The Catalpa Falls is currently undergoing renovation at the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad in Cumberland, Maryland. The renovation is expected to be complete in early fall of 2013.

The restoration process has a dual goal of preserving the historical nature of the original design while bringing the car up to current safety and comfort standards. For example, significant work is being done to replace all of the steam heat in the car with electric heat, and replace the original generator and lead batteries with 480-volt, three phase electric power. The latest electronic amenities including flat-screen televisions, DVD players and wireless Internet access must be added in a way that doesn’t detract from the car’s original era.

August 28-30 2013 — Antenna and Solar Panel Installation on the Catalpa Falls

Sam Goldwater (Bob Andrews Group) and Bob Andrews made significant progress with the WMSR (Western Maryland Scenic Railroad) folks over these last three days.  This week’s primary push was all high-tech – the installation of solar panels and myriad antennas on the car roof, and the activation of Wi-Fi and GPS / Fleet tracking systems, and more.  The following photos show some of what we got accomplished:

August 28-30 2013 — Leather Panel Installation — Catalpa Falls Lounge

One of the original features of the 1948 Raymond Loewy design of the Catalpa Falls was the leather panel that hung on the wall opposite the etched mirror over the writing desk.  The original panel was damaged, according to George Payne, many moons ago by an overzealous car cleaner.  As part of our restoration we wanted to somehow figure out how to get the panel replaced.  Thanks to Moore’s Upholstery in Cumberland, Maryland, we resolved the issue.  According to George and Marcia Payne, they commented, “Where did you find the original?” – so I guess we did OK.  I’ve also included a copy of the original 1948-circa black-and-white “Builder’s Photo” of the original lounge as delivered.  I think we came pretty close.

August 28-30 2013 – Catalpa Falls Shower / Toilet / Dressing Room

RailPlan International finished their part of the custom shower / toilet / dressing room installation that they designed (thanks to Joe Dotterweich and Steve).  The final look is very bright, fresh, and clean.  The Western Maryland Scenic shop folks will make the necessary tie-ins to the car (mounting of the toilet, connecting the wall sconce, wiring the 110-volt plug in the vanity, connecting the light switches, and adding a switch and thermostat to the floor heater).  This will be done over the next couple of weeks.