Car Department

Who we are:
The Car Department is responsible for the maintenance and refurbishment of the train car fleet, including passenger cars, freight cars, and cabooses. The Car Department is also responsible for the decorating of the cars for the annual Train of Lights.

What we do:
Our primary tasks involve restoring train cars. We have an interior restoration team that repairs or replaces interior walls, ceilings, floors, and seats. We have an exterior restoration team that does the mechanical, electrical, welding work and exterior painting on the cars.

The Car Department uses a variety of different skills.

  • Replace wood and other wall & ceiling components
  • Strip paint and sand surfaces
  • Painting
  • Mechanical work such as repairing operational hardware
  • Electrical work
  • Welding.

When We Volunteer:
The exterior restoration team works on Saturdays. This team is led by our Department Manager, Dennis Mann.

The interior restoration team, known as the Wednesday Warriors, works on Wednesdays. This team is led by our Volunteer Coordinator, Tom Crawford.

During the Train of Lights decorating and un-decorating season, the Wednesday Warriors do the exterior decorating and un-decorating. A separate dedicated interior decorating team works on Thursdays and Saturdays.

In 2022, the volunteers of the Niles Canyon Railway took one of our open cars out of service for repair and restoration. Work included all new paint and lettering, redone bench seats, all new siding, buffer improvements, new side gates, reworked wiring and PA systems, and more. Lots of hands made for a wonderful result. Can we include you for the next one?
NCRy/PLA President, Henry Baum, cleans and polishes some more of the stainless steel in the kitchen of the museum’s Great Northern Ranch Car ‘Hidden Lake’. Work on our cars take both inside and out with jobs for every talent.