PPCX 800708

Phase III of Refurbishment

We selected the Lancaster & Chester Railway's passenger car shop (located in Lancaster, South Carolina), under the direction of Bob Willetts, for the third phase of work on our car. This phase was primarily improvements. Here is a summary of the major tasks completed by L&C from April 2001 through August 2002.

-- Installed new glazing (3/4" laminate glass, FRA I compliant, solex green tint, approximately 75% light transmission factor) obtained from J T Nelson in 19 emergency escape windows. We also bought 3 spare sets of glazing. What a huge difference the new glazing makes!!

-- Installed an 80 KW Stadco diesel generator, a fuel tank, and associated electrical equipment. We installed a custom fabricated fuel tank in the vicinity of the former AC compressor assembly. We bought a custom upgrade of Stadco's "B" remote control panel; it has an ammeter, with phase selector switch, as well as voltmeter and frequency meter, plus the standard items. The remote panel was installed in the small locker above the former water cooler.

-- Completed a COT&S on the 26CDW COT&S air brake system. Installed the air brake modifications required for operation on Amtrak trains 3/4. Consolidated the air reservoirs so that they occupy a smaller "footprint" under the car. We needed to free up some space to install other equipment under the car.

-- Replaced the stainless steel gravity dump toilets in all 6 bedrooms with white porcelain Headhunter toilets. Fabricated a single stainless steel retention tank to hold the waste from 6 bedroom toilets. This tank, which holds about 300 gallons, has been mounted by the A end truck.

-- Replaced the stainless steel gravity dump toilet in the general toilet with a white porcelain Microphor toilet. This toilet had to be a Microphor due to the convoluted routing of the discharge plumbing leading to a holding tank. It dumps into a custom fabricated stainless steel holding tank (approximately 90 gallons capacity) which occupies the limited space available towards the BR end/side of the car.

-- Removed all 10 roomettes. Removed the storage lockers between bedroom F and roomette 2. This made room for the dining/lounge area, the kitchen, and the shower.

-- We cut back on the height of the central supply/exhaust air duct to increase headroom down the center of the car. New ductwork was installed on either side of the original so that we handle the same volume of air. In essence, the ductwork is now wider, but flatter.

-- Fabricated a spacious stainless steel shower, with marble tiled changing area, adjacent to bedroom F. The shower compartment is the same width (across the car) as a bedroom, and about 36" across. The shower is located at the back of the compartment; a curtain separates the shower from the changing area.

-- The kitchen occupies most of the area formerly occupied by roomettes 2 and 1. It projects out to a line even with the line of the bedroom hallway and the shower. We completed an FDA compliant stainless steel kitchen. Hobart half size electric convection oven, Delfield refrigerator and freezer, Jenn Aire grill top, etc.

-- Substantial resources (labor and material) have been invested in the new lounge/dining area. A new plywood floor, new custom fabricated stainless steel radiator covers, upholstered fabric on the wall under the windows above the radiators, mahogany window sill/rail, mahogany wood panels between the windows, and mahogany wood panels on the walls above the windows to the ceiling. Ceiling uses custom fabricated curved metal panels (painted a glossy white) in Budd fashion. Bob Willetts and his crew do superb woodwork. We have installed dimable indirect incandescent uplighting, dimable incandescent wall sconce lighting fixtures between the windows, and some dimable direct incandescent down lighting.

-- The six bedrooms received new carpeting, new paint in the bedroom annexes, new pillows, new sheets, new blankets, and new bath linens, as well as a very thorough cleaning of the upholstery and the carpet which Amtrak installed on the walls and ceilings.

-- The former porter's area remains a storage area.


[All photos are by Jack Deasy unless otherwise noted]

The car arrived at the Lancaster & Chester Railway's facility in Chester South Carolina in mid-April 2001. The car is parked in the coach yard adjacent to the railway's headquarters. The car is coupled to a heavyweight baggage car that is used as a workshop and a storage area.



Bob Willetts, manager of L&C Railway's passenger car shop, is the project manager for the work on MOUNT VERNON.


One of L&C's first tasks was demolition. All 10 roomettes were removed. The storage lockers betwen roomette 2 and bedroom F were removed. This created the open space needed to build a dining/lounge area, a kitchen, and a shower. In this scene, the demolition work is over 90 percent complete as Bob Willetts shows some samples to Gene Sullivan and Luis Caceres.


This photo shows the original ductwork that ran down the center of the car above the roomette hallway. At the top, against the car's roof, is a duct containing electrical cables. Immediately below is the exhaust duct. At the bottom of the stack is the supply duct. L&C made extensive modifications to the exhaust and supply ductwork to increase headroom in what would become the dining/lounge area, the kitchen, and the shower.  


This view shows the electrical duct; part of the supply duct and the exhaust duct have been removed to expose the electrical duct.



MOUNT VERNON has 19 emergency escape windows which were installed by Amtrak. The old glazing was deteriorated Lexan. It was also a very dark grey tint. We took the recommendation of two other car owners (Richard Longpre and Brad Black) and replaced the glazing in all 19 windows with new solex green tinted glass. It is a 3/4" laminate which meets FRA safety requirements. It is a much lighter tint. We had the emergency glazing removal handles mounted at the top center (rather than bottom center) of the window. The new glass significantly improves the view.



After the demolition work was completed, all openings in the floor were sealed. The floor was leveled and a new plywood floor was laid down atop the original plywood floor. The original insulation in the ceiling has been encapsulated with a barrier material.


This photo illustrates the new ventilation ductwork.

The Stadco 80 KW diesel generator is mounted just inboard of the B end truck. L&C engineered a very substantial mounting assembly. In order to make sufficient room to hang this large unit in a manner which meets Amtrak's unrestricted clearance profile, L&C had to relocate two air tanks and the refrigerant lines leading to/from the evaporator coils. In addition, they had to make modifications to the service doors on the front of the unit so that they can be opened without hitting the side sill of the car.


This is the remote control panel for the diesel generator. It is a custom made modification of Stadco's standard "B" control panel.


This is the sewage holding/retention tank at the A end of the car. It is made of stainless steel, is freeze-protected, and handles sewage from all six double bedrooms. The end of the tank closest to the truck is reinforced with diamond plate.


This is the sewage holding/retention tank at the B end of the car. It is made of stainless steel, is freeze-protected, and handles sewage from the general toilet. The end of the tank closest to the truck is reinforced with diamond plate.


This photo of the kitchen includes the vertically stacked refrigerator and freezer units, the convection oven, the the JennAire grill-top.


This photo of the kitchen includes the Jenn Aire grill-top and the sink.


Woodwork at the entertainment center end of the lounge.


The entertainment center. A television, video equipment, and audio equipment will be installed here.


A fold-down writing desk has been constructed at this end of the lounge.


A vew from the middle of the dining/lounge area looking towards the kitchen and bedroom hallway.

This page was updated on March 23, 2013