Jan 27, 2011

Every year, the Friends take on some of our bigger projects during the winter and early spring months. Last year we took on the challenge of renovating the upper level of Super Dome 53. This year we have undertaken repairs of the observation end of the Cedar Rapids.

As much as everyone loves to sit in a seat that Frank Sinatra might have sat in, the wood work was starting to show major aging problems. We are slowly and methodically going through piece by piece and replacing those which are starting to show problems. Along with making sure everything is still secure and hasn’t come loose in the last few years, we are slowly working on replacing windows that have started to fog over with moisture. With all these changes the Cedar Rapids will still be the same car we all enjoy riding in, just with a new glimmer to her shine.

Having recently upgraded the newest addition to the 261 fleet, the St. Croix Valley, the Friends received great accolades by those who rode in it. Having head that feedback, the Friends have decided to do the same renovation to its sister car the Wisconsin Valley.

Improvements to the Wisconsin Valley include new light fixtures recessed in gorgeous new mahogany-trimmed maple ceiling panels. Where once there was a ‘Smoke eater,’ now there is an elegant ceiling fan. Where once carpet wrapped valences and mismatching window sills abounded, now all are trimmed in smooth mahogany. Although at this moment the crew is not quiet finished with all the renovations, the Wisconsin Valley will be the ‘Must See Car’ the next time you enjoy a 261 excursion.

Also in progress are updates to the Baggage car, which most of you know as the Concessions car. The crew is in process of adding a matching Oak bar back and cabinetry, making the car more efficient and multipurpose. Along with more up to date additions such as a TV screen with a GPS display so you will always know where you are at along the journey.

New Stainless Budd car at Harrison

I am sure many of you have noticed there is a new stainless car sitting right outside the north door at the shop on Harrison Street. This is actually not a new member of the Friends fleet. This is a car that the crew is working on for a local M.O.W. Company. They have hired us to do some basic work on the car, in prep for them to renovate it to put it in one of their fleets.

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