FEBT Restoration – Boiler Shop

The Boiler Shop was one of the later buildings constructed for the main shops complex, added in the late 1890s or early 1900s. The Boiler Shop was not generally used to build boilers, but was so called because machinery for forming sheet metal was located here. The building contains some of the largest and most powerful machines at the railroad, including a massive punch and shear machine and a sheet roller. Both operate off the overhead belt drive system, which is powered by the stationary steam engine in the Boiler House.

The Boiler Shop is often overshadowed by its neighbor, the Machine Shop, which has a greater number of machines. But the Boiler Shop was just as important to the operation of the EBT. Look around the railroad at the many steel cars — hoppers, boxcars and even locomotive tenders. The sheet steel for these cars would have been formed and punched in this shop in preparation for installation on the cars. Attached to the south side of the shop is another important structure in the shops complex, a four hole privy for the shop workers.

Overall the Boiler Shop is in reasonable condition structurally, but it had been left without paint and window maintenance, particularly on the south side where visitors rarely see it. The windows along the south side were in terrible condition, with little glass left in them. A few posts along the west wall had sunk and needed to be raised back into their proper position.

In 2006 FEBT determined to rehabilitate the building’s exterior, including windows and siding. Work began on the west side, and by mid-2007 the west side was fully primed and painted, with window repairs complete and glass installed. In the summer of 2007 work moved to the dilapidated south side. The window sashes there were in such poor condition that they were all removed for complete rebuilding. The siding was power washed, primed and painted. The window trim was painted and the rebuilt sashes were reinstalled. The shops privy received the same treatment. In 2008 structural problems were found in the south wall and a post supporting a roof truss had to be jacked up and the sill under it replaced. Siding repair over the work area was completed in 2011.

In 2012 a boom lift was used to recoat the entire south roof of the building as well as the west side of the Locomotive Shop and as much of the north roof of the Boiler Shop as could be reached.

The north side of the building still needs attention, with many damaged windows and deteriorated building sills that will need replaced. Work has progressed on these windows as time allows.