Dirty Hands Club

Ed Jr, Steve and Doug installing the sheet metal floor on the coal area of the tender.

A group of Society members/volunteers christened the "Dirty Hands Club" by Helen Tucker, meet every Wednesday and Saturday mornings in the back shop located at 2495 Lancaster Road, Ottawa Ontario, part of the Canada Science and Technology Museum's campus.

These dedicated people work to preserve The Society's Equipment. Painting, sanding, welding, scraping and woodworking are just some of the tasks performed by these members. The work not only serves to preserve but to fully restore our equipment to operating condition, especially for the summer months.

The summary articles below will give you a glimpse into the ongoing work that is being performed by the Dirty Hands Club. The seasonal descriptions below of the work being done are just snapshots of all the work our volunteers do. There is much more that goes on behind the scene by these dedicated members

For more in-depth details about restoration work please visit our Dirty Hands Club Blog.  You can also visit our DHC Photo Gallery on Flickr.

If you currently are a Society member with an interest in working to preserve railway heritage equipment, then Contact Us and we can get you started. We're always looking for an extra pair of hands!



A lot has happened since our last report and the "Dirty Hands Club" has been very busy continuing their work on the Society's equipment. In early 2010, projects focused on inside jobs but with the early spring, work could start earlier than usual on outside work.

Tender Painting

Needle Gun Work on Tender

There was significant emphasis on the crane's tender to finally get it completed this year.

Photo a left:   In May 2010, volunteers were busy chipping away at the paint on the tender side using needle guns.

At the start of the year, there was still a lot of metal work to be done. However, much has been accomplished, including new access panels for the tank, new cross members in the tank and a metal floor covering in the coal bunker. A cold water sealer was applied to the inside walls of the tank and more primer painting was done on other parts of the tender. There were lots of other "odd jobs" to do and still more to come as the tender restoration nears completion.

Despite all the work on the tender, volunteers managed to move forward on the restoration of Canadian National Baggage Car No. 9627. The immediate emphasis has been to visually restore it on one side so Museum visitors can see it (from the parking lot) as it once looked.

At the end of April, the car was moved into the shop so the diaphragms could be installed. While inside, some sandblasting was done for eventual painting. Once the car was moved outside again, the roof received a coat of black paint and one side of the car was painted green. In the meantime, patching and sand blasting continued on the other side of the car and more work was done on the two ends.

Despite all this work, other pieces of equipment were not neglected. Work continued on rewiring the former Ottawa Central Railway Motor Car and this proved to be quite complex. However, the crew assigned to this work have done a great job and the Motor Car will be as good as new.

Other volunteers continued to work on Canadian National 1958 Pontiac Station Wagon Hy-Rail after the engine was returned and the rear axle replaced. Car 26 will be in top condition once all the work is completed. At the same time, some work was done on Canadian Pacific Caboose 436436 and our pride and joy, Thurso & Nation Valley Official's Car No. 27.

When summer arrived, the Dirty Hands Club gang also had to take on the various duties in the operation of the Museum's Shay locomotive. Nonetheless, work continues on our equipment. There is still lots to do so.

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DHC Links

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

DHC Files

DHC Blog

DHC Photo Gallery

Photo Courtesy of Garry Knight, Flickr

Museum Shop Map