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Steam Locomotive Cosmetic Restoration

May 29, 2008

It’s a touchy subject: a town back in the 1940’s or 1950’s was given 25-100 tons of metal, in the form of an old locomotive that once proudly served the community, and in turn saved it from the torch. They’re usually surviving today in a park or a museum, if they’re lucky, in a railroad museum.

However, down the road some years, as the original, perfectly correct paint and lettering fades, chips off, and turns slowly into a neglected rust bucket..what to do?

Well, the local bunch of steam nuts from a regional musem has looked it over, and deemed it unsuitable for operation again, now what does the town do?

There are three approaches:

One- The PERFECT restoration.


This stunning restoration with a strikingly beautiful and accurate paint job featuring correct lettering, the mechanical bits restored and polished and all the parts suseptable to rust sealed really makes for a perfect text-book cosmetic restoration.

Two- Don’t have any historians around, but you have a local “professional” painter knocking on your office door in city hall? Well, you’ll end up with this, 20 years after that “professional” painted it.

A layer of rust on the roof where the painter didn’t bother painting, the tires of each wheel coated in thick rust, odd painted highlights, like covering the siderods, numberplate, BELL(!?) and headlight insides with white paint?!?! yuck! Not to mention the oddly spaced numbers on the tender, and the horrific paint “highlights” on the wheels… did I mention the sign WELDED to the pilot of the locomotive? Oh, and how about that fence…just put there to ruin photographs, because it’s so short it can’t have any actual safety or security value.

Three- The kids in town need a play structure, and you had this lying around..hmm..well you don’t want to get sued for an injured child (hence the un-prototypical railings) and you’re too cheap to pour city dollars into a faithful restoration, so this is what you get:

 Is this scary or what? Who thought that a RED smokebox front would look good? How about those yellow and silver highlights, and of course that horrid looking staircase and the incorrect lettering on the tender?

Of course, there is a fourth option: Fence it, paint it once and forget it..

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