Posts Tagged ‘steam locomotive restoration’

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.

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Restoration to Begin on C&O 2700

September 12, 2017

Cosmetic restoration work is set to get underway on former Chesapeake & Ohio 2-8-4 Kanawha-type No. 2700, which is currently housed at the east end of the Dennison Railroad Depot Museum.

It has been in Dennison since August 1997 and the restoration work will be done on site.

Museum Director Wendy Zucal said the work will cost an estimated $150,000 and be completed late this fall.

Funding is coming from the Ohio Department of Transportation local Enhancement project with matching contributions from Dennison, the Reeves Foundation, the Harold C. and Marjorie Q. Rosenberry Foundation, the Leggitt Foundation, the Doris and Floyd Kimble Foundation, the Tom E. Dailey Foundation, the Brach Foundation, the Tuscarawas County Community Foundation and Wendy’s.

The work will be done by Gemini Industrial Machines of Dover, which is owned by Jason Johnson.

The museum said in a new release the work will include sandblasting and painting the locomotive to its original livery. Several missing parts will be recreated.

Zucal said the locomotive has been stripped of its gauges, valves, name plates, driving rods, windows, bell and whistle.

“There were many obstacles in the road challenging the completion of this project,” Zucal said. “The Depot restoration had to be completed first, funding had to be raised twice and ownership had to be proven twice. Although it has taken far longer than ever anticipated, the community and museum have shown tremendous tenacity to keep the engine restoration on track.”

No. 2700 was one of 90 locomotives in its class built in the World War II era with 20 built by Lima Locomotive Works and 70 constructed by American Locomotive Company.

No. 2700 was built by Alco in 1943 in Schenectady, New York.

WMSR Head Expresses Regret about Taking on 1309 Restoration

August 3, 2017

The head of the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad said steam may return to that line by the end of September, provided that a number of things fall into place.

Speaking during a radio program, John Garner said the cost of restoring ex-Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 has skyrocketed to $1.8 million and if he had been head of the WMSR in 2014 when the the locomotive was acquired he would never have agreed to acquire the engine from the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum.

Instead, Garner said he would have favored putting money and effort into rebuilding former Lake Superior & Ishpeming 2-8-0 No. 734, which ran on the WMSR until April 2016 when it was removed from service for its federally required 1,472-day inspection. Restoration of the 734 will cost $1.2 million.

“1309 is a magnificent locomotive; however, I think it is way too much of a locomotive for us. I think I would have restored 734. It’s much more appropriate for us,” Garner said.

“The 1309 project has been a huge project that’s eating us out of house and home,” Garner told Trains magazine. “However unfortunate it may be, that’s the gospel truth.”

Nonetheless, Garner said the WMSR is going to see the 1309 project through.

During his radio interview, Garner said that boiler work has been completed and a hydrostatic test will be performed in the next two or three weeks.

Garner said restoration work was delayed after contractors found corrosion pits on the locomotive’s axles, meaning they will need to be turned on a lathe. Wheel boxes and crank pins will have to be rebuilt as well.

The WMSR is also rebuilding its passenger car fleet to make it compliant with Federal Railroad Administration regulations.

A $250,000 grant from the State of Maryland is helping pay for that work. Thus far six cars have been rebuilt.

“WMSR does not have the funds to do heavy rebuilds on passenger cars,” Garner said during the radio interview. “The days of 14-car trains, 1,000 passengers a train, those days are over for now. We know we can do better, and as time and money permit, we’ll acquire additional equipment and bring more riders to Allegany County.”

Ridership on the WMSR this year has been up by 42 percent from 2016, but is below the 2015 ridership numbers.

“We’re hanging in there, but with the additional costs of restoring the locomotive, insurance costs, and maintenance on equipment we have done a boatload of right-of-way maintenance,” he said.

C&O Operation Delayed Until Winter

August 2, 2017

It now appears that Chesapeake & Ohio No. 1309 will not operate this year.

The Western Maryland Scenic Railroad and Trains magazine said they are delaying a photo charter the two had scheduled for September until early 2018.

The 2-6-6-2 is being restored by the WMSR and officials said that they expect the locomotive to be operational by early winter.

Assisting the tourist line with the restoration work in Ridgeley, West Virginia, is Diversified Rail Services.

“We will be seeing smoke and paint by the end of fall,” said steam locomotive restoration contractor Gary Bensman. “We want to make sure the engine is in good shape for its long-term sustainability.”

The additional work needed involves the wheels, running gear and ensuring that the 1949 Baldwin-built locomotive is compliant with applicable Federal Railroad Administration rules.

“Additional wheel work will take place to ensure the engine’s long term operability,” said WMSR CEO John Garner. “It makes much more sense from both a financial and a mechanical perspective to perform this work now than it does to reassemble the engine, run it, and then take it out of service again for repairs. We want to get it done right the first time. We are committed to returning the engine to service. We are optimistic for operations starting this winter.”

T1 Restoration Group Reports Building Cab

July 18, 2017

A group restoring a Pennsylvania Railroad steam locomotive recently announced that it has finished building the engine’s cab.

The rebuilding was done in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, in a former PRR shop how owned by Curry Rail Service.

The group, The T1 Trust, is seeking to restore PRR T1 4-4-4-4 No. 5550.

The group described finishing the cab as a major step forward. Earlier this year it said it had cast its first boxpok driver.

Curry Rail is a locomotive supplier and railcar maintenance company that is a corporate sponsor of the T1 Trust project.

The Pennsy had 52 Class T1 locomotives, including 25 built at its shops in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Another 27 were built by Baldwin Locomotive Works.

Most of them were built in 1945 and 1946 and used in high-speed passenger service.

Works Continues on Restoring C&O 1309

June 27, 2017

Trains magazine reported on Monday that workers have begun installing the tubes into Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 at the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad shops.

The magazine said other work included workers applying firebox patches and conducting laser scans of the frame.

The locomotive is expected to return to operation later this year although no firm date has been set for its first public excursion.

Once operational, No. 1309 will be among the largest operating steam locomotives in the United States.

Steam Locomotive Restoration Group Reaches Pact with MRPS For Use of its Roundhouse

June 19, 2017

A group seeking to restore a Reading T1 steam locomotive has apparently patched up things with the Midwest Railway Preservation Society.

Trains magazine reported last week that MRPS has reached a tentative agreement on a lease with the American Steam Railroad Preservation Association for that group to remain at MRPS facility in Cleveland.

ASR had moved 4-8-4 No. 2100 to the former Baltimore & Ohio roundhouse two years ago with the goal of restoring it to operating condition.

Known as a term sheet, the agreement  calls for the lease to last three years and establishes a set of agreements and conditions both sides agreed to meet before signing binding documents. The two parties will have four months to complete any pre-agreement work necessary.

Last spring the MRPS went to court to seek to evict ASR from the roundhouse.

According to Trains, the new agreement allows ASR to use one roundhouse stall and some tracks outside the building.

“Midwest sincerely hopes that we are entering a new and fruitful period for both organizations,” said MRPS President Donald Zeyer says. “Additionally, Midwest also wishes to advise the public that we had nothing to do with any allegations, comments, or arguments that were made on social media. Again, we hope that we are entering a new era of co-operation. We wish ASR nothing but the best in their efforts to return No. 2100 to steam.”

ASR President Steve Harvey said his group is pleased with the roundhouse, noting that it has good access to Class I railroads, short lines, and scenic railroad operators.

Trains quoted a ASR officer as saying that the group plans to focus on rebuilding No. 2100’s firebox and running gear in the coming months and to have locomotive under steam in the next year or two.

SRI Will Restore 2-8-0 to Operating Condition

June 14, 2017

The Michigan-based Steam Railroading Institute said this week that it will restore a 2-8-0 locomotive built by Baldwin in 1920.

The locomotive served the Mississippian Railway and the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway. It was built, though, for short-line Jonesboro, Lake City & Eastern.

It last served the Mississippian, where it carried roster number 76 and remained on the motive power roster until the late 1960s.

Since then, the locomotive has had a series of owners until its acquisition by SRI in spring 2005.

Once restored, No. 76 is expected to pull excursion trains.

In its announcement, SRI said the restoration, which is expected to cost $500,000 and take five years, will be conducted largely by the group’s younger members.

“As young volunteers working on restoring a steam locomotive, we are at a crucial point,” said Logan Schupp, project manager of Project 76. “Most of the first generation of steam preservationists are passing on and with them their knowledge.”

Based in Owosso, the SRI owns and operates Pere Marquette 2-8-4 No. 1225.

Dennison Seeks Bids for Steam Loco Restoration

May 22, 2017

The Village of Dennison, Ohio, is seeking bids to remodel a steam locomotive and tender that is now sitting at the former Pennsylvania Railroad station in town, which the village owns.

A published legal notice said that the village has a preferred architect do the planning and specifications. The plans are available from the village for $50 per copy.

Proposals are due by June 14 and bidders are being sought who have at least 10 years of experience.

The remodeling is expected to be a cosmetic restoration rather than a project to return the locomotive to operating condition.

State Money Now Flowing to WMSR Project

May 19, 2017

State money is finally starting to flow into the coffers of the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad and its contractors who have been seeking to restore a former Chesapeake & Ohio steam locomotive to operating condition this year.

Trains magazine reported this week that the WMSR and its contractors have received payments totaling $128,772

A spokesman for the Maryland State Treasurer’s Office said checks for $30,000 and $24,396 are expected to be written by next week, bringing total payments to $183,168.

Restoration work of C&O No. 1309, a 2-6-6-2, is being done at the railroad’s shop in Ridgeley, West Virginia.

Earlier this year, the restoration work was halted due to the lack of funding from the state, which had agreed to give a $400,000 capital grant to help pay for the restoration of the locomotive to operating condition. The restoration is expected to cost $1 million.

The locomotive was originally scheduled to make its first revenue trip in early July, but that has been canceled.

Trains said that the WMSR doesn’t expect to announce a date for the first run for another two weeks. That is expected to be in the fall.

WMSR bought No. 1309 from the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum in 2014. The ex-C&O Class H6 is one of the last locomotives built by Baldwin Locomotive Works for use in the United States.