A historic railroad boxcar located in New London’s Historical Village recently underwent a facelift.
The boxcar that once hauled Model-T Ford coupes arrived in New London on Dec. 17, 2001, thanks to the efforts of the Soo Line Historical and Technical Society, and the New London Heritage and Historical Society.
Boxcar No. 75618 came from the Soo Line Railroad. The American Car and Foundry Company built it in Jan. 1924.
Historical Village curator Robert Polaske said that five coupe automobiles once fit in a boxcar.
“When the larger Model A’s gained in popularity, many of the rail cars like this one were converted for hauling grain,” he said.
“It was used on the active railroad until the mid-1950s, and then used for storage at the Neenah switch yard,” reports Polaske.
Larry Easton of the Soo Line Historical and Technical Society said, “This car is of historical significance, being one of only a few still in existence, and deserves to be preserved.”
Prior to arriving at New London in 2001, SLHTS volunteers completed some work on restoring the car, but before further work could be done, it needed to be transported to a permanent display site.
A crew from Canadian National Railroad pulled the boxcar by rail at 10 mph from Appleton to New London using a Brandt engine. From there they used a heavy-duty crane to lift the boxcar onto the display tracks where it joined two cabooses and a short line locomotive in front of the restored C&NW Railroad Depot at New London.
Additional restoration work was completed, however the labor intensive task of removing and replacing each board, painting new treated boards, and bolting them back in place, was not undertaken until recently.
Stacy Hueber of Advantage Signs, New London restored the lettering on the boxcar.
“She did a really nice job,” said Polaske.
She has a few final additions to add on the north side of the car.
The renovation is the latest of several ongoing projects at the Historical Village.
Last Thursday, Polaske was reading the owner’s manual and looking over parts for a newly acquired Edison Phonograph.