Posted by: bgtwindad | October 13, 2010

New Museum Piece


Originally uploaded by BGTwinDad

Dateline: October 10, 2010
Glover’s Bend, WV

The Chestnut Hill Historical Preservation’s Frost River Museum today unveiled its newest addition, a 36 foot refrigerated boxcar (“reefer”) brightly festooned in a period H.J. Heinz Co. paint scheme.

The car was discovered languishing on a siding in Nitro, WV by Norfolk Southern officials taking a visual inventory after the breakup and acquisition of Conrail in 1999.  It was in poor condition, barely recognizable, and very, very old.  Norfolk Southern decided to donate the car to a museum willing to restore it, and the CHHiPS was willing to take on the job.

The car was placed on a flat and shipped to the CH&FR Railroad’s maintenance shops at Frost River, KY, where a complete overhaul and restoration of the car’s structure was undertaken, with special care to maintaining the historical integrity of the design.  Michael Frost, Chief Mechanical Engineer for the CH&FR, had a set of his newly patented hidden roller bearing trucks built, which cleverly conceal modern FRA-compliant roller bearings inside the journal boxes of otherwise historically accurate trucks.

Once the car’s “bones” had been rehabilitated, young Nathan McCallister and the boys from Boy Scout Troop 1221 went to work cleaning, sanding, and repainting the car to a historically accurate Heinz 57 paint scheme, as part of Nathan’s Eagle Scout Service Project.


End View of Reefer Car

End view of HJHC488


The car will be on static display at the CHHiPS auxiliary display track at Glover’s Bend, WV.  In keeping with the CHHiPS and CH&FR’s “living history” initiative, the car will also be used in occasional revenue service, making deliveries of small quantities of refrigerated goods throughout the region.

CHHiPS staff are still researching the history and records of the car to discover just exactly how old it is, where built, and where placed in service.  Anyone with information relevant to the history of this car are encouraged to contact the CHHiPS by commenting here.


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