FEBT Restoration – Boxcar 168
Boxcar 168 was constructed in the EBT Rockhill Shops as part of a five-car lot. It served the EBT faithfully for 36 years until the end of common carrier service. After tourist service began in 1960, sister cars 170 and 181 were restored for use in charter photo trains and for transporting equipment to Colgate Grove. Boxcar 175 was converted into a passenger car in 1960 to augment the small number of historic passenger cars the railroad still had. But car 168 sat with other disused cars in the Rockhill yard, used only for storage.
In late 2005 FEBT undertook repairs to Combination Passenger Car 15. After two years of tear-down, it was found that the issues with that car would take many years to overcome. Another car was needed in the passenger train to replace the capacity of 15.
In 2007 it was decided to pull two cars from the dead line. While Boxcar 174 would be restored to its original configuration, Boxcar 168 was to be converted into a passenger car in much the same way that Boxcar 175 had been converted. Additionally the EBT had not had a handicapped accessible car in its fleet. Boxcar 168 would be so equipped.
Boxcar 168 was selected because it was in good enough condition
to be converted in a reasonable amount of time and because it had no unusual features that made it unique. At the same time Boxcar 174 had unusual features and was selected restored to its historic appearance.
The car was relocated from its long resting place in the yard to the turntable escape track in early 2007. Work commenced by removing part of the side sheets to create window openings and doorways. New wider eaves were constructed for the roof and a new roof covering installed. The old battered floorboards were removed for access to the frame and mechanicals. Many corroded metal components had to be cut away and replacements welded in. Benches were constructed for the car and window frames in The entire car was primed and painted. An electro-hydraulic wheelchair lift was installed in the car with a storage battery and a solar panel to maintain charge.
The car entered service for the 2008 Fall Spectacular. The first weekend of service a disabled EBT fan who had been coming to the railroad for years was able to take his first train ride at the EBT.