CVSR Saint Lucie Sound Restoration
Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization working in partnership with the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, is raising funds in support of a comprehensive renovation and repair project for our Saint Lucie Sound car. This six-month, $241,550 project will ensure that this luxury executive observation car will be safe, sound, comfortable and operationally ready to meet the growing needs of the organization.
Your donation is fully tax deductible. You will receive a formal acknowledgement letter and receipt from Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.
The Saint Lucie Sound has been many places and been many things to many people since it was built in 1946 by the Budd Company for the Florida East Coast Railroad. For the first twenty years of its life, Saint Lucie Sound served as an elegant bar-lounge-observation car on the luxury trains The Champion and Silver Meteor which linked Florida with New York and Boston. In 1968 it was sold to the Jersey Coast Commuters Club of Bay Head, New Jersey where it spent eight years shuttling commuters between Bay Head and Jersey City. When it was purchased by Eastern Railcar Services in 1976, Saint Lucie Sound underwent major design changes to increase its versatility. In 1986 it was sold to a private Canadian corporation, Canadian General Tower, who selected award-winning designer, Don Palmer, to refurbish and redecorate the car to serve as a mobile boardroom, business entertainment facility and luxury private rail car.
In 1994, local businessman and philanthropist Dennis B. Haslinger acquired Saint Lucie Sound and loaned it to CVSR for use. Dennis served as President of the Board of Trustees from 1993 through 1995. Upon his death in 1995, the Haslinger family gifted the car to CVSR and it has since represented our railroad as one of the few remaining examples of luxury train travel. Dennis’ vision enabled the railroad to grow and successfully preserve rail history. Saint Lucie Sound is dedicated to Dennis Haslinger in honor of his vision and inspiration, as well as for making it made it possible to acquire this unique rail car.
During its twenty-year service to CVSR, an estimated 29,000 passengers have enjoyed riding in Saint Lucie Sound through Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The car has traveled an estimated 13,000 miles since joining the CVSR fleet. It is used year-round on our National Park Scenic excursions and on our Polar Express holiday trains as the premium executive-class seating option, as well as dozens of charters and numerous special excursions annually, including our newly-revitalized Dinner Along the Cuyahoga and Brunch Along the Cuyahoga excursions, Grape Escape wine–tasting trains and Ales on the Rails beer-tasting events, and numerous CVSR donor/member stewardship events.
Saint Lucie Sound has received regularly-schedule, routine, preventive maintenance … but 20 years of continuous service and 13,000 miles of travel while carrying 29,000 passengers have taken its toll. The car was pulled out of service at the end of December 2014 to begin extensive restoration and repair project. It is estimated to return to the fleet in early-summer 2015.
Project Work Plan and Budget
The overall budget for our restoration project is $241,550—comprising the following:
Interior Restoration – $99,550
Bedroom I – Convert into a storage room for essential goods used by the kitchen, bar and service staff.
Bedroom II – Restore room to the style and condition it appeared as after Canadian General Tower’s 1986 refurbishing; change upholstery; repair, refinish/paint walls ceiling, woodwork, hardware, etc.
Bedroom III – To be converted into a public coat room; change upholstery; install sink with hot/cold water; install small storage cabinet; build and install coat racks.
Bar/Lounge Area – Extremely important area as it is the welcome area for passengers and will house a Dennis Haslinger Memorial. Install corner sofa or bench and two high-top bar tables.
Conference/Dining Area – restore existing 10’ multipurpose conference table, purchase 12 conference/dining chairs; and upholster seating for Observation area.
Other (including bedrooms hallway) – Clean, wash, prep and refinish as needed and as appropriate all exposed surfaces (ceilings, walls, partition metal/plastic parts) and apply appropriate coatings on exposed surfaces when needed; several small, nesting service tables; cover all walls and ceilings with appropriate covering. All other surfaces will be painted as needed.
Mechanical/Structural Repairs – $142,000
HVAC system upgrade; Windows (inside and exterior gaskets, tint, labor); Clean stainless steel/undercarriage; Seal roof; Paint side / undercarriage; Restore drumhead/markers; Remodel bathroom; Audio & visual systems; Kitchen appliances; Rebuild water system; Rail truck repairs.