Upcoming Work Session May 25-26, 2012

A C&NW 1385 steam locomotive restoration work session has been announced for May 25th and 26th. That is the Friday and Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. One of the individuals leading the work that day, Al Joyce reports:

“We are continuing to take measurements for the studs and other points on the boiler. Again I could use some younger members to go to the harder to get to places. The train rides will be running, so you can be seen by thousands, well maybe many, working on a STEAM ENGINE. You will attain hero status in the publics’ eye.

We are in fact getting to the parts of the boiler that are some of the hardest to measure. Any and all help will be gladly accepted. If you can help, please stop by.”

No advanced sign-up, prior volunteer experience or great knowledge of steam locomotives is necessary. What is necessary is gloves and clothing you don’t mind getting dirty. Al and the other regular volunteers are happy to share their knowledge of steam locomotives with first time volunteers.

Upcoming Work Session April 13, 2012

Another workday on the C&NW 1385 steam locomotive restoration is planned for Friday, April 13th. Work will include measuring positions of studs and other parts so they can be plotted out for the new boiler. The work is not difficult, but some parts of it will require working from a ladder. For that reason, help from younger volunteers is especially encouraged this time around. No previous volunteer experience is necessary. Experienced volunteer leaders will be on hand to lead the work.

Upcoming Work Session April 6, 2012

The next C&NW no. 1385 steam locomotive restoration workday has been announced for Friday, April 6th beginning at 9 a.m in Mid-Continent’s engine house. Tasks are to include finishing removal of the running boards and exhaust stand. Work on removing the cylinder saddles may also begin if time allows. No prior volunteer experience or sign-up is necessary. All that is needed is a bit of muscle and willingness to get a bit dirty.

Preparations to Remove the Boiler

A work session was arranged for Saturday, January 7, 2012 to continue work started before the holidays on the Chicago & North Western no. 1385. The primary goal in these recent work sessions has been to remove exterior appliances from the locomotive boiler and frame. This work is being done in preparation for boiler removal from the frame and the shipment of the running gear to a shop for rebuild. Having sat idle and exposed to the elements for much of the time since it last operated in June of 1998, removal of many of the pieces have proven to be no easy undertaking and to make matters even more difficult, items like the running board brackets have not been removed from the boiler in many decades.

The crew for the day was led by Ed Ripp and Pete Deets. Assisting were Kelly Bauman, Richard Colby, and engine house first-timers Adam Stutz and Jeffrey Lentz. Jim Busse was also on hand and performed some much-needed cleaning and organization of the engine house and surrounding area.

With the 1385 parked in the engine house and the large south door open to let in the sun and unseasonably mild temperatures, work began. Pete, Ed and Richard all took turns climbing into the smokebox to clean rust from the blast pipe and smokestack mountings. Removal of the engineer side air reservoir brackets also took place. Work proceeded slowly as the rust necessitated most bolts be cut with a torch.

Close quarters between the 1385 and the engine house wall on the fireman side of the locomotive required that the R-1 be towed by MCRY no. 4 to a location just outside of the engine house to reduce fire risk from the shower of sparks. Once outside, work was able to proceed on removal of the air reservoir tank brackets and running boards. Work also began on the removal of the smokestack. With the more advanced work left largely to Pete and Ed, restoration newcomers Richard, Adam and Jeffrey took on the removal of the pilot support brackets at the front of the locomotive, a job suited to their flexibility.

Work continued as darkness descended. Finally, with too little light to safely continue, work was halted at about 6 pm and the 1385 was rolled safely back into the engine house to await the next work weekend.


Cab on the Move

Departing from the last several updates which focused on the restoration of C&NW #1385’s tender, this update features news on the locomotive itself. In the inspection of the locomotive during the fall of 2011, there was found to be a great deal of deterioration on the locomotive cab. The 1385 Task Force charged with leading the restoration effort reviewed the options for rebuilding the cab and decided to use CJ Woodworking out of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Details of the rebuild were finalized with the contractor and plans put into place for moving the cab to ready it for transport. The cab had been stored on a flat car at Mid-Continent while the locomotive awaited restoration. This happened Friday, December 23, 2011 during a restoration workday. Museum President Jeff Bloohm and Superintendent of Operations Kelly Bauman took care of the move so the cab was accessible for lifting by our Lull operator Ed Ripp. CJ Woodworking arrived around 10:00 am and before lunch they were on their way back to Fond du Lac with the 1385 cab.

CJ Woodworking will be building a new cab to the original Chicago & North Western drawings we have obtained from Lake States Railway Historical Association of Baraboo. The cab will be made from white oak as originally specified by the C&NW.

Also shown are some photos taken by Mike Wahl, Project Engineer during an inspection in July that shows some of the deterioration of the cab.