The Mercy train is on track to be completely repainted by Thanksgiving, although its move date from Whittington Park to Depot Park has been delayed.
“It looks amazing. It’s all white and primed,” said Barb Carter, Ardmore Main Street Authority chairperson.
Carter said a lot of detailed planning is going into the restoration of the train including what parts of the train should be silver, black or white and how they can manufacture certain missing pieces to make it as historically accurate as possible.
Todd Yeagar, who has been heading up the Depot Park project, said lettering will be taped off and black paint should go on the train Monday. The team that has been painting the train, the team helping move the train and LandPlan Consultants are meeting Tuesday morning to discuss the train’s move to its new home.
“We still don’t have the specifications from LandPlan as to what the concrete pedestal needs to be, structurally. Once we get that, we’ll be able to go out and contact some local concrete people that are interested in helping,” Yeagar said.
While the initial goal was to have the train moved by December, Yeagar said LandPlan likely will not have the specifications for the concrete pad until mid-January.
There is still some ongoing debate regarding the platform, as well. LandPlan’s design incorporates a slanted platform where the front of the train would be two feet higher than the end, so when someone is driving down Main Street, it would give the impression the train was heading toward you, Yeagar said.
“That’s all well and fine, except that the actual people that know about trains say that you need to level the track,” he said, adding it could cause a safety issue. “It could pose a problem at some point and we’re trying to avoid any of that.”
Once the platform is ready and the train is moved, crews will then work on clearing the area where the train was repaired in order to comply with Environmental Protection Agency standards.
“Part of the problem is, once you remove the tent then we’re going to have all the lead-based paint that’s been blown off the train there. So until the train is moved, we can’t come and clean it up,” Yeagar said.
When the train is moved, the top soil will be scooped up and sent to the EPA to be tested to determine whether or not they can dispose of it in a landfill.
“Based on the amount of sand that was used to blast it off with this other additive, it’s supposed to get below the EPA requirements of what can be disposed of in the landfill,” Yeagar said.
New top soil and sod will then be placed over the area where the train used to sit.