Front Truck Wheelsets Receive Turn on the Lathe

A quick update on the Chicago & North Western #1385. Earlier this week, one of the front truck wheelsets was being turned on a lathe. Work on these wheels is being carried out by Harvey Diversified Trades. (Pictures via Harvey Diversified Trades LLC Facebook page). The job prompted the Harvey Diversified Trades Facebook page to write “I used to think this lathe was big until we put a locomotive axle and wheels on it.”

Machining C&NW 1385 pilot wheel

“Finished up the week machining on the front wheels for the 1385 steam locomotive for Mid-Continent Railroad Museum. Certainly kept the machine firmly on the floor….they are heavy.” — Harvey Diversified Trades Facebook

Two of the four 28″ lead truck wheels (pictured) are being retained and machined to specification, while the other two wheels were worn enough to necessitate replacement with brand new wheels. The new wheels were produced at a forge in Pennsylvania and delivered to Milwaukee, WI to be pressed onto the axle by NRE Wheel Works.

Both wheelsets will return to SPEC Machine in Middleton, WI where they will be united with the front truck assembly which has been undergoing repair work there.

1385 Status Overview

Jeff Bloohm, President of Mid-Continent, has shared a brief overview of the Chicago & North Western No. 1385’s status.

Here is an update as to where the 1385 is towards completion:
Frame work including driving boxes save fitting the boiler mounts and furnace bearers, brake cylinders and valve gear pivot points is finished.

Work on the drivers is finished. Work on the rods save the wristpins into the crossheads is finished. The cylinders are finished. One valve cage is finished, the other about 40% done. Work on the drive wheel suspension is finished. The cab is 75% finished.

Work is now concentrating on the front truck and that is about 60% finished. The axles have been inspected and journals polished. The bad set of wheels has been pressed off and the new wheels are being machined. The wheels on the other axle are also being turned. The boiler design is within weeks of being ready for 3rd party review.

Work yet to be done:
Final teardown, cleaning, inspection and repair plan for the valve gear, pistons, valves, and brake rigging. All appliances still require inspection and repair planning. The superheater header, ash pan, and stack require close inspection and repair planning. The fountainhead and all valves need inspection/repair/replacement.

After delivery of the boiler, the jacketing will need repair/refitting/rework.

New Pilot Completed

The new pilot has been completed and delivered. The pilot was built by Roger Hugg in his shop at his home in Elroy.

Also, the boiler patches and rear tube sheet are fitted and tacked to the boiler. We now wait for the fit-up inspection.

The front coupler, pilot beam and deck plate have been removed. The new timber for the pilot beam has been purchased and Roger Hugg has delivered it.

The fireman’s side piston and cylinder head have been removed so inspection of the piston, cylinder and rod can begin.

Thanks to Roger Hugg, Jeff Lund, Bob Ristow, Dave Lee, Kelly Bauman and Jim Connor.

Pilot Construction Progress Update

Progress is slow but sure on the pilot. This week the countersinks were bored (1st photo), the (through) holes for the main hardware were bored (2nd photo), all imperfections were filled with structural epoxy and sanded smooth (3rd photo), all pieces were fitted and the first coat of stain applied (4th & 5th photos). Today the main structure was assembled in its final state (6th photo).

Next the upright members will be manufactured, finished and installed.

Hopefully the next report will be that it is finished!!!

–Roger Hugg