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Posted October 29, 2013

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Railroad Car Restoration Involves Construction, Art, History

Sandia students are rebuilding 1900s rail car from Cumbres & Toltec Railway.

Seniors Cody Lindgren, Eric Hancock, Hunter Williams and junior John Gallegos

“Before we build it, we have to disassemble it,” Sandia High School teacher Robert Gillespie told students in his advanced woodshop and construction technology program. “We will then be re-building it from scratch to exactly as it was in 1902 when it was delivered to the narrow-gauge railway in Southern Colorado.”

It is all part of a project with the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad that began at Sandia High School in late August, when the 1902 flat-bed rail car was delivered to the school.

Before the project is completed next fall, it will involve students in art, social studies and history classes, as well as drafting, woodworking, pre-engineering and metal shop. Students in the art classes will take photos of the process so that the car can be re-assembled just as it was. History and social students classes will talk about how the railroads impacted life in the West, while those in the drafting classes will come up with designs to replicate parts.

Students in the woodworking, pre-engineering and metal shop classes will do the actual work on the re-build. “Students in physics and science classes also will talk about the metallurgy of the parts that go into making the car function,” said Sandia assistant principal Esther Keaton.

Senior Hunter Williams said in addition to being a “fun service-project,” working on the rail car will give him something for his resume. “I want to be a mechanic and restore cars after I graduate,” he said.

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