The Curzon Story (13 of 13)
Restoring the Interior of the Curzon

Preliminary interior work on Curzon — details

Two upper berths were obtained from a derelict 1904 Barney and Smith car at the Alberta Pioneer Railway Museum near Edmonton, Alberta. These will help complete rooms C and D once the missing walls are re-constructed. These new walls will be easily attached to the remaining upper parts of the original walls and then they will be re-sheathed in matching woods. All bedrooms were done in a different woods, while the hall and lounge were done in walnut, covered with art-nouveau inspired marquetry.

All upper stained glass windows had been removed. However, the original windows frames minus the glass still existed between the five bedrooms, sandwiched between new painted metal covers. New frames are now being constructed to match the originals, and future funding will permit stained glass to be made. It should make the car appear "cathedral-like". Most of the stained glass in the outer ceilings of the bedrooms has been restored — again courtesy of the APRA-Edmonton car.

The original plush fabrics and carpet were given a preliminary conservation treatment and are well-maintained with a no-use policy during tours. The carpets have been covered with a protective runner to allow the thousands of tourist each year to marvel at the workmanship.

Since the Curzon is classified as Canadian Cultural Property, its conservation, restoration, and replication (in selected areas), will be more conservative than in other museum cars - particularly since so much of the original wood and fabric of the car still exists.

Recommendations for future wood panelling conservation/restoration

As for the exotic wood panelling, a team of conservators were asked to recommend a treatment for the old varnishes. The recommendation was that all old varnishes should be removed. They have badly deteriorated to the extent that is often difficult to see the actual wood grain , the figuring of the wood, or the extensive inlays. Once the wood has been prepared and cleaned , a spray-lacquer or water-based varnish technique may be employed — fast and efficient.

Along with the replacement of the stained glass, the car should again appear much as it did when out-shopped that day back in 1907. An era will then be restored to railway heritage for many future generations to enjoy, and a locally important car will be recognized internationally.