The first images are now available from the Continental Fabricators factory floor in St. Louis showing Chicago & North Western No. 1385‘s new boiler courses waiting to be assembled.
The pics are courtesy of Gary Bensman who is working at Continental Fabricators on another project at the moment. Continental reports they are moving the courses onto the set-up table this week.
Construction of the new boiler is anticipated to be completed in late March or early April 2018. The boiler will then be shipped to SPEC Machine in Middleton, Wis. where it will join the running gear and cab so final assembly of C&NW 1385 can begin. After reassembly is completed (estimated late 2018), the locomotive will be shipped via heavy-haul truck to Mid-Continent Railway Museum where its already-rebuilt tender awaits its arrival.
Upon its return home, 1385 won’t be quite ready to begin pulling passengers trains immediately. It will first need to go through a period of break-in runs and adjustments as well as undergo Federal Railroad Administration inspections before it is cleared to enter revenue service.