June 5, 2018
For the past few weeks we have been preparing the engine for it’s first steam-up since the early 1950’s. We were able to achieve a full boiler hydro except for some very minor leaks which we addressed last week.
The usual jacketing work continues making templates and check fitting the fabricated sheets.
We had planned a fire-up on June 4th so we had an oil delivery on May 30th. On Saturday, June 2nd, final preparations were made for the fire-up.
As with many carefully made plans, some are wrought with unforeseen circumstances. At the end of our normal Saturday work session we began pushing the locomotive and tender back into the engine house, as we’ve done many times before. The trailing truck, for no known reason, derailed the engineer’s side inside the track just past our service pit to the east. The fireman’s side did not derail which put major stress on the rail supporting 12″ x 3/4″ thick H-beam twisting it outward. As a result, obviously, no fire-up on Monday the 4th.
We were able to finally find a re-rail company to come out and look at the predicament. Due to the unstable pit structure, re-railing in the conventional way was not an option. We left the site at 7:00 pm.
Instead of a fire-up, volunteers came in Monday, one as far away as Lubbock, TX and one from PHX, to help clear a path for the side boom tractors to come in and lift the rear of the engine just enough to walk the engine west to stable track.
One casualty was our gift store that was completely dismantled to give room for the side boom counter-weights.
The pit wall will be reinforced prior to moving the locomotive.
Needless to say this will put a major hole in our budget. The re-railing company will need to be paid and the heavy steel pit structure will need to be rebuilt. The gift store will also need to be replaced. Rail retaining clips will need to be procured and welded to the 12″ x 12″ H-beam.
I wanted all to know what has taken place and to ask everyone who follows our restoration to please dig deep again and help us out financially as we go about the work of recovering from this unfortunate mishap.
Work will continue on the site Wednesday as best we can, and as always . . .
Keep on Steamin’,
Rick Kirby, CMO