New Brunswick

Hillsborough rail museum turns cars over to paint ball business

A couple of pieces from New Brunswick's Railway Museum in Hillsborough are getting an unusual paint job — one done with paint balls.

Old dining car and sleeper car used as props for people playing paint ball games in field

Aaron Nelson in the old dining car that his paint ball business is using as a prop in Hillsborough. (Denis Calnan/CBC)

A couple of pieces from New Brunswick's Railway Museum in Hillsborough are getting an unusual paint job — one done with paint balls.

With the museum unable to afford the upkeep on some of its cars, a decision had to be made about what to do with them.

"We were debating what do we do?" said curator Art Clowes.

"You know, how can we look after them ourselves? And basically we can't. We just don't have the people and the money to keep restoration of them."

Art Clowes, the curator of the New Brunswick Railway Museum, said he isn't concerned about the museum's old rail cars being used as paint ball props until the museum is able to restore them. (Denis Calnan/CBC)
Clowes spoke with Aaron Nelson, who runs the paint ball business next door.

The two decided they would both benefit if the paint ball business took over care of the rail cars until the museum gets enough volunteers and money to restore the cars.

Nelson took the old diner car and sleeper car from the museum to use as props for paint ball and air soft enthusiasts.

Nelson said these cars were never display pieces so he believes this partnership is helping to ensure that they are staying around.

"They're not maybe a show piece but they're still railway cars and opposed to being scraps, they'll be still alive and well here," he said.

"I think people are still going to appreciate those cars despite not being up at the railway museum."

Nelson says he'll do some minimal work to upkeep the cars.

The old rail cars in Hillsborough already bear the scars of some paint ball wars. (Denis Calnan/CBC)
Nelson is among those in the area who has memories of the cars.

"When I was a teenager I worked at the Salem Hillsborough Railroad," he said.

"I was a trainman and conductor. And we'd run all the way up to Baltimore, in behind Riverview, on them. So it's certainly a deja vu to be involved with those again."

The museum curator acknowledges some train enthusiasts may not like museum pieces being shot at with paint ball guns, but it doesn't trouble him.

"It doesn't bother me in the least," said Clowes.

"I look at the long-term bit. Yes, there's going to be bits of complaints here and there. But this to me it's nothing. It's just a stage."

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