Posts Tagged ‘railroad restoration’

SRI Restoring ex-C&NW 4-6-0 Locomotive

January 22, 2018

The Michigan-based Steam Railroading Institute plans to restore another steam locomotive to operating condition.

The group in Owosso has acquired former Chicago & North Western 4-6-0 No. 175 from the Mineral Range Railroad of Ishpeming, Michigan.

The R-1 class Ten-Wheeler locomotive will join a fleet that includes Pere Marquette 2-8-4 No. 1225 in pulling excursions on the Great Lakes Central Railroad.

No. 175 was built by Alco in Schenectady, New York, in 1908 and worked in Upper Michigan. It is one of three R-1s still in existence

“We’re very excited about a project that’s actually doable,” said SRI executive director Kimberly Springsdorf. “The 175 will be able to go places we can’t go with [No. 1225].”
Kevin Mayer, SRI’s chief mechanical officer, told Trains magazine that the organization decided to buy No. 175 after inspecting it last summer.

The inspection team, which included institute board member Preston Claytor and steam contractor Dan Pluta, determined during an ultrasound test of the boiler and a review of the running gear that restoration was feasible.
“This fits what we’re all about and helps fulfill our mission statement,” Mayer said.

No. 175 could potentially operate on the Great Lakes Central to Petoskey, Michigan, over a 71-stretch of track has bridges that cannot support the weight of the 1225.

SRI officials said they are now exploring fund-raising opportunities to pay for restoration of No. 175, which will be moved by truck to Owosso in June

 

Advertisements

Stately Station in Galion

January 11, 2018

The former New York Central passenger station in Galion, Ohio, is slowly being restored. The different colors of the siding is evidence of this being a work in progress.

Galion, Ohio, is one of many countless towns across America that the railroads have left behind.

Not literally, though, as there are still CSX trains passing through Galion, although fewer of them.

When railroads scale back operations in a town, they typically rip out unused tracks and raze abandoned buildings.

Somehow, though, the former New York Central depot in Galion has escaped that fate.

The last scheduled passenger train to serve this station halted on April 30, 1971. Penn Central served Galion with a nameless pair of trains between Cleveland and Indianapolis, and another pair between Cleveland and Columbus.

Since then, there has been a lot of talk and numerous studies about reviving intercity rail passenger service between Cleveland and Cincinnati over the 3-C corridor.

But those efforts have been blocked by anti-passenger train sentiment in the Ohio legislature and within the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Amtrak has operated some chartered trains that stopped for passengers in Galion, but otherwise these rails have been freight only.

During a visit there last July, it was apparent that the NYC depot in Galion is in a state of transition.

There was evidence of a restoration project in progress, but it seems to have a long way to go.

One of the more intriguing artifacts at the station site is a former station sign post.

NYC stations had brass plates with the name of a town affixed to a pole somewhere along the passenger platform.

The one in Galion has been moved away from the tracks and is missing its name plate.

But seeing it took me back to the days when such trains as the Ohio State Limited, Southwestern, Missourian, and Knickerbocker would pause here to pick up and discharge passengers.

Oh, the passenger history that this pole and lamp fixture have seen.

This post once told passengers that their train had stopped in Galion.

Bellevue Museum Gets Grant for Dome Car

December 21, 2017

The Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum in Bellevue has received a $10,000 grant from Trains magazine that will be used to restore the nation’s first dome car.

The money will be used to restore the dome section of the Silver Dome, a Chicago, Burlington & Quincy car that was modified from coach Silver Alchemy at the railroad’s shops in Aurora, Illinois, in 1945.

General Motors Vice President Cyrus Osborn is credited with coming up with the concept of a dome car while riding the head-end of a train through Colorado’s Glenwood Canyon in 1944.

The museum acquired Silver Dome from Amtrak in 1978. The Trains grant will be used to replace trim and Plexiglas that has become discolored. The museum also plans to restore the upholstery and carpets as well as do window sill work.

Trains received 40 applications for its 2017 Preservation Award. The grant program is now in its 18th year.

In another development, the Mad River museum said on its website recently that it has raised more than $70,000 toward its goal of $100,000 this year to use to acquire Nickel Plate Road steam locomotive 757.

The locomotive is currently at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg.

The Mad River museum plans to place No. 757 on static display once it arrives in Bellevue.

No. 757 had been set aside by the Nickel Plate Road to donate to Bellevue, but the city lacked a museum at the time. It therefore wound up being sent to Pennsylvania.

Mad River has said its overall fundraising goal is $250,000 of which $150,000 will be used to move the 757 to Bellevue.

On its website, the museum said if it raises $150,000 by next spring it will be able to move the 757 to Bellevue as early as next summer.

In recent months, Mad River volunteers and contractors have traveled to Strasburg to prepare the locomotive for shipment.

More information, including how to donate to the cause, visit  https://www.madrivermuseum.org/news.html

C&O 1309 Restoration 6 Months From Completion Once Another $530,000 in Funding is Secured

December 14, 2017

The completion of the restoration work to Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 is six months away once funding is in place.

Trains magazine reported on its website on Wednesday that Gary Bensman of Diversified Rail Services, a contractor doing the work on behalf of the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad, that $530,000 is needed to get the 1309 into steam.

Bensman told the magazine that the locomotive is about ready for a federally required hydrostatic test of the boiler.

He expects no surprises for the restoration that has been on again and off again due to funding issues and mechanical issues that have cropped up.

“We got the boiler done, had it full of water, and had pressure on it, but did not finish it 100 percent to have the FRA witness a full hydro test,” Bensman said. “With little more work, it can be ready.”

Bensman said about a dozen old staybolts need to be replaced. Once the hydrostatic test is completed, the grates and superheaters can go back in and a test fire up performed.

Some running gear work will need to be done before the engine can begin revenue service.

This past year has seen program made on restoring the 1309’s boiler.

“This year, we changed almost 800 staybolts, applied eight firebox patches, and installed a new rear flue sheet,” Bensman said. “A lot of that stuff was completed so the tubes could be put in during July and August. We’ve gone from a boiler with some 2,300 holes in it in June to none in November.”

The restoration work stalled last month after the WMSR ran out of money for the project.

Some work has continued on the wheels using specialized lathes at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Thus far the restoration of No. 1309, the last steam locomotive Baldwin built in 1949 for domestic service, has cost $1.8 million.

WMSR Executive Director John Garner said the tourist railroad is is committed to finishing 1309 restoration project.

Narrow Gauge Combine Moved to EBT

November 29, 2017

A combine car from the former Tuscarora Valley Railroad has been moved to the East Broad Top Railroad in Pennsylvania.

Car No.101 is in temporary storage on the EBT at Rockhill Furnace, Pennsylvania, where the Friends of the East Broad Top are helping to restore the car, which ran on a narrow-gauge line in another part of the state.

The car is the last remaining piece of rolling stock left from the 3-foot-gauge Tuscarora Valley, which ran for 27 miles from Port Royal to Blairs Mills in Juniata and Huntingdon counties between 1891 and 1934.

The Tuscarora Valley had intended to connect with the EBT’s Shade Gap branch at Richvale but never did.

The combine was built as a coach in the 1880s by Billmeyer & Small of York, Pennsylvania, and converted into a combine in 1916. The Tuscarora bought the car used in 1895.

In recent years, the car has been serving as a woodshed on a farm whose owner, Bernie Rowels, donated the carbody to the Friends of the East Broad Top.

After the Friend group was unable to move the car from Rowels’ property, the Darrow family acquired it and began restoration work.

The car has since been bought by Stephen Lane, a part-time steam engineer on the Everett Railroad, who arranged to have it sent to Rockhill Furnace.

The EBT is for sale and a long-term storage agreement cannot be achieved at this time. The EBT has not carried passengers since 2011.

C&O 1309 Restoration Runs Out of Money

November 18, 2017

Efforts to restore Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 have run out of steam. More to the point it has run out of money.

Western Maryland Scenic Railroad Executive Director John Garner remains optimistic the restoration can be completed and the tourist railroad is seeking additional funding.

However, he said the restoration will not be completed at the expense of the other operations.

“A lot of our visitors have the idea that we should throw all of our money into the 1309’s restoration, but that would bankrupt us,” Garner told Trains magazine.

He estimated WMSR needs least an additional $530,000 to complete No. 1309’s restoration and finding additional sources of money has been a slow process.

There have also been some disappointments, including less money than expected from photo freight charter trains that ran in October.

“I don’t think that we fully understood what was going on in the region on that weekend; there were several other railroad-themed events going on around the same time,” Garner told Trains.

Some grant sources look promising, but that money won’t arrive until late 2018 if it arrives at all.

The railroad is preparing to send out a round of 1,600 letters to plead for donations and will host more freight photo charters in February.

WMSR said the remaining running gear and boiler work is expected to cost $120,000 and $115,000 to complete.

To date, the restoration of No. 1309 has benefited from at least $400,000 from the State of Maryland.

Last spring the WMSR said it had spent $800,000 of its own money on the restoration. By August the project had consumed $1.8 million.

Aside from funding issues, work on the 1309 restoration has been hindered by mechanical problems that forced cancellation earlier this month of a hydrostatic test on the articulated locomotive’s boiler.

“We filled the boiler with water up to the crown sheet and repaired a few leaks around the stay bolts,” Garner said. “Then we ran out of money.”

Maryland officials have expressed confidence in the leadership of the WMSR, but have said that no more public funds are expected to be forthcoming toward the 1309 restoration.

Allegany County in Maryland owns the former Western Maryland Railroad right-of-way from Cumberland to Frostburg.

ITM Raising Money to Restore NKP 587

November 4, 2017

The Indiana Transportation Museum has launched a fund-raising drive to restore Nickel Plate Road steam locomotive to operating condition.

The locomotive is due for a federally required overhaul. Those who donate to the cause will receive a tee shirt bearing a drawing of the Baldwin-built locomotive.

Built in August 1918 for the Lake Erie & Western, the NKP 587 was based in Frankfort, Indiana, for much of its life and sometimes saw service on the branch between Indianapolis and Michigan City, Indiana.

On the LE&W, the USRA light 2-8-2 locomotive carried roster number 5541. It received its current roster number in 1924.

After its retirement in March 1955, the 587 was donated to the City of Indianapolis, which put it on static display in Broad Ripple Park.

It was removed in 1983 and taken to Amtrak’s Beech Grove shops where it was restored to operating condition. It made its first excursion in September 1988 between Indianapolis and Logansport, Indiana.

Donations can be made at https://www.customink.com/fundraising/nickelplateroad587

Dennison Museum to Unveil Restored Locomotive

October 21, 2017

The Dennison Railroad Depot Museum will conduct an “unveiling party” on Nov. 3 of its recently restored Chespeake & Ohio steam locomotive No. 2700.

The event will begin at 1o a.m. at the museum, which is housed in a former Pennsylvania Railroad passenger station on the Pittsburgh-St. Louis mainline.

The cosmetic restoration used more than 320 parts that were recreated by Jason Johnson of Gemini Industrial to complete the restoration.

Prior to restoration, No. 2700 had one of the most vandalized steam locomotives in the county and been stripped of many of its parts.

The engine sits on the east end of the Dennison Depot, which has been designated a National Historic Landmark as the best example left in the country of a World War II Servicemen’s Canteen Site.

Those who join the 2700 Club Membership Program for $27 will help ensure the upkeep of the engine. Members will receive a print of the engine.

WMSR Give 1309 Restoration Update

October 3, 2017

Work continues to restore former Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309, with the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad having spent $2.3 million on the restoration thus far.

WMSR head John Garner told Trains magazine that the locomotive’s boiler vessel is 90 percent complete, the tender is 90 percent, the brake and spring rigging are 80 percent done, the grates and ash pan are 30 percent complete, the running gear is 20 percent complete, the cab floor and locomotive cab are 20 percent done, and super heaters and smoke box are 10 percent complete.

Workers still must re-wheel the engine, fabricate the locomotive’s air brake system, install the boiler and jacketing, test-fire the boiler, and paint and assemble the locomotive.

“It’s going to be a group effort to finish the project,” Garner said. No date for finishing the work has been set.

Funding for the restoration is now largely coming from a Maryland grant of $400,000. Much of the work is being done through Diversified Rail Services.

Garner said the grant money requires WMSR to fund various parts of the project with its own money.

In a related development, WMSR has repainted its EMD GP30 No. 501 in Western Maryland’s red, white, and black “circus scheme.”

The tourist railroad believes the unit is the only Western Maryland-painted locomotive to wear the livery on a tourist railroad.

No. 501 pulls WMSR trains between Cumberland and Frostburg, Maryland.

The locomotive along with some restored freight cars painted in WM markings, including a caboose, will be used during photo events planned for Nov. 3 to 5.

These include a Friday night photo session with No. 1309, a Saturday day trip with No. 501’s freight consist, and a Sunday morning breakfast and networking opportunity with railroad staff and steam experts.

Proceeds benefit the restoration of No. 1309. Garner said the November event is limited to the first 20 participants and those who are interested are encouraged to call the railroad’s offices.

C&O 1309 Restoration Half a Million Short

September 15, 2017

The effort to restore former Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 has fallen more than a half-million dollars short.

John Garner, CEO of the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad, send an email message this week pleading for donations.

The email said WMSR needed $530,000 to finish the restoration. Garner has warned in the past that the cost of restoring the 1309 was threatening the financial health of the WMSR and suggested that taking on the restoration project might have been a mistake.

The operating debut of the ex-C&O locomotive has been delayed more than once this year.

However, he has pledged that the railroad will see the restoration to completion.

No. 1309 would be the only functioning articulated locomotive in the United States.