Conservation of the Collection
An ongoing activity of the museum is conservation of the collection. This is a vitally important task for a number of reasons. Firstly, many items in the collection are unique and irreplaceable, and therefore if they were to be lost to our collection, would not exist anywhere else. Secondly, may of the items are too large to store under cover. As the museum does not yet have a covered display building, these larger items are stored out in the open, subject to the vagaries of the Dorrigo climate.
As a result, the museum expends considerable amounts of both money and volunteer labour on conservation. In terms of passenger cars, the focus of this effort is waterproofing. Many of the carriages in the collection have wooden roofs, which have been covered with a bituminous or other similarly waterproof material for waterproofing. Out in the sun and the rain, this material hardens and cracks, allowing the ingress of rainwater. The museum has a regular program of re-roofing these vehicles.
The process starts with the removal the original damaged material where it is so damaged that it would create undue irregularities in the new roofing material - this process sometimes taking the roof back to the underlying timber. Then sheets of a bituminous product called malthoid are prepared and cut to size. This material is applied to the roof, generally with th e sheets running across the car, and the joints are sealed with a bituminous paste. The roof material is generally fixed using galvanised nails at sufficient density to prevent the material being lifted off by the wind. Finally, a coat of heat-reflective silver paint is applied to reduce the effects of the sun.
Many freight guard vans are also treated in the same way. This photograph shows PHG23288 after a new roof has been applied, and it has received a repaint.
(*) - These pictures are large, and may take some time to download