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Restoration Update - January 12th, 2007

Well, the paint job is now complete and the overall restoration is nearing completion! 

On September 5, X201 emerged from the shop with 4 coats of  Sherwin Williams  Sher-cryl HPA “Safety Red” paint and one coat of Sher-clear 1K clear coat.  The yellow-belly masking was removed leaving a striking contrast between the yellow bay window and the red car body. 

On September 16, I began to apply the lettering and miscellaneous car markings.  The consolidated stencil, wheel inspection decal and end-of-car numbers were applied.

X201 was returned to revenue service on September 23, 2006.  As seen in the roster photo below, the correct SR numbering and lettering has been applied.  The original lettering reproduced very carefully.  I sketched and measured the individual letters and numbers to the nearest 1/8”.  In 1:1 scale, I drew the numbers and letters using AutoCAD software.  The CAD file was emailed to Reidler Decal Corp. in St. Clair, Pennsylvania.  Reidler specializes in graphics for the railroad industry.  I ran across their ad in a railroad publication and gave them a shot.  I felt comfortable with Reidler since they produce railcar graphics, logos, misc. car markings, etc for railcars day in and day out.  The decals were printed on 3M Railcal, a very fine, amazingly thin vinyl. The letters and numbers were cut perfectly; almost too perfect since the original lettering was some sort of paint “tape” that SR slapped on the car body in rough fashion.  I made the mistake of applying the lettering on a windy day, which I will never do again.  I ruined the “U” on one side and had to break into my spare set to complete the job. 


A note about decal costs, etc.  The total cost of the lettering, consolidated stencils, and wheel inspection logos was $337.65.  This included the set-up fee and the decals themselves.  Each individual decal becomes less expensive as the quantity increases.  Therefore I was able to order an extra pair of each decal at a fraction of the cost of the initial set.  My thinking was that if I kept the extra decals in a climate controlled closet, they would be good the next time around (although I’m now minus a “U”!).   If anyone out there is restoring a SR caboose, I would highly recommend Reidler for the lettering since they have the SR caboose lettering on file now.  The only thing necessary would be to measure and sketch the other numbers – 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9.  I would be happy to assist anyone with that.  I also have the design and CAD file for the correct “ACI” label, or bar-code, unique to X201.  Due to the intricate details of the ACI label, this decal was priced to me at $218 per pair , so I have placed that purchase on hold to see how my budget goes on the remainder of the project. 

Moving to the interior…..The entire interior has been repainted with Rustoleum Smoke Gray, which is very close to the gray color used by the SR for caboose interiors.   This part of the project was not hard, just time consuming.  You come to appreciate all the uneven surfaces, conduits, rivets, corners, etc that are present after the third day of painting.  I’d like to thank my buddy T.C. Vickery for his help in painting the interior.  I’d have given up about half-way if not for Tommy. 


The marker light lenses have been installed.  I ordered new lenses from the McDermott Corporation in Chicago, the producer of the original marker lenses on the SR cabs.  A pair of lenses was just over $50…..ouch!


The next photo shows the first interior stencils have been applied over each door and each large bay window.  I verified the correct font height by measuring the stencils in a couple of derelict SR cabs at NS’s Norris Yard in Birmingham.  Also, I was able to sand through the paint and find X201’s original stenciling over the door.  The new “X201” stencil was created from the same CAD file mentioned above, but scaled to the correct 2” font.  I had this cut in vinyl at the local graphics shop, removed the characters and used the remaining outline as a stencil.  Thanks to fellow museum member and friend Jeff Murphree for this idea.  The stencil cost was $4.80.

The last photo for this update shows X201 on October 14 bringing up the rear of the day’s “Pumpkin Patch Express” excursion at the Heart of Dixie RR Museum.  The L&N Historical Society Special took the siding for the regularly scheduled Pumpkin Patch train to pass. The Special was part of the events of the L&N H.S. Convention held in Birmingham last month. 

Remaining work for next update:

  • Complete interior stenciling

  • Exterior stenciling ( 2” COMP SHOES, BLT GANTT MFG 9-71, and Safety slogan above steps)

  • Solar panel and marker light refurbishment



Southern Railway Historical Association