Category: Current Issue


Greg Morissette, center, and his crew plan their next job at the Gertrude Chandler Warner Boxcar Museum. He hopes the project will be finished in time for the reopening in May. More photos on page 4. Linda Lemmon photo.

captions on page 4:

A crew member of Trackside Restorations does some welding on the structure of the Gertrude Chandler Warner Boxcar.

It's hard to read, but this support is stamped with "Carnegie".

This steel was installed in August, 1937

By Linda Lemmon
Town Crier Editor
PUTNAM --- The transformation is painstakingly slow but the Gertrude Chandler Warner Boxcar Museum IS transforming.
Greg Morissette of Trackside Restorations in Palmer, Mass., started on the restoration of the boxcar in April 2019. The original project was to replace the wood on the boxcar. However, much like an episode of This Old House, when they removed the wood, they discovered that most of the structure was "showing its age."  Morissette said all of the steel structure needed refurbishing. The car was rotting and rusting.
The original  New Haven boxcar was made of wood in the early 1900s. In the 1930s the structure was swapped out for steel. Some of the original steel still bears the stamp of Carnegie steel.
The Aspinock Historical Society pays for the materials and Morissette had donated the labor. When the project is finished and grants and more donations are in he and the society will revisit that labor. Thus far, Morissette has put in more than 3,500 hours.
A good bit of the steel has been replaced or repaired. Rivets were replaced by bolts. "We're trying to replicate the original as much as possible," he said.
Beams needed replacing. The floors will be shiplap and the walls will again be tongue and groove.  The boxcar is done in "outside bracing" style. The structure outside is steel and the walls are inside that skeleton. He said most likely Douglas Fir will be used for the floor and walls. In the coming weeks, when that work is done, the project will be looking for volunteer painters.
"There's a lot of cool things, a lot of history here," said Morissette.