As a memorial tribute to Duncan du Fresne, 1930-2012, the Society approached the Canada Science and Technology Museum with a proposal to restore the cab of CP 2858 to an as-built representation.  

The museum agreed, and the Society's Dirty Hands Club volunteers, led by John Bryant, tackled the project. 

The restoration allows museum visitors to see the inside of a steam locomotive cab as it would've appeared during it's working life.

The restored cab was formally unveiled at a special ceremony in April 2014 with Duncan's family as honourary guests.

Photo of the du Fresne family courtesy of Richard Lawrence Photography.

The following article originally appeared in Canadian Rail magazine, No. 560 • MAY - JUNE • 2014.

After the untimely death of one of the Bytown Railway Society's founding members in 2012, the Board of Directors sought an appropriate memorial for Duncan du Fresne. The Board felt that the restoration of the cab of Royal Hudson 2858, in the Canada Science and Technology 'Locomotive Hall', was a worth and suitable project to undertake – restore it to how it would have looked towards the end of its career in the late 1950s. The CSTM was approached, and with a few conditions, approved Bytown's funding and provision of labour. As could be expected, not all the necessary parts were at hand. Some did not come with the  locomotive when it was donated by the CPR, while some were removed or damaged after it was put on display.

Not to be deterred, Bytown's 'Dirty Hands Club' took on the tasks with great determination. Duncan was a friend and mentor to many, and they wanted the cab to look authentic. Replacement valves were made; where handles didn't exist, patterns were made an more cast. Alan Westland produced all the gauges and they look great! A few 'field trips' were made to Exporail to study sister Royal Hudson 2850, many photos and notes were taken.

The original boiler jacket was removed years ago in order to facilitate asbestos removal, and were found. Patterns were made so that those pieces too damaged  to be used could be fabricated. Once they were all made and fitted (after many trial fittings), the job of replacing all the missing parts could start. Other little tasks were also attended to: the frame around the roof vent was reconstructed; most of the floor was replaced. The cab seats were re-cushioned too!

Slowly the gauges, valves, piping and other accessories were replaced, and one could start to see what the cab would have looked like over 55 years ago whilestill in service. Working with the Museum, a new barrier was built and installed that will allow visitors to experience the work place for so many steam locomotive engineers and firemen, while protecting all the hard work of the volunteers. The photos don't do the restoration justice – come and see for yourselves!

Author: David Stremes

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For more in-depth Dirty Hands Club restoration reports and photos. Please check the links below.

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Photo Courtesy of Garry Knight, Flickr

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