WC&C #1 Update – December 2020

The WCC#1 rebuild project came to a screeching halt after the flood of 2008. The last update was Feb 21, 2008. Twelve years has been long enough. My name is Steve Pahl. I am a long time member and recently been appointed as Mid-Continent Railway Museums General Foreman of Steam. And I’m RETIRED! I am not taking this position lightly. I grew up at Mid-Continent during the glory years of steam. I am dedicated to bringing these glory days back to a certain degree. Let’s face it, Mid- Continent was fortunate to be an up and comer back in the 60s thru the 90s when we were under less stringent guidelines when it came to steam, specifically boilers and we were firing up pretty much every boiler that would pass a hydro test. Thank goodness, those days are over, but unfortunately the casualties have been museums with steam locomotives like the CNW #1385, WCC#1, and D&R #9 because of the increased price tag for operational restoration. Thus sits the poor old “Montreal” aka WCC#1 and the D&R #9.

I am excited to be restarting the WCC#1 restoration project for operation! Let me assure you, this will not be an easy task. Money being the biggest hurdle, but I am confident with renewed enthusiasm and interest in the project, we can accomplish this worthy task. Through my continued research on the repairs that have already occurred through the years, these repairs have been good. But there are still many parts and pieces that still need to be refurbished, restored, remade, etc. I am still in the process of sifting through the past files and records to assemble some sort of timeline. I am in conference with three leaders in the steam locomotive rebuild business along with MCRM’s remaining “old” steam team members.

I will be spending the winter months planning with our steam department members and outside professionals on the most effective way to restart the project so we can complete it in a timely fashion. And YES, I said COMPLETED and in a 5-year timeline. We will find out if this is too ambitious, but I don’t believe it is. The hold-up, of course, will be funds, but hopefully we get the support that I’m counting on.

I will report monthly on the progress of the WCC#1. No matter how small it may be. I believe in communication. I intend to keep our members, contributors, and followers abreast of all happening in the Mid-Continent Railway Museums Steam Shop. I thank you in advance for your support in this endeavor. I also believe, ACTIONS  speak louder than WORDS, so, when the museum opens next year, come on down to the Engine House and see first-hand what’s happening with Mid-Continent’s steam program.

P.S. I just want to make it clear. The WCC#1 will be brought back to operation in our engine house by our members along with the experts. This is going to be a great learning opportunity for anyone interested in learning how to make and keep running a full-size standard gauge steam locomotive.

Donate to the WC&C #1 Restoration Project

Funds will be needed to resume the WC&C #1 restoration project. You can donate toward this project with a credit/debit card by using the Donate button or by sending a printable donation form along with a check (be sure to write in “WC&C #1” in the Special Projects portion of the form). All donations to Mid-Continent are tax-deductible.



WC&C #1 boiler. September 9, 2020. Steve Pahl photo.

Related links:
WC&C #1 Roster page

Hot Flanging a New Door Sheet

Early February Mid-Continent members Jason Sobczynski, Dave Wantz, Bob Ristow, Don Angles and Jim Connor traveled to Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum in Chattanooga. At the TVRM shops, they assisted Gary Bensman in flanging a new door sheet for the WC&C #1 fire box.

Pictures show the McCabe Flanger is use and hot flanging (heat and beat) operation.

The heat and beat operation was a very intense 45 minutes from starting to heat (two rose bud torches) to completion.

The metal is heated to bright red, almost white. One person guides the flatter and one person administers hard blows to the flatter with a sledge hammer for 30 to 40 seconds. Metal is heated again and the pounding continues.

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Creating New Tender Truck Springs

Leveling the WC&C #1 boiler in preparation of upcoming work.

Jason and Ed jack the boiler to level position in preparation for work next week.

Jason and Ed jack the boiler to level position.

Bottom two photos – In the process of rebuilding the tender trucks we are repjacing all of the elliptical springs. Over the years, two sets of springs had been replaced with non-standard types. Luckily, it was only required to fabricate two of the “end blocks” that are in between the mating surfaces of the springs. This has been done by Joepen, a local, well equipped CNC machine shop in North Freedom.

New Castings

Driving Wheels Completed

Tires for the driving wheels of WC&C #1 have been applied and are ready for shipment back to Mid-Continent.

Pictures show completed wheel sets and detail of completed crank pin quartering main driver for WC&C #1.