The foundation of seat cushions constructed in 1929 are sound enough to be re-used in this ADA railcar renovation project. The board of directors were shown the first seats to be reupholstered with new materials. Material was specified by Clarity Design for its commercial flame retardant & wear qualities as well as being a product of a major donor.
The fabric was sourced from DesignTex, a subsidiary of The Steelcase Corporation. The Steelcase Foundation is one of the current, top five donors to this project. Steelcase provided a $25,000 matching grant towards the renovation and utilization of the former Pullman railcar to handicap accessibility.
Seats and arm rests are of a washable vinyl material with the backs adding a visual appeal. A krypton coating helps to keep the backs maintenance-free as well.
The original cushions were disassembled by Doc’s Upholstery of Marne, Michigan. John Doctor then replaced the cushion material and fitted the new fabric to the original 1929 frames. All of the materials to re-upholster the five seating berths have been ordered, paid and delivered. Additional fundraising will pay for the labor to complete the re-upholstery.
The original seats in this 10-1-1 Pullman Sleeper were designed to fold flat with a mattress overlay for sleeping accomodations. Heavy curtains then provided privacy and sound deadening for overnight rest. Convertible sleeping sections soon grew out of favor when private compartments became preferable to riders. For a period, the convertible seats and overhead bunks continued to be used inside the compartments and drawing rooms. Porters working on the sleepers would change the seats to sleeping orientation. Upper bunks were supplied with call buttons to have porters bring a ladder for ingress and egress as needed.
Once this ADA railcar project is completed, five of the original sections will have been renovated to original operating condition for use and for historical education purposes. The ADA railcar will be able to accommodate up to 10 wheelchairs with an onboard lift for loading and unloading.