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.
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 C&NW 1385 tender tank in 2011 versus reproduction tender tank completed in 2013.
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).
In the next few days, the tender (fuel and water car) for steam locomotive Chicago & North Western No. 1385 will have lettering prepared and applied by volunteers Richard Dipping and Owen Hughes. The tender is anticipated to be returned to North Freedom and placed on display in November.
The 1944-1957 era C&NW “SYSTEM” monogram has been selected and a stencil prepared [see photo]. This was the monogram style in use when the locomotive was removed from C&NW’s active roster in 1956 and was still on the locomotive when sold to Mid-Continent in 1961. C&NW went through a few other variations before returning to this monogram style from 1981 until purchased by the Union Pacific Railroad in 1995.
For an in-depth history of C&NW’s trademarks/monograms, read the article “The Ball, the Bar, and the Badge: The Evolution of the Chicago & North Western Railway Company Trademark” in Volume 2013, No. 1 of the Chicago & North Western Railway Historical Society’s publication “North Western Lines.”
Stencil prepared for lettering the C&NW 1385 tender. Photo courtesy Richard Dipping.