Tender Back at DRM Industries for Lettering and Final Assembly

The shiny new tender tank for Chicago & North Western No. 1385 moved recently from the paint shop back to the construction contractor’s shop near Wisconsin Dells in preparation for final assembly. Lettering began being applied today and is expected to take about three days to complete. The tender is on schedule for a November delivery to the Mid-Continent Railway Museum grounds.

C&NW tender tank after painting. Photo taken Oct. 22, 2013. Photo courtesy of Mike Wahl.

C&NW tender tank after painting. Photo taken Oct. 22, 2013. Photo courtesy of Mike Wahl.

Boiler Lift

This is what C&NW #1385 looks like without it’s 30,000 lb. 1907 boiler. The boiler took a while to get off but eventually made it to the track vacated by Saginaw Timber No. 2’s boiler earlier today. Thanks goes to all the volunteers with the projects today! The removal of the boiler from Chicago & North Western No. 1385 will allow better access to the running gear as well as the boiler for upcoming repairs.

A video of last week’s boiler lift at Mid-Continent has now been posted to the museum’s official YouTube channel.

Photos courtesy of Richard Colby. YouTube video courtesy of Randy Long.

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Boiler Lift to Proceed Tomorrow

Mid-Continent Railway Museum’s steam restoration progress continues in a very noticeable way tomorrow (Oct. 17) with a crane coming to the museum to lift parts of two steam locomotives.

First, Saginaw Timber Company No. 2’s boiler will be lifted on to the frame/running gear. This comes after successful early tests of the running gear in the preceding weeks. Reassembly and further testing will continue in the coming months.

Next, the boiler (along with smokebox and firebox) from C&NW No. 1385 will be removed from its frame/running gear. The boiler will be set down in the space next to the Engine House being vacated by No. 2’s boiler.

This move marks a transition in the C&NW 1385 project from focusing on rebuilding the tender (which will be completed in the coming weeks) to working on the locomotive itself. The separation of the boiler from the frame/running gear will allow easier access to parts for restoration work and reverse engineering of replacement parts as the project moves forward.

Annotated C&NW 1385

C&NW 1385 with major components labeled. Photo by Jeffrey Lentz.

C&NW Lettering on Tender Set to Begin

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.

Stencil prepared for lettering the C&NW 1385 tender. Photo courtesy Richard Dipping.

Tender Nearing Completion

Back in May, members of the C&NW #1385 Steam Task Force inspected the tender tank (the car that carries the locomotive’s fuel and water) progress at DRM Industries in Lake Delton, Wis. for what turned out to be the last time before it was to be sandblasted, cleaned & painted inside and out. The last details to be completed will be the addition of anti-slip dots on the steps and shoveling deck, drilling of an anti-siphon vent in one water fill pipe and attachments for the brackets for the electrical conduit. This will culminate over 15 months of work on the tank.

There are still other goals to accomplish which will be much easier with the tank out of the way. These include repair work on the drawbar pocket and pin, draft gear pocket and fitting of the white oak decking that goes on the frame under the tank.

The replacement trucks purchased for the tender are in Lake Delton, waiting to go under the frame so any necessary adjustment of height can be made where the tender can be more easily handled. When the tender is ready to roll it will be shipped back to North Freedom to receive lettering and go on public display. It is planned for this to occur around the end of August 2013.

Meanwhile, fundraising efforts continue. The Wagner Foundation’s $250,000 challenge grant has now been over 70% matched through the generosity of many, many donors. That positive momentum and spirit of generosity will need to continue for the C&NW #1385 project to progress. With the tender rebuild nearing completion, the boiler represents the next major hurdle and it will most certainly be the single most expensive portion of the 1385’s restoration.