L&N #109 Segregated Passenger Car – Restoration Celebration
The Historic RailPark & Train Museum recently celebrated the progress of the restoration of the #109 Segregated Passenger Car! Due to its rarity, our #109 enhances our museum’s mission of education and preservation.
The #109 is believed to have begun life as an L&N passenger coach circa 1890’s. With the development of the “Jim Crow” era, the popular trend became to convert old coaches to combination cars. Glasgow Railway purchased the newly converted combination car in 1909, according to their records. It was a perfect solution for Glasow Railway Co. to manage their contact with L&N to haul passengers, mail, and cargo from Glasgow-to-Glasgow Junction with the L&N Railroad in Park City. #109’s last trip was in 1955 and its story is important for us to tell.
It was in the middle of 2010 that a grant of $189,000 was received to facilitate the restoration. Just a few months later the exterior construction bid came in almost $60,000 over the grant! Again, this was just for the exterior of the car and the start of the “labor.” When the grant money was used up, our volunteers stepped in to finish the job.
Many individuals worked on the car from 2011 to 2013 in space donated by Lowell Guthrie of Trace Die Cast. The car was moved by MCF Housemovers in February of 2013 to where it is now- on 180′ of display track at the Historic RailPark & Train Museum. Very quickly the elements started to undo much of the hard work that was put into the restoration, therefore, it was decided that a cover needed to be put over this car to protect it. A cover was installed in 2015, but the exterior damage was already extensive.
In the spring of 2022, an exceptional volunteer came to the RailPark with much experience in building and manufacturing, Randy Gould. He realized that this car, we believe one of only 2 remaining like it, was special and he wanted to repair the damage that was done during those couple of years that the car was uncovered. Randy said his biggest surprise was that the “visible exterior damage to the car only reflected about 25% of the wood which eventually had to be replaced.” Much of the exterior wood had to be replaced due to water damage. He had a couple of groups of volunteers help with priming boards, pulling nails, cleaning, and insulating, but the majority of the work has been completed by Randy. Having a volunteer ready and willing to complete a restoration project is only half of the equation- the other half of that is the funding for the project.
The Cultural Awareness Corvette Weekend (CACW) group surprised us with funding to start work on the interior. CACW host an event at the National Corvette Museum to provide an annual opportunity for Corvette enthusiasts throughout the United States to come together and experience and celebrate the cultural and ethnic diversity that exists among Corvette owners while contributing to the development of educational and economic opportunities in the community. CACW shares a deep passion for railcars and railroading. Many of the member’s family members were Pullman Porters.
Without the CACW and our hard-working volunteers, we would not be able to bring alive this important part of history. Several CACW board members were in town in early May, and we invited them to witness how their donation had been spent. While progress has been made, there is still much work to be done on this beloved car.
Without the hard work of our volunteers, and the generosity of our donors, we could not restore any of our railcars. On your next visit to the RailPark, we invite you to tour this very special railcar.