Welding to Preserve History

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Bernie Bisnette has no blueprints, no boss, and no clue where to begin.  His only companions on the job are his welding tools and the trolley car in front of him that he’s about to restore.

A streetcar to desire [again]

Welder/fabricator gets century-old trolleys back on track

By Amanda Carlson
July 27, 2009

Welder/fabricator Bernie Bisnette takes the corroded, worn-down, and skeletal remains of trolley cars and restores them to their original appearance for the Seashore Trolley Museum, Kennebunkport, Maine.

eastern-massachusetts-street-railwayAs the only metalworking restoration technician at the Seashore Trolley Museum, Kennebunkport, Maine, Bernie Bisnette likens his job to a case of attention deficit disorder (ADD). Bouncing around from one trolley project to another and switching gears from removing rivets, to annealing work-hardened steel, to building up components worn down by years of corrosion are enough to make anyone wonder.

While it can be a lot for just one person to handle, the retired Marine Corps aircraft maintenance mechanic remembers that the job requires no blueprints, no expensive equipment, and allows him to be 100 percent creative. The best part is he finds his escape from the high-stress, fast-paced computer-driven world when it”s just him and a 100-year-old piece of American history. What could be better?

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