DULUTH Fundraising Status

Created using the Donation Thermometer plugin https://wordpress.org/plugins/donation-thermometer/.$75,000‘Thanks$51,397‘Thanks69% Other Donors ($38,147) SLHTS ($1,250) Dailey Foundation ($3,000)Emery Trust ($9,000)

A $75,000 fundraising effort is presently underway to allow major material acquisition and some labor cost for the DULUTH to allow its restoration to move forward. This post will be updated regularly to show progress toward reaching that goal.

To help Mid-Continent restore the DULUTH to its former glory, please consider making a donation to the DSS&A Sleeper DULUTH Fund. Donating is tax-deductible and easy to do. You can make your donation via mail or donate online using the Donate button.

Be sure to write in “DSS&A Sleeper DULUTH Fund” on the printable donation form or check memo line if sending a donation by mail. Credit/debit card donations can also be accepted via phone at 608-522-4261 or 800-930-1385 by speaking to our staff during administrative office hours Monday-Friday.

Fundraising total shown is as of January 22, 2020.

What’s Next for DULUTH?

What’s Next for the DULUTH?

Given the scope of the project and the resources needed to restore the DULUTH, the restoration effort will be a multi-year project that will be executed in phases. Now that the DULUTH is back on 6-wheel trucks and has draft gear, the next step will be to reinstall the brake system. Plans also call for moving the DULUTH into one of the museum’s buildings after the completion of Coach Shed #2 (in 2018) to prevent further deterioration and to assist with restoring the car. A detailed scope of work, tasks, and the restoration schedule are presently in the process of being developed. To kick off the next phase of restoration tasks, a $75,000 fundraising effort is underway to allow major material acquisition and some labor cost during the next three years.

Request For Help

Please consider making a donation to the DSS&A Sleeper DULUTH Fund so Mid-Continent can restore the DULUTH sleeping car to its former glory. Make your donation via mail or donate online using the Donate button.

Be sure to write in “DSS&A Sleeper DULUTH Fund” on the printed form or check memo line if sending a donation by mail. Credit/debit card donations can also be accepted by phone at 608-522-4261 or 800-930-1385 during museum office hours. All donations are tax-deductible.

DSS&A sleeping car Duluth interior, May 2017

DSS&A sleeping car Duluth interior, May 2017.

DSS&A Duluth Sleeping Car floor plan in 1924

DSS&A DULUTH sleeping car floor plan in 1924.

DSS&A Duluth Sleeping Car floor plan as of 2017

DSS&A DULUTH sleeping car floor plan as of 2017 after modifications for use as a summer cabin.

EJ&S #2 Awarded Grant from Tom E. Dailey Foundation

Mid-Continent Railway Museum is happy to announce the museum has been awarded a $1,500 grant from the Tom E. Dailey Foundation. This grant will assist Mid-Continent with creating reproductions of the original coach seat design to appear in the historic East Jordan & Southern #2 passenger car, the oldest railcar in Mid-Continent Railway Museum’s collection.

EJ&S No. 2 was originally built in 1864 as coach 112 for the Grand Trunk Railway of Canada. It was purchased in 1902 by the EJ&S and was operated on that railroad until abandonment in 1961. After purchase by a private party, the coach was donated and moved to the Mid-Continent Railway Museum in 1963. Exterior restoration is nearly complete after five years of volunteer work. Attention is now turning to the car’s interior. Blinds and window sash have been reproduced and refinishing of the interior is now in progress.

The next step in the restoration, and the most costly, is the production of replacement seats. Reproduction coach seats are required because all seats were removed when the East Jordan & Southern ended regular passenger service in 1946.

The seat ends are ornate cast iron of a design patented by George Buntin which is different than the seats found in other cars at the museum. Volunteers plan to build the wooden frames for the seat backs and seat bottoms. Finally, upholstery work will be done professionally by a skilled contractor. This grant from the Tom E. Dailey Foundation will help begin the process of making the seat backs and bottom cushions. Work on the wooden frames and seat cushions is anticipated to take place this winter with upholstery expected to be completed in 2021.

East Jordan & Southern #2 was among the first cars acquired by Mid-Continent Railway Museum and was used as a ticket office during the museum’s first year of operations at North Freedom as seen in this 1963 photo. The car is currently receiving a comprehensive restoration in Mid-Continent Railway Museum’s Car Shop. Ron Jones photo.

ALSO SEE:  Mid-Continent’s Equipment Roster page for EJ&S #2 

EJ&S #2 Restoration Update – November 11, 2020

Even with the somewhat shortened restoration work season volunteers made significant progress on No. 2. Starting with the exterior, the west side letter was completed with the filling of screw and nail holes, sanding and priming. The east side letter board required patching, installation, and fabrication of the north end extension which was missing. That was followed by filling, sanding and more priming to complete the letter board. The north end drip boards were also installed.

Three of the four platform steps have been taken apart and are in the process of being rebuilt. Work was also started on cleaning up the trucks. We were surprised to fine remnants of pinning striping probably dating to the 1902 refurbishment by Hicks Locomotive and Car.

North end truck. Note pin striping with the blue tape protecting more.

In the last half of the summer work moved to the interior. The east side wall boards had previously been dismantled. The paint was stripped from the boards and the wall is in the process of being rebuilt.

East side interior. The wall is rebuilt below the window sill and work was started above the window sill.

Much of the paint on the west side wall has also been removed although the wood needs to be cleaned up with chemical stripper. Also work was done on the floor to replace some bad wood and missing boards.

West side interior. Pink primed board is a new replacement.

Finally, all the clerestory windows were removed. The stained glass will be remounted in new frames during the winter months.

I have plenty of work to do a home over the winter. Hopefully we will have more in shop work time next year.

Update provided by Peter Becker

Testing 1385’s Steam-Powered Air Compressors

Chicago & North Western #1385’s two air compressors underwent testing on October 16, 2020 with the help of the Roudebush family’s steam traction engine. The steam-driven air compressors supply the air pressure needed to operate the braking system for the 1385 and its train.

This was the first time the compressors have operated in over 20 years. As the video shows, both air compressors passed the Federal Railroad Administration’s requirements for service although further tweaking will be done to improve performance.

Video clips provided by M.L. Deets, Steve Roudebush, and MCRM archival video recorded by Dorthy Lane Streck

Superheater Header Finish and Installation

In our last update, we discussed how the Chicago & North Western #1385 had been converted in 1926 to become a superheated locomotive. One of the components added as part of that 1926 conversion was the superheater header. The superheater header’s job is to take steam from the dry pipe and direct it to the superheater tubes for a second round of heating before the steam is sent to the branch pipes and down to the cylinders.

We now pick up on the repair of the superheater header and its installation.  After the gas weld repairs were finished to mend the broken “T”-slots the header was mounted in SPEC’s large CNC milling machine.  A skin cut on the superheater unit face was made to give an even working surface and then the sealing surface for each of the superheater ball ends was machined. 

Superheater unit face after machining.

The T-slots were also machined to a minimum clearance to accept the new T-bars that will be used to clamp the superheater units into the header for a steam tight seal. 

The original design was to have an individual T-headed bolt for each unit but that concentrates all the clamping stress in the small area of the shoulders of the bolt.  It is believed that is why the sections of the header broke out and had to be repaired in the first place.  The T-bars will distribute the stress along the length of the slot and hopefully preclude any more breaks in the slots. The nuts are extra long so that while the engine is on service the threads of the clamping bolts will be protected from the abrasive blast of cinders flying past and the corrosive nature of the cinders and ash that will collect.

Picture of all the T-bars and clamping bolts in place on the header with a reminder that the header is lying on the palette upside down. 

The header and superheater units await installation.

After that operation (and many other tasks) the header was placed in the smokebox prior to mounting it for a test fit.  

The superheater header sits in the smokebox as it is readied for installation.

Finally, the header is moved into its working position. Looking through a branch pipe hole in the side of the smokebox we can see the freshly machined surface that will seal against the dry pipe as it seats in the flange in the front tubesheet.

The header is gently slid over the studs and when the nuts are tightened it is finally in its home position for the first time on our new boiler. 

A little closer look and a bit of imagination and you can see how the superheater units will be drawn up into the header with the ball ends straddling the T-slots. 

The header is tested for fit inside the smokebox.

One side of the slot will deliver the steam from the throttle to the superheater unit and the other side will collect the superheated steam for delivery down the branch pipes to the valves and cylinders. 

With the fit-up and sealing proven, tabs are welded to the inside of the smokebox to support the weight of the header while in service.  The sealing surfaces of the branch pipe flanges also get dressed and lapped to seal against the donuts used in the branch pipes.

With the test fitting completed and everything checking out, the header and superheaters have all been installed and are now mated to the header.

Superheaters and header fully installed and mated.

A sharp eye will catch a ring of different color between the superheater units and the header.  Due to a discrepancy between the C&NW drawings and how the boiler was actually built we’ve been given an opportunity to improve the sealing surface by adding a heavy brass gasket. 

These collars not only take up the needed space but also give us a brass-on-steel sealing surface rather than steel-on-steel and provides us a replaceable sealing seat for easier maintenance down the line.

All photos provided by M. L. Deets.


Dry Pipe Work

Today’s steam status update looks at work taking place on the 1385’s dry pipe. Before jumping into a description of the work being done, it is helpful to first understand a little bit more about how boilers work and some of the terminology of steam.

The Science of Steam: Dry Steam Versus Wet Steam

The job of a dry pipe in the locomotive is that when the throttle is opened it will deliver the driest available steam out of the boiler proper and deliver it for the next stage of use by the locomotive. What that next stage is will depend on the type of boiler.

The idea of “dry steam” seems counterintuitive since steam is made from water and we generally think of water as being wet. However, in scientific terms, wetness is defined as “the ability of a liquid to adhere to the surface of a solid.” Pure steam is not liquid and does not adhere to a solid and is therefore not wet. If you place your hand over a boiling pot of water, the steam will make your hand wet only because the steam coming into contact with your hand is rapidly cooling off to the point at which it is able to recondense into liquid water again.

Converting and maintaining all of the water molecules into steam is not easily accomplished. The liquid water sloshing around inside the boiler and the extensive system of piping through which the steam must travel means there is plenty of opportunities for the tiny droplets of liquid water to get mixed in with the steam or recondense into liquid. Some of those tiny droplets fall back down into the liquid water lower in the boiler, but other droplets will become suspended in the steam. When a substance exists as a mixture of both gas and liquid such as this it is called vapor.

The ratio of gas molecules to liquid molecules is called vapor quality. For example, if a vapor contains 95% steam and 5% liquid, it is said to have a quality of 0.95 or 95%. Water vapor that contains very few suspended droplets is referred to as dry steam. Water vapor with a higher ratio of suspended droplets is referred to as wet steam. Dry steam, because it is less dense, rises above wet steam, which means the driest steam is always found at the top of the boiler.

How the Throttle and Dry Pipe Work

With the terminology and science of steam and its varying degrees of quality out of the way, let’s get back to the subject of the dry pipe. As was stated, the purpose of the dry pipe is to transport the driest available steam from inside the boiler to where it can be put to use by the locomotive. Since dry steam rises, a dome is added to the top of boilers so the driest steam can gather at a single location to make it easier to collect. This dome-shaped reservoir for dry steam is unimaginatively called the steam dome.

It is within the steam dome that 1385’s throttle is located. When the throttle is placed inside the steam dome, it is called dome throttle. Later locomotive designs which included superheaters (more on that in a moment) would often instead have the throttle at the front of the boiler next to the smokebox rather than inside the steam dome. Those are referred to as front-end throttles.

When the engineer pulls the lever on the 1385 to open the throttle, it permits the steam in the steam dome to enter the dry pipe where it is then directed to the next phase of use. C&NW #1385 was originally built as a saturated boiler, which meant that from the throttle the steam was sent directly to the cylinders for use in turning the wheels.

In 1898, the first superheated locomotive, a Prussian State Railways S4 series, was introduced to the world. In a superheated boiler, after the water has been heated to form saturated steam, that steam is then sent for another round of heating in the superheater. This accomplishes two things. First, it further dries the steam by converting the remaining liquid water droplets into steam, improving its vapor quality. Secondly, it introduces additional heat energy to the steam molecules. Greater heat energy means more work can be accomplished using the same amount of steam. This translates into better fuel and water efficiency and more tonnage that can be pulled by the locomotive. 

Energy efficiency was taken very seriously by railroads even at the opening of the last century. To take advantage of the advancement of superheater technology, #1385 was modified by the Chicago & North Western in April 1926 to convert it from a saturated boiler to a superheated boiler. Many of its fellow R-1 class locomotives also underwent the conversion.

locomotive schematic

IMAGE 1: Simplified illustration of the throttle, dry pipe, and related components within the C&NW #1385 steam locomotive boiler.


Progress on C&NW #1385’s Dry Pipe

At the throttle end of the dry pipe there is an elbow that must seal to the bottom of the throttle so steam cannot leak in while the throttle is closed. The throttle end elbow has a machined sealing surface much the same as the bottom of the throttle (seen in Image 3) and a bronze ring or donut of the opposite shape is clamped between the two pieces as a metallic gasket. The bronze ring can be seen between the throttle and the elbow as Steve R. of SPEC Machine is fitting the pieces together (Image 4).  A large U-bolt will cradle the dry pipe elbow and come up through the holes shown in the ears on the throttle body to clamp the pieces together and form a steam-tight seal.

IMAGE 4: SPEC Machine’s Steve R. works to install the throttle. The access hole in which Steve is working will eventually be covered by the steam dome. Brett Morley photo.

The smokebox end of the dry pipe requires a double seal. The back side must seal tightly against the flange in the smokebox (circled in Image 5) to keep the steam inside the boiler.  The front side has to seal tightly against the input flange of the superheater header (circle in Image 6) so the steam to be applied to the cylinders doesn’t leak out to the atmosphere. 

front view of 1385's smokebox with front tube sheet exposed

IMAGE 5: The red circle indicates where the dry pipe will pass through the front tube sheet.


Superheater header

IMAGE 6: This is the superheater header. The input flange that connects to the dry pipe is circled in red.

Below is a better look at the superheater header’s sealing surface prior to machining (Image 7) and again just prior to installation (Image 8). The double sealing ring was machined as a separate piece. Below photos show it before being welded to the dry pipe (Image 9) and after (Image 10).  

During installation, the dry pipe is slid through the flange in the smokebox toward the steam dome and throttle and can be seen almost in its home position (Image 11).  The superheater header will be installed on the studs shown and will clamp down the dry pipe in order to achieve the necessary steam tight seal on both surfaces.

Dry pipe partially sticking out into smokebox

IMAGE 11: Viewed from inside the smokebox, the dry pipe is in the process of being inserted into the boiler. The studs surrounding it will support the superheater header.

The fitting work shown in this post was carried out in early July 2020. Be sure to keep an eye out for upcoming updates in which we’ll be detailing work on the throttle rod and superheater.

All photos in this update are by ML Deets unless otherwise noted.