RESTORATION OF THE WERNERSVILLE TRAIN STATION
DONATIONS AND CONTRIBUTIONS
The Heidelberg Heritage Society greatly appreciates donations of items related to our local history to be archived for preservation and to share with the cummunity. Any items – old tickets, train schedules, photos, or any item related to the railroad would be most welcomed for inclusion in the display at the station. Items related to the Reading or the Philadelphia and Reading railroad would be of special interest.
Your memories of the station – the appearance of the interior, trips you took from our station or other antidotes would also be appreciated. We would be especially interested in hearing from anyone who might have worked at the station in any capacity.
Photo taken prior to beginning of restoration
June 27, 2003
The train station, and 0.077 acres of land on which the station is situated is conveyed to the Heidelberg Heritage Society from Hoover Motor Co. for $1.00. Hoover Motors also donated two parking spaces, pedestrian easements and vehicular access through their property.
The Society partnered with Spotts Stevens and McCoy (now SSM Group) to evaluate the building prior to the purchase. SSM Group continued to be the engineering firm that handled all phases of the professional restoration project which was primarily handled by Mr. Randy Rentschler.
The deteriorated roof had allowed a great deal of rainwater to enter the building and there was significant damage evident to the walls, flooring, and interior fixtures. The first identified priority was to replace the slate roof.
September 2003 A contract was awarded for $46,159 to replace the slate roof, sheathing, flashing, rafters, and bearings for rafters. This work was paid out of general funds of the Society.
SAFETY - PHASE I
This phase involved the removal and disposal of asbestos-containing material related to the furnace and heating system. Deteriorated flooring on the first floor of the building was replaced. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation awarded a grant of $52,900 toward the costs associated with this phase in April 2004.
SERVICE - PHASE II
The improvements in this phase of the project included the installation of underground water, sewer and electric lines. An oil fired forced air heating system (with future provision for air conditioning) was installed along with duct work into floor registers. The registers are covered with period reproductions in black powder coated cast iron. One bathroom is now operational with hot and cold running water in the original sink. The station’s original water fountain has been cleaned and restored and is operational in the main lobby area.
This phase of the restoration has made a tremendous improvement in the long range stabilization of the building which can now be heated during the winter months to prevent damage from freezing temperatures, not to mention the comfort of volunteers who are there working on other projects.
This project was funded by a Transportation Enhancement Grant from PennDOT in the amount of $60,500. This construction contract was awarded to A. H. Moyer, Inc. of Myerstown, Pa. The contractor began work on April 5, 2010 and finished on June 11, 2010, just in time to have the improvements shown to the public during the Taste of Wernersville open house when about 350 people visited the station.
OCCUPANCY – PHASE III
The Society applied to PennDOT and received approval for our third Transportation Enhancement Grant in March of 2011. This project included: new side walks and curbs with a handicap ramp access; re-pointing of much of the exterior stone walls; new electrical wiring with emergency lighting; insulation above the first floor ceiling; new plaster walls and ceilings; and the replacement of all missing wood work and trim. Bids on this work were opened on 7-16-12 and Associated Construction Group, Shillington, Pa., was awarded the contract. Associated assigned master carpenter Tom Bialek as project foreman. Tom did an outstanding job of getting the project to completion and his skills are show cased throughout the station. Demolition work began in October of 2012 and the project was concluded at the end of February 2013. This $224,896 project finished the restoration and a Certificate of Occupancy was issued after all the necessary inspections were completed. Three signs were made to replicate the originals which would hung on the platform to identify the Wernersville station to passengers and these were installed on the roof overhang. After the floors were refinished, we began to furnish and decorate the interior with artifacts that the Society had in storage, some of which were from the original station while others are similar to items that would have existed in the station. A newsletter request to our members resulted in very generous contributions of cash (used to purchase furnishings) as well as donations of antique artifacts. The completed and furnished building was opened to the public for the first time on June 8, 2013.
ADDITIONAL REHABILITATION PROJECTS
The roof over the perimeter sidewalks on the east, north, and west sides of the station were constructed by Preston Weaver of Mountain View Builders in late May of 2013. In addition to complementing the completed restoration, the roof affords protection to the lower portion of the building.
Three of the windows originally had hand-forged iron bar grates to protect the contents of the baggage room and the station master's office. However only one existed when the Society aquired the station. We contracted with Mascot Machine Shop in New Holland to have two new units made which replicate the original window grate. The grates were installed in July 2013.