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Train museum rebuilds vintage cars

Volunteers at the new Northwest Railway Museum Conservation and Restoration Center (CRC) are getting rolling this spring on two projects meant to preserve historic rail cars that might otherwise be lost to time.

The CRC opened last August. Volunteers at the museum rolled two vintage cars into the shop, located off Stone Quarry Road, and began active work this year to restore and rebuild them over the next two years.

The CRC is an 8,200-square-foot, heated facility that allows trained volunteers to bring train cars out of the elements for restoration, as well as maintain working cars. The building includes a visitor gallery to allow people to view the work happening within.

"These are the first major projects," museum Executive Director Richard Anderson said.

From the chassis up, volunteers are completely rebuilding a 1944 wooden caboose, built by Weyerhaeuser at Enumclaw, that had badly deteriorated after decades as a tool shed.

During World War II, steel was rationed and the manufacturers could only get permission to build a wooden caboose. After the war, the caboose became obsolete and in the late 1950s or early 60s, it was set off its wheels and the elements began to take their toll.

"It didn't improve with age while sitting on the ground," Anderson said.

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