HELENA – A group of Helena High School welding students worked on a rusty and worn iconic Helena archive to make it new again helping preserve a portion of Helena’s history.
After working for three months, the high school students revived the original Last Chance Tour Train so that it could be repurposed as a jungle gym.
Caden Crow, Helena High student said, “It was rusted through in a ton of places, so a lot of work had to be done to fix it.”
Helena High teacher, Cindy Galbavy said, “It was in tough shape, but not in that bad of shape for a 1954 item that’s been sitting out in a field.”
The students worked tirelessly to finish the project for the Montana Historical Society.
Jared Bingham, Helena High student, said, “I helped start with the design of the new roof, the new arches and that I helped draw up on the computer.”
The little engine had been sitting in a field in Jefferson City for an unknown amount of time before it was shipped to Helena High’s welding shop.
Galbavy added, “So our students got a life-time skill that most kids do not receive in a welding shop. They took an original item, put a frame in it, modified it and then made sure it’s a safe item.”
“It was new to be working on something old and trying to make it new,” Bingham said.
The project presented the students with a number of problem solving and new experiences.
“Putting a new front end on – we had to cut off the right side to put a new side on and then we had to put a new back plate on the back and then put new wheels on and put a steering wheel in and then redo the entire interior cab,” Crow said.
The next stop for the train is a paint job and then it’ll go on display, at the Montana Historical Society, where the home current Tour Trains reside.
Crow added it’s, “Pretty satisfying…a lot of hard work going into it.”
“You’re taking something that means something to somebody else already and making it new to mean something to more people, to new people,” Bingham contributed.
Taking a rusty and worn bit of Helena history and making it new again that’s what makes these welding students a class act.