Posts Tagged ‘steam restoration’

Steam Saturday: N&W Derelict Steamer Managed to Escape to a Museum

September 11, 2021

Back in late December 1972, a derelict steam locomotive was sitting at the Armco Steel plant in Middletown, Ohio, where it had once worked as a stationary boiler. All signs pointed toward the steamer heading for a scrap yard.

That rough looking steamer was Norfolk & Western Y3a No. 2050, a 2-8-8-2 Alco built in 1923.

It was built to a USRA standard design for heavy drag freight service in the Virginia and West Virginia mountains.

It worked for the N&W between 1923 and 1959 before winding up at Armco, which owned it until 1976 when it was donated to the Illinois Railway Museum.

IRM cosmetically restored the 2050, which the IRM website notes is just one of two 2-8-8-2 mallets still in existence.

Although no longer operational, the 2050 still can be enjoyed at the museum.

The 2050 escaped the scrapper’s torch which goes to show that you never know how a locomotive you are capturing on film or megapixels today might turn out down the road.

To view a photograph of the 2050 as it appears today at IRM, visit https://www.irm.org/cgi-bin/rsearch.cgi?steam=Norfolk+&+Western=2050

To see an image of the front of the locomotive visit https://www.steamlocomotive.com/places/irm/

Photograph by Robert Farkas

R&N Test Fires Reading T-1 2102

January 14, 2021

Former Reading Company 4-8-4 No. 2102 underwent steam testing this week in Port Clinton, Pennsylvania.

Owned by regional carrier Reading & Northern, CEO Andy Muller, Jr. blew the whistle of the T-1 at 11 a.m. on Tuesday.

“The engine is like new,” Muller said following the testing, adding that the boiler, injectors, feed water heater and stoker tested fine.

Workers did find a leaks and will repair those after the locomotive cools down.

Shop forces had lighted a fire inside the firebox of the locomotive on Saturday. By Tuesday the engine has reached 240 psi working pressure

Restoration work on the locomotive, which was built by the Reading in 1945 will continue.

The 2102’s cab is still not attached and the tender needs to be rebuilt.

However, Mueller hopes to have the locomotive operating by spring when he wants to have it pull a freight train.

The restoration work has cost $1 million to date and Muller said completion of the work will cost another $100,000.

Muller bought the 2102 in 1987 and it pulled excursion trains on the 13-mile Blue Mountain & Reading from 1987 to 1992. 

Its first assignment in revenue service is expected to be pulling the North Reading Fast Freight, between North Reading and Pittston, Pennsylvania.

C&O 1309 Operates Under Own Power

January 4, 2021

Former Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 moved on Dec. 31 under its own power on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad.

It was the first time the Mallet-type locomotive had done that in 64 years.

WMSR officials told Trains magazine that the 1309 is expected to regularly operate on the 17-mile tourist railroad but did not give a date for when it will begin revenue service.

Test runs of the locomotive will be made in the meantime.

Restoration of the locomotive has taken much longer and cost far more than expected. It has been a six-year process that has cost $3.5 million.

The 1309 was built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1949 and was its last domestic steam locomotive product.

Once it begins regular service the 1309 will be the only articulated rod engine operating in the eastern United States and the region’s largest active steam engine.

EBT No. 16 Expected to be First Steam Locomotive to Return to Revenue Service

December 13, 2020

The East Broad Top Railroad expects to have its first steam locomotive back in service sometime in 2021, but officials are not predicting yet when that will be.

The first locomotive that will be returned to revenue service will be No. 16, “sometime next year,” said Chief Mechanical Officer Dave Domitrovich in an interview with Trains magazine.

Officials said No. 16 is in better condition than No. 14, which has also been tabbed for restoration to operating condition.

No. 16 was overhauled during the 1950s and was never used in tourist train operation.

Thus it hasn’t experienced the wear and tear that Nos. 12, 14, 15 and 17 endured.

Domitrovich expects the return of No. 16 to steam to create excitement and interest in the railfan/railroad history community because it last operated in 1956.

EBT workers continue to work on Nos. 14, but it needs boiler work, including moderate minor sheet repair and replacement; new flues and tubes; and considerable running-gear work.

The drivers of No. 14 will be sent to the Strasburg Rail Road for reconditioning.

In the meantime, the EBT expects to operate a few diesel-powered excursions and is eyeing a return to scheduled service next May or June.

The historic narrow-gauge railroad in Pennsylvania was purchased in early 2020 by the non-profit EBT Foundation from the Kovalchick family, which in turn had rescued it from being scrapped in 1956.

The EBT operated as a tourist railroad between 1960 and 2011 before shutting down.

The property includes 27 miles of main line; yards, shops and headquarters; six Baldwin 2-8-2 steam locomotives; and passenger and freight rolling stock.

The EBT Foundation in tandem with the volunteer Friends of the East Broad Top group has been working to rebuild track, renovate a circa-1900 shop complex, and restore the rolling stock.

Scheduled service is expected to operate between Rockhill Furnace and the Colgate Grove picnic area, a distance of about four miles.

Long-range plans are to reopen the main line to Robertsdale and Woodvale. The EBT Foundation is studying reopening a long-abandoned mountainous branch line to offer scenic views.

Thus far track rehabilitation on Rockhill Furnace-Colgate Grove segment is about half done, with some 3,500 ties replaced out of a projected 6,500.

About half of the 18 switches in need of renewal have been completed, including a rare three-way stub switch at the south end of Rockhill Yard.

Other work that remains to be completed includes replacing the Runk Road bridge, which was damaged last spring when struck by an over-height logging truck that dented a beam and shoved the track off center.

The foundation also announced it has hired Jonathan Smith, 22, formerly with the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, as a full-time sales and marketing representative.

C&O 1309 Restoration Gets Another Emery Grant

July 23, 2020

The restoration of Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 got a boost this week with a grant from the Emery Rail Heritage Trust.

The foundation has awarded $50,000 to the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad to help the tourist railroad complete the restoration of the 1949 Baldwin-built locomotive.

WMSR officials have said they need $150,000 to complete the restoration of No. 1309 to operating condition.

The project is expected to have cost $3.2 million once completed.

Workers are currently completing work on the the running gear, back head piping, stoker, and other tasks needed to enable 1309 to become the world’s largest operating Mallet type locomotive.

The Emery grant was unusual in that the organization normally only makes awards in the spring. It is the third grant for 1309 restoration made by the Trust.

Previous grants included $40,000 in 2019 and $10,000 earlier this year.

MRPS Creates Committee to Oversee 4070

June 22, 2020

Former Grand Trunk Western 2-8-2 No. 4070 has not operated since 1990.

The locomotive’s owner, the Midwest Railway Preservation Society, has sought over the years to restore the light Mikado type locomotive to operating condition but progress has been slow.

A graphic posted on the group’s website shows MRPS needs $1.2 million to complete the restoration but thus far has raised $5,545.

In an effort to accelerate the fundraising pace, MRPS has created a committee to direct and oversee the restoration efforts.

It will create a comprehensive project outline of the project that describes the work that needs to be done individually or collectively

One of those tasks is to bring in more funding to the restoration fund and the committee is considering ideas to achieve that.

The committee is also studying whether 4070 should continue to be operated with coal or converted to run on fuel oil.

A decision on this matter will ultimately be made by the MRPS trustees.

Wheel Work Progress Reported on C&O 1309

March 24, 2020

The Western Maryland Scenic Railroad is eyeing a finish of wheel work in the restoration of former Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309.

It has purchased 12 driving boxes for the locomotive and had on hand 11 journal driver boxes in place on the axles.

It was missing the final driver boxes but was able to purchase it due to an influx of donations that were in part prompted by a fundraising effort led by Trains magazine.

“We have paid other expenses on the locomotive from previous work performed totaling $20,000,” said WMSR Executive Director John Garner. “Balancing the account, we have $18,500 to advance the locomotive restoration to the next phase.”

The project now needs $28,000 to do more wheel work, which includes $16,500 for labor services and $11,500 for two cranes to lift the locomotive.

Garner said if donations continue to come in the 1309 wheel work could be completed by June.

Funding Progress Continues for C&O 1309

March 6, 2020

The fundraising campaign to earn the final dollars needed to complete restoration of Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 is nearing $60,000 of its stated $100,000 goal.

The campaign, which is being promoted by Trains magazine, has picked up donations in varying amounts ranging from $5 to $25,000.

The magazine reported this week that funds raised thus far have enabled the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad to acquire parts to replace those stolen from the project by a former employee who sold them.

The stolen parts included 12 drive-wheel journal boxes.

Railroad officials have said that restoration of the 1309 to operating condition is 85 percent complete and $390,000 is needed to finish the work.

Donations can be sent to Western Maryland Scenic Railroad, 13 Canal Street, Cumberland, MD 21502, or made online at www.wmsr.com/1309

The former employee who stole parts from the 1309 restoration effort pleaded guilty in January to one count of grand larceny in a West Virginia court.

He was sentenced to one to 10 years I prison, which was suspended. He also received 30 days of active incarceration with work release and must make restitution in the sum of $251,000 and provide 100 hours of community service.

However, Trains reported that it is unlikely the WMSR will receive any money from the person.

The theft of the parts cost the restoration time, but restoration efforts have also been hindered by lack of funding. Thus far the restoration has cost $2.8 million.

C&O 1390 Fund Raising Gets Promising Start

February 29, 2020

The campaign to raise nearly $400,000 to finish the restoration of Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 has gotten off to a promising start.

In the past month $41,000 — including one donation of $25,000 — has been pledged the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad reported.

WMSR say restoration of the locomotive to operating condition is 85 percent complete and $390,000 is needed to complete the project. The tourist railroad already had about $100,000 on hand when the latest fund-raising push began.

Thus far $2.8 million has been spent on the restoration project.

Officials say once the needed funding is in hand, it will be about six months, including a break-in period, before the 1309 is ready to enter revenue service.

The WMSR operates on 17 miles of former Western Maryland track in a mountainous region of Maryland and West Virginia.

McCormack to Speak in Bellevue on May 16

February 12, 2020

Another steam impresario is coming to Ohio to help raise money for the restoration of Reading Company steam locomotive No. 2100.

Doyle McCormack will speak on May 16 at the Mad River & NKP Museum in Bellevue as part of the “Legends of Steam” speaker series sponsored by the American Steam Railroad Preservation Association.

The ASRPA is restoring the Reading locomotive at a former Baltimore & Ohio roundhouse in Cleveland that is owned by the Midwest Railway Preservation Society.

McCormack is best known for his work with Southern Pacific 4-8-4 No. 4449 but will also speak about his experiences with the Nickel Plate Road.

He also was involved with the American Freedom Train, which toured the country in 1975-1976.

During his talk McCormack his expected to tell some of his stories about steam locomotives and his work to preserve vintage diesels.

Tickets to the event are $99 per person. More information can be found at FireUp2100.org.

The ticket price includes admission to the museum, caboose rides and a catered dinner.

Participants will be able to inside the cab of Nickel Plate Road locomotive 757, which the museum has acquired and plans to restore.