all of the car’s deterioration. Paradoxically, the way that the car was built, combined with the way that it has deteriorated means that the roof will be almost the last thing to be repaired, even though it is the first priority.

Replacing the roof requires that a lot of work (positioning the roof boards and installing and tightening hundreds of bolts) be done from inside the car while standing on a stepladder. Much of the floor on the western half of the car had rotted to the point that it was incapable of supporting a small child, let alone a full grown adult standing on a step ladder. As such, at least half the floor would have to be repaired before work on the roof could begin.

As the budget for the restoration work did not allow for the replacement of the entire floor, the floor will be repaired by patching the existing floor and overlaying it with new pressure treated 2×6’s. The new floorboards will cover the lower row of bolts that attach the plywood wall panels to the metal frame of the walls. As the four worst wall panels were being replaced, this meant that that work had to be done before starting on the floor.

Out of this chaos, a plan was developed for working on the car;

1) Remove and replace the four worst wall panels.

2) Install new flooring on the west end of the car.

3) Fabricate and install a new roof.

4) Install new flooring on the east end of the car.

5) Remove the plywood panels from the doors. Fabricate and install new panels.

6) Install new flooring in the center of the car.

7) Paint the exterior of the car.

Seems simple enough! But then again, it is a railroad car…..




  1. Betty Gleason

    Sure, listed out that way makes is seem pretty straight forward. LOL None of those steps seem easy to me. Positive you will give it your best efforts and it will turn out better than expected!

    1. Jason Midyette

      Thanks. This project is very different from other projects he’s done. He will be glad when it’s finished, hopefully in time for Atchison’s Railfest on April 29.

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