Ex-B&LE Steam Locomotive Move to AOS Underway

The move of former Bessemer & Lake Erie 2-10-4 No. 643 to the Age of Steam Roundhouse began recently with the arrival of a trailers loaded with parts from the locomotive.

In a news release, AOS said the parts were removed from the locomotive, which has sat for several years in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, and catalogued, tagged and photographed.

Among the parts that have been removed and documented have been both sand domes, two air compressors, air tanks, lubricators, piping and a smoke box door.

The news release said AOS personnel have been pleasantly surprised that most nuts and bolts were removed after applying plenty of penetrating oil. However, some parts had to be heated or removed with a torch.

Directing the disassembly work was Tim Sposato, AOS’s chief mechanical officer, and Michael Venezia, project manager for the transport of No. 643

AOS staff have been meeting with city officials, crane operators and heavy-haul trucking companies to conduct route studies in preparation for moving the 643.

Because the weight of the locomotive might damage underground utilities, it might be necessary to move the locomotive’s frame, driving wheels and running gear by rail on a multi-axle flat car.

Current plans call for moving the tender, boiler and all removed component parts by truck.

A film crew has been documenting the move of the 643 and plans to create a documentary to be shown at the roundhouse.

They are using drone cameras during the heavy lifting, loading and movement phases of the project.

The documentary program will feature video of the locomotive being taken apart, moved and reassembled.

It will also include historic film and interviews. AOS is seeking information and stories from those who worked with No. 643 during the past 30 years.

If you have stories and photos to share, contact AOS through its website at www.ageofsteamroundhouse.org

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