Re: URTX / Soo Line Reefer 1882 preserved at Whippany Railroad Museum


A great discussion,

I would add that what is even more important in getting the
restoration 'right' is to throughly record the object before
restoration work begins and to continue the recording as the the
restoration work progresses.

As many of us are aware, railroad lettering styles were both railroad
specific and varied depending on where and when the car was repainted
- and as such they are easily or accurately replicated except through
careful tracing and repainting. Once the paint is removed, the
information contained with it is lost forever.

Likewise, there is often evidence of repairs within the cars
themselves which can provide a wealth of information on how repair
methods changed over time.

As others have remarked here - what is the point then of restoring an
object when its history will be obscured or obilterated in the
process? While pursuing an incorrect restoration may sastisfy the
desires of the 'higher ups' a given museum - it also sacrifices the
stated mission of preserving and teaching history.

Tom Cornillie

(I will be leading a research group on this topic in the fall at the
University of Illinois)

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