Saltair Cars Restoration

Salt Lake, Garfield and Western Open Air Saltair Cars Restoration

Proposal to Restore by Scott M. Pitman, Restoration Expert, 16 May, 2012

Brief History378283d8-6a41-4145-9692-3212b15547f7

The following courtesy of

301-313 Open Excursion Cars

Built by SLG&W in 1922. Four survive. Two were donated to the Sons of the Utah Pioneers and displayed at their museum in Corinne, Utah. In 1979 the collection was “sold” to the Timpomogos Preservation society, operator of the Heber Creeper at the time. The entire Corinne SUP collection went to Heber City in 1980. After the end of Heber Creeper operations one, now numbered 306 (at this point no one is sure of the original number), went to the Western Railway Museum, Rio Vista Junction, California. The other remained on the old Heber Creeper property and is now on the Heber Valley Railroad, Heber City, Utah property but it needs a new home. The other two were donated by the SLG&W to the Promontory Chapter, NRHS which then donated to the Utah State Railroad Museum, Ogden, Utah. The one in the best condition is at the Western Railway Museum, Rio Vista Junction, California.

Inspection Report


The following is an excerpt from a car inspection performed under the authorization of Mr. Mike S. Phillippie, Sr. Manager of Terminal Operations, Union Pacific Railroad, in Ogden, Utah on 21 August, 2012 by his car inspectors.  The excerpt presented here pertains to the open air Salt Lake, Garfield and Western excursion cars.

“The tour cars have holes in all wheels, dry journals, couplers are obsolete too small to handle in train.  One has a missing coupler that was pulled out last time car was moved.  Train line is missing on same end the coupler was pulled out.  Some brake shoes are burnt in (shoes are obsolete).  handbrake are inoperable I don’t believe the air brakes work either. “

In summary, it is my understanding that although one of the “Saltair” cars is on the UP-Utah Central interchange in Harrisville, Utah (the other is still at BDO) Union Pacific cannot move it in a regularly scheduled train.  However, with the proper FRA waivers, they MAY be able to move the car(s) from the interchange to Union Station for storage and subsequent restoration using a non-scheduled train.

Restoration Team

The cars  are owned by the City of Ogden, UT. Responsibility for the operation of the Union Station museum complex and management of the collection resides with the Ogden Union Station Foundation, a non profit 501 (c)(3) corporation. The Golden Spike Chapter of the Railway and Locomotive Historical Society is a non-profit corporation focused on preserving and restoring the equipment in the collection for the enjoyment of museum visitors. The Utah State Railroad Museum Authority assists with seeking funding.



Restoration Plan

Both cars are currently in storage at an offsite location. The immediate goal is to cosmetically restore the two Salt Air cars in the Utah State Railroad Museum commection for public display. There is the potential that a future project will continue work on these cars and take them to an operational state. That is beyond the scope of the current project. Restoration will be completed in two phases.

  • Inspect and clean frame, trucks, and coupler assemblies.
  • Coupler pocket/hanger on one of the cars broken off of frame and will require repair.
  • Paint frame, trucks, and coupler assemblies.
  • Paint color should be black (gloss finish).


  • Remove all side platform steps and grab rails.
  • Remove all seats and associated brackets.
  • Remove electrical conduit and lighting fixtures on interior ceiling.
  • Remove flooring and replace with new 1” x 3” tongue and groove flooring.
  • Replace missing pieces on interior ceiling.
  • Using existing seat support brackets as patterns, fabricate new.
  • Media blast all hand rails, grab irons, seat brackets.
  • Sand end bulkheads and inside ceiling.
  • Prime all bare wood and metal pieces.
  • Inspect sheet metal roofing and Replace as necessary.
  • Coat with black roofing sealer.
  • Paint flooring, seats, interior ceiling, and end bulkheads.
  • Install new electrical conduit and light fixtures.


We gladly accept donations of materials to our projects, to donate contact

Steve Jones, president of the GSNLRHS

Email –


  • Flooring 1” x 3” tongue and groove (original).
  • Alternate  1” x  3” trex® composite deck flooring (not original but low maintenance).
  • Requires 432 square feet per car
  • 120 planks per car @ $22.47 per plank; $2696.40 per car; $5392.80 total for two cars
  • Side steps 2” x  8”, 2” x 10”, 2” x 12”
  • 2” x 8” x 8’ lg – 14 required per car @ $5.97 ea
  • Total $167.16
  • 2” x 10” x 8’ lg – 14 required per car @ $8.12 ea
  • Total $227.36
  • 2” x 12” x 8’ lg – 14 required per car @ $10.22 ea
  • Total $286.16
  • Seat support brackets 2” x 10”
  • Can use existing brackets for a master pattern.
  • Seat slats
  • Interior ceiling slats


  • All paint should be modern 2k automotive type primer and top coat (either single stage or base coat/clear coat) for durability.
  • Gloss black (frame and trucks).
  • 3 gallons required @ $64.00/gallon; $192.00 total
  • Pullman green end bulkheads and seats.
  • 3 gallons required @ $80.00 per gallon including activator; $240.00 total
  • Optional: varnished natural seat slats – 3 gallons @ $40.00 per gallon; $120.00 total
  • Gray or black (flooring)
  • 2 gallons per car @ $30.00 per gallon; $120.00 total

Roofing materials

  • Original wood slats with tar covered canvas.
  • Currently covered with galvanized sheet metal.
  • Suggest keeping sheet metal and coating with black roofing sealer.


  • Electrical conduit
  • Electrical wiring
  • Electric light fixtures
  • Estimate approximately $100.00 per car; $200.00 total
  • Hardware (bolts, screws, nuts, washers) – $40.00 per car; $80.00 total


This project is currently in a fundraising phase.  Click here for updates on the restoration of the Saltair Cars and other projects.