THIS IS THE FIRST IN A SERIES OF ARTICLES ON THE PAST HISTORY AND CURRENT STATUS OF THE MAJOR PIECES OF PSRMA ROLLING STOCK AND EQUIPMENT.
PSRMA's first piece of rolling stock probably came closer to an untimely end by the scrapper's torch than any other piece of Museum equipment. Indeed, the first place the ex-Santa Maria Valley Railroad's railbus #9 was seen was in a salvage yard.
It was early in 1965 when PSRMA member Terry Durkin noticed this unique piece of rolling stock sitting in the yard of the Valley Pipe & Salvage Company of Santa Maria, California. The #9 had not travelled far from her original home as the salvage company was located just across the street from the old Santa Maria Valley Railroad depot.
Letters were written, and Sam Berkowitz, owner of Valley Pipe & Salvage, consented to donate #9 to PSRMA rather than scrap her. The first Sunday in June of 1965 saw PSRMA members Durkin, Dick Pennick, and Victor Koenigsberg loading the old railbus onto a rented trailer for the 300 mile trip to San Diego and the backyard of member Lee Adams.
Among the major repairs necessary for restoration was the replacement of both the drive shaft and the radiator shell. A letter to Fairmont Motor Cars Corporation revealed these parts were no longer available for the 1932 railbus.
Restoration went ahead, though, with a new drive shaft being fitted and the deteriorating body completely rejuvenated. Further complications set in when the #9 had to be moved to the home of member Walt Hayward.
The railbus was moved once again on April 3rd of this year to the home of Master Mechanic Bob DiGiorgio. It was intended that a winch truck owned by member Wally Barber would be used to load the bus onto a rented automobile trailer for the 3-mile move to Santee from Hayward's property in Lakeside. However, the winch truck was needed for a last-minute repair job by Wally's firm so ingenuity became the order of the day. A hand-operated "car mover" was discovered on the premises, and the bus was laborously wenched, inch by inch, onto the trailer. At length all was secure, and the trek was made to Bob's amid curious stares by passerbys.
Old #9 was unloaded in front of the shed Bob had cleaned out for the occasion and the built-in jack under the center of the bus was used effectively to position the bus, lining it up with the doorway of the shed. Everything seemed to be progressing satisfactorily until someone noticed the fact the height of the shed doorway was about 4" less than that of the railbus. When last seen, a bright orange railbus was parked in the middle
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