Rest of Wheels Removed During New Years Eve Work Session

One last work session took place during what has been a very productive year for the C&NW No. 1385. The New Years Eve work session involved the removal of the two remaining driver sets. The rear-most driver was removed prior to shipment to SPEC Machine. To accomplish this, the chassis had to be lifted. Crew members included: Steve Roudebush, Bruce Grill, Ed Ripp, Kyle Gehrke, Robert Hasheider with Brian Allen behind the camera.

The remaining driving wheels were freed from the chassis during work December 31, 2013. Kyle Gehrke (left) and Ed Ripp (right) help gently roll a driver set out from under the frame. A single driver set weights more than many passenger automobiles. Click on the image to browse more photos from the day on photographer Brian Allen’s Flickr album.

December 23rd Meeting and Work Session

While many people are out trying to finish their last minute holiday shopping, our team gathered at SPEC Machine for a progress meeting and work session. View full album by clicking on the photo.

Project leaders and contractors meet to discuss progress to date and the challenges ahead. From left to right, Steve Sandberg – consultant, Bobbie Wagner – 1385 Task Force Member, Mike Wahl – 1385 Project Manager, Chris Zahrt – project volunteer, Steve Roudebush – SPEC Machine, Bruce Grill (background) – SPEC Machine. Photo by Brian Allen. Click on the image to browse more photos from the day on photographer Brian Allen’s Flickr album.

C&NW No. 1385 Rebuild Video Released, New Running Gear Disassembly Photos Available

A new video is now available which gives an introduction to the C&NW 1385 project and some of the people involved. Video Includes interviews with Steve Roudebush of Spec Machine (the shop performing running gear repairs); Mike Wahl, 1385 Restoration Project Manager; Kelly Bauman, Mid-Continent’s Superintendent of Operations, and Bobbie Wagner, 1385 Task Force Member and key project supporter. The video can be viewed below. Special thanks to Roger Bindl of HEM Productions for filming and editing the video.


Meanwhile, disassembly of the running gear continues at Spec Machine. Two new photos albums are available showcasing the work that took place on December 17 and 18. Recent work has centered on removing the binders as preparations are made to remove the two driving wheel sets still in place. Clicking on the two photos below will open the photo albums for their respective date.

Disassembly of the running gear continued on December 17 and Mid-Continent member Brian Allen was on hand to take photographs. Click on image to browse more of Brian’s photos from the day.

Steve Roudebush works to get leverage while removing C&NW 1385’s binders on December 18, 2013. Photo by Brian Allen. Click on image to browse more of Brian’s photos from December 18.

Running Gear Gets Cleaned, Further Disassembly Underway

The rebuilding process of Chicago & North Western No. 1385’s running gear is underway. While the R-1 class locomotive had seen considerable disassembly already at North Freedom, further disassembly remained the first order of business on the running gear at its temporary home at Spec Machine in Middleton, WI.

Before starting, the entire running gear received a thorough cleaning. The parts need to be clean in order to allow for accurate inspections moving forward. The 1385 was pulled outside the shop on temporary track for the cleaning to take place on Dec. 2nd.

On Dec. 6 and 7, members of the 1385 Steam Task Force joined employees of Spec Machine to remove the brake rigging, valve gear and rods. After being removed, each part had an aluminum tag with the original C&NW part numbers then attached. Mike Wahl, Project Manager elaborates:

We were able to determine the original part numbers from the C&NW arrangement and layout drawings we were able to obtain from Lake State Railway Historical Association. Not only have we been able to obtain these arrangement and layout drawings, but also many details drawings of the parts. On items like the brake and spring rigging, we have a complete set of detailed drawings with the exception of one or two drawings. These will be extremely helpful in the rebuild process.

The next steps are to drop the wedges and remove the binders, pistons, rods and crossheads and prepare for the lift to remove the 1st and 2nd wheel sets. Once the wheel sets are out we will remove the rest of the spring rigging and begin preparation for inspection and measurement of the frame.

On the project fundraising front, the goal set earlier this year of raising enough donations to complete the $250,000 Wagner Foundation challenge grant by the end of 2013 is very close to being attained. With 16 days left in 2013, less than $8,500 of the challenge grant remains unmatched. For anyone wishing to have their donation matched dollar-for-dollar, this is the time to act!

NOTE: Clicking either photo below will link to the corresponding photo album with more images from that day.

C&NW 1385’s running gear gets steam cleaned on December 2, 2013 in preparation of further disassembly and inspections. Photo by Brian Allen. Click on image to browse more of Brian’s photos from the day.

An overhead crane and a good deal of muscle are used to remove one of 1385’s rods on December 7, 2013. Photo by Brian Allen. Click on image to browse more of Brian’s photos from the day.