Following is a summary of our October progress on the 2100 and the new baggage car. It was a good month and we are now very close to doing the hydro on the boiler.
Saturday, October 15, 2016:
For a change of pace, seven (7) volunteers were up for a change of pace and ventured out to Bellevue, OH and the Mad River & Nickel Plate RR Museum to inspect our new tool car, a 74’ long former NYC baggage car. The car is unique in that one end has full width double doors, common for the loading and unloading of vehicles or portable stage sets. Numerous lower inside wall panels were removed to inspect for water damage. Some wet insulation was found and some minor water damage was identified on the interior of the walls. The roof will need to be cleaned and resealed with a protective finish to help keep it watertight from the weather. The upper sill joint between the side sheets and the roof will need some attention as well. Also, where the side panels meet the side sills meet the frame, several inches worth of steel sheet will need to be removed and replaced.
Since this car will be used as a crew car, we paid particular attention to the car’s interior today. We lubricated door rollers, ground off rivet heads, pulled nails to see if we could open any doors, find any unknown rust spots or identified any rotting wood. With much effort, one of the steam heat radiators was removed from one side of the car and metal wall panels removed. We found some wet insulation, a hole rusted through from the outside, and identified some steel supports that will need replacing. Nothing was particularly severe but will require some metal replacement.
An area of rotted wood flooring just inside the side doors was removed to reveal a wooden sub-floor that will need to be replaced along with some light weight steel angle supports. Again nothing severe but will require time and effort to remove all the old and replace with new materials.
The side sliding doors also became a project. The rollers and hardware mechanisms were lubricated, the protective wooden cages were removed and dirt, rust, and accumulated debris were vacuumed up. The doors had not been used in more that 20+ years so once the door sills and roller tracks were cleared of debris, we slowly worked at the doors to free them up on their tracks and spray lubricant onto track guides as best we could. We successfully got five of the six sliding doors working smoothly. The last one will have to wait until the next trip to Bellevue when we have some more time.
All in all the trip was very worthwhile and we were able to determine the extent of the work ahead. Reading 2100 still remains our priority and although the crew car has a lot of potential and could come to life much quicker, we will likely be working on it only when Midwest has their open houses and we cannot be working on the locomotive.
A material list has been drawn up and a work plan is under way. When Midwest has another open house and we cannot work on the 2100, another work session will be held at the baggage car, though the 2100 remains our top priority. All in all, we are pleased to report that the car is sound and will be very useful as part of the ASR car fleet to support the 2100.
Saturday, October 23, 2016:
Four (4) volunteers this day tackled the leaking dry pipe. They started by initial charging the boiler with 10-15 psi and heard air escaping somewhere towards the front of the boiler. The air was released and after satisfying themselves that the leaking was not in the front end throttle or superheaters, the steam dome lid was removed for further examination of the dry pipe. Upon closer investigation, it was found that a purposeful hole had been drilled in the bottom of the elbow. We suspect this was done prior to the engine being laid up for storage in Richland, WA to help prevent and freeze up damage to the dry pipe. The hole was partially tapped and plugged with a bolt. A simple blanking plate was fabbed up with an air coupling added. The crew bolted it down and charged up the dry pipe and throttle again. No leaks…no hissing. This was a good test of the throttle valve turning and lapping exercise from earlier this fall. With that, the copper gasket on the dome was reannealed and the steam dome lid reinstalled in preparation for the hydro.
Saturday, October 30, 2016:
The 30th saw a group of three tackle some odds and ends. Most notably, one of the eccentric cranks was brought and analyzed for clean-up and polishing. The guys quickly came to the conclusion that the rods had all been carefully coated with a painted type of preservative out west. The wire wheel would not make a dent in it or loosen any of it up. A solvent similar to “Goo Gone” was applied with almost instantaneous results. The material immediately started to bubble up and was easily scraped off.
Also on this weekend, ASR sponsored their first luxury private car trip aboard the Morristown & Erie RR’s “Alexander Hamilton”, a fluted stainless steel sided observation car from the PRR’s Congressional. Thanks must go not only to the M&E but to Russ Swinnerton of Luxury Rail Travel for helping orchestrate all of the details of the event. Twenty eight customers rode in style from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh on Saturday behind Amtrak’s Pennsylvanian across the NS Pittsburgh Division, previously known as the PRR Middle Division through such storied railroad towns as Harrisburg, Rockville Bridge, Huntington, Tyrone, Johnstown, Altoona, Horseshoe Curve, Gallitzin, Latrobe and Pittsburgh. We overnighted in Pittsburgh and departed early the next morning for a beautiful ride eastbound in sun, taking in some dramatic fall colors on the return to Philly. Thank you, thank you, thank you to the 28 individuals who helped support the 2100 restoration. The crew compared notes with many of the guests and as a result are planning next years’ trip which will be bigger and better than this one. Stay tuned for more details about this other trips we are planning as well for 2017.
Submitted by Rob Gardner, American Steam Railroad