Tender Tank Lettering Complete

Lettering on the new C&NW 1385 tender tank has now been completed. Only a few final details need to be finished on the tender deck, frame and trucks before the tender is fully completed and ready for shipment back to Mid-Continent.
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Now that the tender tank project has come nearly full circle, here is a photo showing the difference. The tender originally purchased with C&NW 1385 (shown in left photo) is believed to be the original tender mated with 1385 when built in 1907, although 1926 is the earliest documentation that has been found of the two together.

When C&NW 1385 ran for one year at Mid-Continent in 1963, the original tender was used. After that, 1385 was taken out of service until July 1973. In that time, the original tender was deemed “unserviceable”. A leading volunteer on the project in 1971 was quotes as saying, “The tender is shot – completely.” As a result, a replacement was found and purchased shortly thereafter.

For the many years that 1385 operated at Mid-Continent and on excursion on the C&NW, it was not her original tender behind her, but rather a tender originally used by C&NW No. 1361. The replacement had a noticeably different coal pocket and was considerably smaller in capacity. The replacement held a mere 5,700 gallons of water compared to the original’s 7,500 gallons.

No longer in use, the original tender was parked at the end of Mid-Continent’s track in the rock quarry. Flash flooding partially buried the tender in 1993 and it remained that way until dug out in 2002. After 9 more years of sitting outside, the result is what you see in the left hand photo. After being labeled “unserviceable” and “shot” in 1971, another 40 years out in the elements and being partially buried for a portion of that time caused further degredation. If the 1385 was to have a tender of its original size and shape, it would need to be built largely from scratch with the exception of a few components from the original that were still usable. This is what has taken place during 2012 and 2013 and the result is what you see in the right photo.

Original CNW 1385 tender tank comparison to 2013 reproduction tank

Original C&NW 1385 tender tank in 2011 versus reproduction tender tank completed in 2013.

 

Tender Tank Lettering In Progress

This week featured more easily visible evidence of restoration work on C&NW No. 1385. Countless hours over the past year have been going into engineering design and review of the tender and boiler, but that is not something that produces nice pictures to share on Facebook. Lettering a tender, on the other hand, makes for a great photo opportunity and just so happens to be what took place this week.

After the tender returned from the painting contractor’s shop early in the week, Mid-Continent’s Owen Hughes headed over to the DRM Industries shop to begin lettering the new tender tank with the familiar Chicago & North Western System trademark.

Meanwhile, the tender deck was also being prepared. As indicated by the original C&NW drawing and specifications sheet, 2″ white oak boards are being used. The timber was locally hewn by James Frazier & Sons Logging of Blue Water, WI. The decking still needs to have preservative treatments applied before the tender tank can be mounted to the deck.

Other final details are also in the process of being finished. The lower left photo shows the new bushing installed in the drawbar pin hole. The drawbar is what connects the locomotive to the tender (and the rest of the train).

CNW 1385 tender progress photos

Tender Back at DRM Industries for Lettering and Final Assembly

The shiny new tender tank for Chicago & North Western No. 1385 moved recently from the paint shop back to the construction contractor’s shop near Wisconsin Dells in preparation for final assembly. Lettering began being applied today and is expected to take about three days to complete. The tender is on schedule for a November delivery to the Mid-Continent Railway Museum grounds.

C&NW tender tank after painting. Photo taken Oct. 22, 2013. Photo courtesy of Mike Wahl.

C&NW tender tank after painting. Photo taken Oct. 22, 2013. Photo courtesy of Mike Wahl.

Boiler Lift

This is what C&NW #1385 looks like without it’s 30,000 lb. 1907 boiler. The boiler took a while to get off but eventually made it to the track vacated by Saginaw Timber No. 2’s boiler earlier today. Thanks goes to all the volunteers with the projects today! The removal of the boiler from Chicago & North Western No. 1385 will allow better access to the running gear as well as the boiler for upcoming repairs.

A video of last week’s boiler lift at Mid-Continent has now been posted to the museum’s official YouTube channel.

Photos courtesy of Richard Colby. YouTube video courtesy of Randy Long.

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Boiler Lift to Proceed Tomorrow

Mid-Continent Railway Museum’s steam restoration progress continues in a very noticeable way tomorrow (Oct. 17) with a crane coming to the museum to lift parts of two steam locomotives.

First, Saginaw Timber Company No. 2’s boiler will be lifted on to the frame/running gear. This comes after successful early tests of the running gear in the preceding weeks. Reassembly and further testing will continue in the coming months.

Next, the boiler (along with smokebox and firebox) from C&NW No. 1385 will be removed from its frame/running gear. The boiler will be set down in the space next to the Engine House being vacated by No. 2’s boiler.

This move marks a transition in the C&NW 1385 project from focusing on rebuilding the tender (which will be completed in the coming weeks) to working on the locomotive itself. The separation of the boiler from the frame/running gear will allow easier access to parts for restoration work and reverse engineering of replacement parts as the project moves forward.

Annotated C&NW 1385

C&NW 1385 with major components labeled. Photo by Jeffrey Lentz.