The Argyle was the very first car acquired by the museum. The extensive work done on it determined restoration procedures used on future acquisitions of badly damaged and painted cars. Those cars found in original condition were dealt with differently. Since the museum had had no direct restoration expertise for this type of artifact, much research was done beforehand to determine the history of the car and what would have to be done technically and artistically to bring it to a presentable and sustainable display standard.
It was also determined that this car was a part of a set of the famous Trans-Canada Limited of 1929, so it was also to be considered in context with a number of other cars from this train, and the evolving artifacts collections policy of the museum.
Another consideration was that the artifacts were also to be facilities with substantial staff and public uses. This required access procedures for both groups. Environmental controls (heating, cooling, and forced air circulation) and security systems had to be discreetly installed before restoration could begin, since much of this work could easily be undone without them. New grounded electrical systems were also employed for safety and a 110 volt current was installed for light bulbs.
Finally, budget realities required a staging of the restoration to bring the car back from its altered state. Each stage permitted different uses as the museum facilities evolved, and the evolution and different uses lasted several years. A specific restoration procedure was established for the wood panels that had been badly damaged and painted.
Site work with tracks and 10-foot tall security
fence, exterior walls, lettering, 42 mahogany
and walnut sashed windows, floor repairs,
roof work, electrical systems for heat & light, carpeting, half
of the original dining room panelling was restored (the other half became a
temporary exhibition gallery, and the original pantry and galley became an office
area). An original walnut buffet cabinet
located at the A-end of the room, was restored and installed in the car.
A temporary open observation platform was inserted
on the B-end for stairs into the car (to save room, dining cars normally contained
no stairs since they were usually used in conjunction with other cars with stairs).
The exhibition gallery was removed and the entire
original dining room was restored, although as yet no original furniture had
been found. (the exhibition gallery facility was moved to a new baggage car
that had arrived for that purpose).
Work Left to do on the Argyle
(in order of current priority as of 1999)
Other Notes about the Argyle
It is the only surviving A-series dining car!
To Sleeping Car Somerset