Posts Tagged ‘steam locomotive restoration’

Thief Steals Parts for C&O 1309

February 14, 2018

Restoration of Chesapeake & Ohio No. 1309 suffered another setback when thieves stole parts for the 2-6-6-2 locomotive from the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad. Also taken were parts for passenger cars.

WMSR Executive Director John Garner said he learned of the theft when local salvage yards reported receiving locomotive and passenger car parts.

Police believe the thefts were made by a former shop employee, but no charges have yet been filed.

“These irreplaceable artifacts are property that was entrusted to our care for preservation and for the education and enjoyment of the public,” Garner said in a statement. “Employees with access to the Western Maryland Scenic’s collection of railroad equipment and parts are trusted guardians who must not abuse their positions for personal gain.”

Among the stolen items were rare light fixtures and brass hardware from Western Maryland Railroad office car 204, bronze bearings and wear plates from No. 1309, and miscellaneous locomotive and passenger car parts.

Garner said the person suspected of the theft “had access to a wide array of WMSR’s collection of parts and artifacts,”

He said the tourist railroad will review its security and storage procedures and make changes.

Garner expects criminal charges in connection with the theft to to be filed in West Virginia in the coming days.

As for the restoration of No. 1309, Garner said it continues to move forward as funding becomes available.

A direct mail campaign netted $30,000 that will be used to pay for work to the drivers in Chattanooga, Tennessee, that will be performed under the direction of Gary Bensman’s Diversified Rail Services using specialized steam locomotive wheel machines located at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum’s Soule Shop.

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Maryland Lawmaker Wants County to Provide Funding to Finish Restoration of C&O 1309

January 30, 2018

A Maryland legislator wants Allegany County to provide $530,000 to the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad to enable it to finish restoration of former Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 to operating condition.

State Senator Wayne Norman said the county “needs to put some money into it  . . . I think the county needs to take a lien, then get it finished.”

He has proposed that the county pay the funding from a “rainy day fund” that has a $26 million balance.

The county owns the right of way used by the WMSR between Cumberland and Frostburg, Maryland.

Norman is reported to be a supporter of the tourist railroad and has made frequent visits there.

As he sees it, “once that thing is up and running, it will bring people here from Europe and Asia. There’s nothing else like it in America, so people will come and see it.”

The state budget being proposed by Gov. Larry Hogan would allocate $250,000 to the WMSR for operating expenses, the same as what the state provided last year. Allegany County annually provides $140,000 for operations.

The funding for operations is used for infrastructure and equipment maintenance.

However, news reports in Maryland said that legislators from western Maryland are not supportive of further government funding of the 1309 restoration, saying that other county agencies are waiting for their turn to receive government grants.

T1 Trust Buys Boiler Courses

January 30, 2018

The Pennsylvania Railroad T1 Steam Locomotive Trust recently announced that it purchased the first and second boiler courses of new-build 4-4-4-4 No. 5550.

The order was placed with Continental Fabricators of St. Louis. In a news release the T1 Trust described the acquisition as a major milestone because the boiler courses represent the largest parts yet built for the streamlined duplex locomotive.

The two sections are more than 93 inches in diameter and nearly 12-feet long. The boiler code steel is 1-inch thick and weighs more than 12,000 pounds.

All welds will be x-rayed to ensure perfect seams. The sections will include wash-out plugs and openings for water delivery.

The T1 trust is seeking to raise the $25,000 to complete the third and final cylindrical boiler section. The goal is to have donations pledged by April 15. If so the trust said it can have 25,000-pounds of boiler complete by summer 2018.

AOS Has Another Steamer on the Property

January 26, 2018

Another locomotive has been added to the roster at the Age of Steam Roundhouse in Sugarcreek.

The museum said it has moved Columbus & Southern Ohio Electric Company No. 2. to the museum by truck from Sharon, Pennsylvania.

It is the 20th steam locomotive in the collection. The Heisler-built 0-4-0F had been on display in Pennsylvania between a restaurant and a train station.

The restaurant has since closed and the property owners want to raze the building that housed it.

“We’ve been looking for a ‘fireless cooker’ steam locomotive to add to our collection,” said Tim Sposato, AOS chief mechanical officer in a statement. “We were fortunate to locate and obtain one that was in our own backyard. That saved us a lot of money in loading and transportation costs.”

The locomotive was built in Erie, Pennsylvania, in 1940. It was designed for use in an industrial setting and filled with steam from a stationary boiler about every eight hours.

AOS said it will cosmetically restore No. 2. A sister locomotive, No. 1, is owned by the Mahoning Valley Railroad Heritage Association in Youngstown.

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

 

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.

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.

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.