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Platform to give Old West feel to museum

by Kurt Hildebrand

The new boarding platform at the Nevada State Railroad Museum will offer the Old West feel of planks underfoot using a newfangled material.

Acting Museum Director Dan Thielen said the Trex composite boards will allow visitors to get a boardwalk feel without the high maintenance costs of a wooden walkway.

“Half the deck will be in place for the Thanksgiving steam-up next week, and we will have the rest complete by the time we have the Santa Train,” Thielen said.

The platform will replace the decaying concrete platform.

“Someone tried to texture the concrete like bricks, and it never worked out very well,” Thielen said.

“There were drainage problems, and we had problems getting people with disabilities up into the train. This will make it easier for everyone to get on the train.”

The material used for the decking is Trex, a composite of recycled plastic and waste wood. The material was donated by Trex Co., its regional distributor OrePac and Carson City’s Meek’s Lumber. Officials from all three companies will visit the site today to meet with staff members.

“Everything was mostly donated. We had to come up with a little bit of cash, but Trex was able to donate all the materials and Meek’s donated a lot of the supporting material.”

The platform will occupy 2,600 square feet.

“We have been working on the underlying structure, and we’ll start covering that this week,” he said. “Support staff has been building the trusses.”

Trex decking has been around for about a decade and has used 250 million pounds of plastic from recycled grocery bags and milk jugs that might have otherwise gone to the dump.

“Trex says it is good for the environment because there are so many milk bottles and grocery bags not going to the landfill, but for us it provides a nice Old West feel,” Thielen said. “It is pretty tough to build with good lumber anymore. This lets us build a deck with a boardwalk feel of a train station without having to be out there and replacing boards every year.”