Posts Tagged ‘steam locomotive restoration’

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.

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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.

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.