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With the excitement surrounding the resumption of restoration work on the Chicago & North Western #1385, it is easy to overlook the work that is quietly taking place on the Saginaw Timber Company #2. The locomotive, which is privately owned by Mid-Continent member Skip Lichter, has been leased to Mid-Continent throughout its many years of operation at the museum. As restoration has taken place, the locomotive has resided just outside the south doors of the engine house. The restoration, which has been led by Skip, has made slow but steady progress as he continues to work on it himself on a nearly daily basis with occasional help from volunteers when available.
One of the last activities on the #2 reported was the shipment of its driving wheels to a facility in Milwaukee for machining. The machining would return the wheels to the proper profiles. Three of the four sets of drivers only required machining. The fourth set of drivers was found to have a defect on the axle and would require replacement. Fortunately, an excess axle was already on hand which was originally ordered for the C&NW 1385 but was found to be unnecessary after all and had been in storage for years. This axle will have the two existing driving wheels mounted to it. To save on costs, an agreement was reached with the contractor that would have them complete the work only when they were short on other projects.
While driving wheels were away and the weather was still cold, work by Skip continued on the driving rods, eccentrics, eccentric straps, and related pieces. Once the weather warmed in 2011, additional repairs were able to resume on the frame and pilot wheels. This would continue through the summer and fall of 2011. A tarp placed over the frame allowed work to proceed even during inclement weather.
Sitting a few feet away from the frame, the boiler saw many of its appliances reinstalled over the course of the summer. Reassembly of the boiler reached the point at which tests were able to be performed, including a hydro test conducted for Federal Railroad Administration officials during late summer. The boiler is now largely done except for some remaining fitting out of pipes and other accessories. It is primarily waiting on warm weather to complete a successful hydro test.
As colder temperatures again set in, work again turned to what could be accomplished in the slightly warmer confines of the machine shop. To date, this has meant more machining of the driving boxes and new brasses for proper fit. Work also continues on the spring rigging, brake lever hangers, etc. These time-consuming steps are slowly giving way as the locomotive moves closer to the reassembly stage when the wheels, frame, and boiler can once again be joined.
As mentioned earlier, the agreement made for machining the wheels called for them to only be worked on during periods when other work is not available for the contractor. Unfortunately for the #2, demands on the contractor’s time were much higher than expected in 2011. After the better part of a year sitting in waiting in the Milwaukee shop, three of the four wheelsets have finally been completed. Delivery to Mid-Continent is expected soon. The fourth wheelset, the one requiring a new axle, has not yet been completed.
It is also undetermined at this stage on how restoration will proceed with the tender. Numerous problems exist with the tender as identified in the August 2010 issue of the Mid-Continent Railway Gazette. In contrast to the C&NW 1385 restoration, the #2’s tender is being left as the final stage of the #2’s restoration process.
A short steam status update: the Saginaw Timber Co. #2 wheels were recently shipped from Mid-Continent to a shop in Milwaukee. There they will be profiled and a new axle installed on one of the wheelsets.
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Company No. 2
|Chicago & North
Western No. 1385
|Western Coal &
Coke No. 1