Happy 2024 to all our followers and generous donors! The D&R #9 crew appreciates all your support. The D&R #9 cosmetic restoration began in the Fall 2020. Much has been accomplished, but there is a lot more to do.
A brief history of the D&R #9 begins back in 1884 when the Baldwin Locomotive Works constructed the locomotive as New Orleans & North Eastern. It received a new boiler in 1904. NO&NE sold the locomotive to a surplus dealer in 1917. The locomotive was purchased by the Dardanelle & Russellville in Arkansas and was renumbered to #9. The Mid-Continent Railway Museum purchased the locomotive in 1963 and served as one of Mid-Continents daily operation locomotives on and oﬀ until 1991 when it was removed from service because of boiler issues. The D&R #9 is the oldest locomotive on the property.
The locomotive was stored as inoperable until 2020. During the Fall of 2020, a small group of Mid-Continent volunteers along with MC’s Restoration Department decided to cosmetically restore the locomotive to preserve it until a time when she gets her turn in the shop for an operational restoration. The project is led by 10-year-old (as of 2020) Fletcher Reiman along with his father Jason.
“The D&R #9 cosmetic restoration began in the Fall of 2020. Much has been accomplished, but there is a lot more to do.”
Today, Fletchers Crew is proudly sharing the progress which has been made over the past 3 years on the D&R #9. The D&R #9 Restoration Project initially raised $9,999 through our generous donors to begin the project. But this was primarily used to cosmetically restore the tender. The tender is the “car” that is directly connected to the locomotive to carry fuel and water for its operation. In the case of the D&R #9, the tender carries 5 tons of coal for fuel and 3500 gals of water for the boiler. The tender is now complete minus the “Headlight’ and foot boards on the rear.
Now it is time to focus on the locomotive itself. We are dedicating the 2024 season to the “Year of the Cab”. There is much work to do in the cab. There is some wood rot in the interior of the cab. The roof hatches leak, cab floorboards need to be replaced, seat boxes repaired and re-upholstered, and all fixtures in the cab need to be cleaned and painted. The exterior of the cab will then need to be sandblasted and painted just as the tender was. Additionally, depending on volunteer “man” power, running gear will need to be cleaned and prepped for paint. As always, Fletchers crew welcomes ALL volunteers! If you enjoy learning and having fun, that’s all the skill you need!
For our second fund raiser, we are again setting our goal at $9,999. Through your generous donations we can attain this goal. We appreciate any donation you can make towards the project. Every little bit helps! Without your generosity, the wheels of progress will grind to a stop. Fletcher’s “Crew” is dedicated to bringing the project to completion. We will work hard, and we are committed to spending your donations wisely and frugally. Thank you for your support! We cannot do this without you!
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Over the past three years, Fletcher’s Crew has been busy. The following is a list of major accomplishments to date:
- The locomotive has been assessed and a working plan was created. Fall 2020
- A fund raiser was created to raise money for the cosmetic restoration of the tender. Initial fund raising was $9,999 which was fully funded by generous donations in 2021.
- Various parts were removed from the locomotive, cataloged, and relocated to one of our storage buildings. All parts that were removed were tagged and evaluated for restoration and prioritized. 2021/2022
- New white oak was ordered and delivered for the running boards, cab floor, and foot boards. More oak will have to be ordered to repair the “Cow Catcher’. 2022
- The smokestack was repaired and re-installed on the locomotive. 2022
- New cab windows and doors were custom built out of mahogany (to resist weather and rot), have been primed, and now await glazing and final paint. 2022
- The tender was disconnected from the locomotive and moved to Coach Shed 1 for sand blasting and paint. 2022
- The tender was sand blasted, primed, painted, and clear coated with high quality automotive paint to ensure years of wear. 2022
- The cab was raised slightly to remove rotten flooring and to ease installation of the new running boards. 2023
- The tender was re-lettered back into its “D&R” lettering. 2023
- ** All labor involved was volunteer other than the cab windows, which were built by a skilled carpenter. 2020-2023