Locomotive Clean Up

With the C&NW No. 1385 running gear now mostly in pieces, a thorough cleaning of the various parts is now the immediate task ahead. The day’s task called for scraping grease, needle scaling rust, parts washing and other work in preparation for sandblasting. Some rough weather limited volunteer turnout, but a few brave souls braved the elements.

While some went about cleaning duties, others were pulling out their micrometers and measuring eccentric parts. Although large, numerous key parts of steamers such as No. 1385 have incredibly small tolerances and must be machined to to within thousands of an inch of specification in order to be accepted.

Once again, Brian Allen was on hand to photograph some of the day’s activities.

C&NW No. 1385 Task Force member Pete Deets passes along the following message: “Thank you to everyone who braved the elements & changes on the fly. A good day was had by all and parts are a greater step closer to clean enough for inspection. I’m fairly certain there will be another cleaning party but it won’t get planned until after the sandblasting.”

Nancy Kaney and an unidentified volunteer scrape built up grease off the 1385’s driving wheels. Click on the image to browse more photos from the day on photographer Brian Allen’s Flickr album.

C&NW No. 1385 Rebuild Video Released, New Running Gear Disassembly Photos Available

A new video is now available which gives an introduction to the C&NW 1385 project and some of the people involved. Video Includes interviews with Steve Roudebush of Spec Machine (the shop performing running gear repairs); Mike Wahl, 1385 Restoration Project Manager; Kelly Bauman, Mid-Continent’s Superintendent of Operations, and Bobbie Wagner, 1385 Task Force Member and key project supporter. The video can be viewed below. Special thanks to Roger Bindl of HEM Productions for filming and editing the video.

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Meanwhile, disassembly of the running gear continues at Spec Machine. Two new photos albums are available showcasing the work that took place on December 17 and 18. Recent work has centered on removing the binders as preparations are made to remove the two driving wheel sets still in place. Clicking on the two photos below will open the photo albums for their respective date.

Disassembly of the running gear continued on December 17 and Mid-Continent member Brian Allen was on hand to take photographs. Click on image to browse more of Brian’s photos from the day.

Steve Roudebush works to get leverage while removing C&NW 1385’s binders on December 18, 2013. Photo by Brian Allen. Click on image to browse more of Brian’s photos from December 18.

Rebuilt Tender Arrives at Mid-Continent, Restoration Moves on to Next Phase

This past weekend featured a buzz of activity on C&NW 1385. The tender tank, new (former freight car) trucks and frame were loaded first thing Friday morning (11/15) at DRM Industries. It was then trucked to Mid-Continent where a crane was waiting to place them under the rebuilt display structure north of the depot which also houses the Shay and narrow gauge boxcar.

While the wheels and frame were being placed, a second tractor-trailer arrived with the rebuilt tender tank. Beginnings around 11:30 a.m., the tender tank was moved into position and lowered onto the frame. Even though the tender is at North Freedom, is not quite done. Grab irons need installation, the rear headlight needs to be installed, the tank hold-down brackets need to be installed and bolted tight, and the tank interior needs the protective coating applied. Final touches will need to be completed when the tender is married to the locomotive. For now, it will enjoy prominent position under a covered display area while it waits.

Tender tank hoisted by crane

Photo by Brian Allen. Click on image to browse Brian’s entire Flickr album from the day.

The work on C&NW 1385 continued throughout the weekend. On Saturday loose parts were rounded up from their storage places and placed on shipping pallets. Then on Sunday, the crane was at work again, this time lifting the C&NW 1385’s running gear onto trucks for delivery to Spec Machine in Middleton, Wisconsin for restoration work there. The frame and two sets of driving wheels were loaded onto the first trailer around 2:00 p.m. The immense weight of these components required that one set of driving wheels and and the leading truck (i.e. the small wheels in the front that help steer the locomotive through curves) be separated, temporarily converting the 4-6-0 locomotive into a 0-4-0 wheel configuration. Project volunteer Pete Deets explains:

That conversion wasn’t by choice… On the day of the pick, the operator quit lifting at 84,000 lbs. and the running gear hadn’t budged from the rails yet. They dropped the front truck and the operator stopped again at 79,000 lbs. without lifting off. The #3 rods and driver were dropped and the lift was made at about 72,000-74,000 lbs. The truck and driver came in at 10,000 lbs. apiece.

The first tangible evidence of restoration progress returning to Mid-Continent was enough to entice reg in al media to come report on the 1385’s restoration, including a story by Capital Newspapers (publisher of Wisconsin State Journal) which includes interviews with Mike Wahl, Project Manager, and Don Meyer, former General Manager and now serve ring as the project’s fundraising consultant. There is also a nice video report by NBC 15, Madison’s NBC affiliate in which Pete Deets and DRM Industries’ Matt Hillmer do a great job conveying the challenges of the restoration and uniqueness of the 1385.

Our Steam Task Force team deserves a hand for delivering on the first major component of the restoration. They have put in countless hours in the nearly 2-1/2 years since the Wagner Foundation grant was announced, resuming the restoration. There is an even greater amount of work yet to do as the tender is only the first step in the returning of the 1385 to service. Aside from the running gear work alluded to earlier, the cab is about half done at a Fond du Lac woodworking shop. The new boiler will begin to be built after all the required calculations are complete to create the Federal Railroad Administration Form 4.

For things to continue humming along, continued financial support is needed. Please consider visiting our donation page to learn how easy it is to support the C&NW 1385 restoration.

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Completed Tender Heading to Mid-Continent, Running Gear Heading Out

There are three days of C&NW 1385 happenings planned for this weekend.

The delivery of the completed C&NW 1385 tender (which holds the locomotive’s coal and water) is scheduled for this Friday, November 15th. It will be loaded at the contractor’s shop in Lake Delton, Wis. in the A.M. hours and will arrive at Mid-Continent probably sometime mid-day or perhaps early afternoon. The finished tender will be placed on a display track for public display until the locomotive’s restoration is complete.

On Saturday (11/16), volunteers will be gathering, organizing, labeling and palletizing C&NW 1385 parts in preparation for shipment to a contractor’s shop.

Finally, on Sunday (11/17), the C&NW 1385’s running gear will be loaded onto a truck and delivered to a Middleton, Wis. machine shop which will be performing the repairs to that portion of the locomotive.

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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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