In an effort to move forward with a plan to bring a tourist railroad into the area, The Colebrookdale Railroad Preservation Trust is beginning to clean up the East Penn Railroad freight yard—the future station site of the Colebrookdale Railroad.
On Wednesday, Nov. 6, volunteers and members of the trust began blasting the rust away from the historic iron crane which resides in the freight yard at the corner of Washington and Third streets in Boyertown.
At the April 1 Boyertown Borough Council meeting, Roger Lehmann, of the Berks-Mont Business Association, spoke on behalf of the Trust for the council’s permission to move forward with the railroad project’s concept plan by beautifying the crane.
Following discussion, the council has authorized the installation of dirt, planting of flowers and grass, and sandblasting the crane located in the railroad year.
“It’s a preservation job,” said Preston McEvoy, project coordinator and corporation secretary, on site at the crane clean-up on Nov. 6. In regards to how it has been going, McEvoy says, “It’s been fantastic.”
The cleaning involves addressing surface rust and applying coats of primer paint, to be followed by a preservation enamel gloss. If time permits, McEvoy said they’ll paint gold pin-stripes to follow the contours—Duryea style.
According to McEvoy, the crane was made between 1862 and 1870 and may be only one left of its kind using a Phoenix column made by the former Phoenix Iron Company of Phoenixville, Pa.
This is the first cleanup project that the Trust has initiated in regards to the Colebrookdale Railroad.
“This is the first part of a multi-phase project to beautify the lot, which is part of a larger project,” said Nathaniel Gust, board president, referring to the railroad itself as the larger project. He also spoke about the Phoenix column, stating that the column is “exceedingly strong form,” and was in existence before high beams were created.
According to McEvoy, the Trust is hoping to be running trains by Oct. of 2014. Following the crane’s restoration, volunteers will begin beautifying the area surrounding the crane.
The cleanup, which began Wednesday, was scheduled to continue until Friday, Nov. 8, however due to weather conditions the efforts have been postponed until weather permits.
“We will begin as soon as we are certain all moisture has been evaporated. Currently Lady Phoenix is coated in a rust killing primer and has a semi-gloss black sheen,” was the update provided by the Trust on Thursday, Nov. 7, via their Colebrookdale Railroad – The Secret Valley Line Facebook page.
The crew was back at the crane on Monday, Nov. 11, to paint. McEvoy stated that Monday is the last work day until next weekend, Nov. 16 and 17.
“If the whole thing is in two coats of black by Saturday at sundown I will be able to pin stripe it on Sunday,” said McEvoy via the Railroad Facebook Page. He invites the community to come out to the freight yard over the weekend to help paint or to just check out the scene.
McEvoy noted a special thanks to Trevor Bosler, Rich Tobin, Roger Lehmann and Board President Nathaniel Guest.