FEBT Restoration – Car Shop

The EBT Car Shop is part of the railroad’s main shops complex, and the largest shop building in Rockhill. The original portion of the Car Shop was in place in the late 1880s. The two track structure was lengthened and widened to three tracks in the 1910s. The Car Shop was used in the construction and maintenance of the EBT’s fleet of rolling stock. Over 250 cars were constructed from the frame up inside the shop, including all the railroad’s flatcars, boxcars, and cabooses, and over 200 hoppers.

Although generally sound, the building had a number of structural problems. On the north end the westernmost door post had rotted at its base and sunk, causing the door to bind. The north track doors all had structural issues. On the south end three of the posts had rotted at their bases and sunk about eight inches. This gave the building a slight lean and caused all the south track doors to bind and be contorted. Some of the door posts on the south end had rotted as well. The siding on the north end doors needed much repair and the siding on the south end doors was in very bad shape. All the windows on the west and south sides and 15 of the 22 windows on the east side were in very bad condition. The four north windows needed work as well.

Work on the shop began in 2002 with the rehabilitation of the 15 windows on the east side of the building. These windows were in bad shape and were clearly visible from the passing train. In 2003 work moved to the north side of the building. There, the two sets of track doors received extensive repairs. The header on the west doorway was raised 18 inches to avoid accidents with the caboose copulas, which had hit it in the past. A great deal of damaged siding was repaired. The siding was all power washed and rough spots sanded, and the entire wall was primed and painted. The four windows were rebuilt as needed, primed, painted and reinstalled. The small man door was also repaired. In 2004 attention was given to some of the seven windows on the east side that were in moderate shape. Three of them received repairs, primer and paint. In the winter of 2005 the EBT crew worked to jack up the rotted posts on the southwest corner of the building.

At present work on the shops complex is focused on the neighboring shop buildings. When focus returns to the Car Shop, the southwest posts will be set on new foundations. Work on rebuilding and recreating the window sashes on the south and west walls continues as an assortment of take-home projects. The doors on the south side will need much attention and the walls on the west, south and east sides will need to be power washed, primed and painted.