Fire Up 2100

Major benchmarks met in February

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Saturday, February 10th proved to be an interesting day with several benchmarks completed on the firebox side sheet replacement project.

ASR members finalized several tasks including: removing some piping obstacles for stay bolt removal, grinding welds smooth on the stay bolt heads, all stay bolt caps have been removed in the defined area, all 450+ stay bolts have been removed from the side sheet areas, and all gaskets removed from the caps.

Needle scaling of the exposed boiler interior is well under way and will easily be completed during the next work session.

The next work session for members will be February 17.

New members are always welcome.


  • Complete – Firebox grate removal
  • Complete – Fire box side sheet cut and removed
  • Complete – The steam throttle is rebuilt and the valves lapped
  • Complete – Pressure test steam lubricator output
  • Complete – The draw-bars, draw-bar pins and keepers were brought inside the roundhouse
  • Complete – Draw-bar assembles to be cleaned up and dye penetration test
  • Complete – The draw-bar pin keeper for the locomotive needed some welding and that was completed.
  • Partial – Inspection of the running gear has been started and will continue.
  • Complete – The dynamo was put on the workbench, cleaned, and tested.
  • Complete – The throttle valves have been machined and the lapping process has started.
  • Complete – The throttle body threads were chased and cleaned
  • Complete – Copper gaskets were installed on the throttle heads ready for reassembly
  • Complete – The throttle linkage installed
  • Complete – A temporary cover was built for the stack
  • Complete – The remaining relief valve port has been capped for the hydro
  • Complete – Main cranks removed from tender and brought inside
  • Complete – Piping and electric cables removed from oil tank, oil tank prepped for removal from coal bunker

Many of us are new to steam locomotive parts, pieces, and terminology.  Here are a few links to help us start calling parts and components by their correct names:

Working Steam Path and Reversing Linkage

Steam Locomotive Parts

Working Systems of a Locomotive

Several of you have already emailed me the dates you will be at the roundhouse.  If you haven’t already, please let me know if you are coming to a work session.  Just email me at:

Gordon Hartschuh – ASR Crew Chief

August – September Restoration Report

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As of this writing, we have had 12 work sessions at the roundhouse between August 1 and September 23, as some of our members can volunteer during the week as well as on the weekends. We started by meeting our boiler contractor in July to lay out the work that would be needed to prep the 2100 for removal and replacement of the side sheets. Since then, the following tasks have been accomplished:

  • The stoker is now in storage at the roundhouse in Cleveland.
  • Marked out the limits of removal for the thin side sheet sections. This will include half of each rear vertical corner which has a formed radius.
  • Removal of flexible staybolt caps has been started but not yet 100% completed. Once removed, all staybolt caps will be sandblasted and the copper gaskets replaced.
  • The remaining plumbing on the outside of the firebox has been removed
  • The ash pan washout piping has been removed
  • The upper side sheets of the ash pan hopper were removed by torch cutting the bolts that held the sheets in place and removing them. This is critical to providing a clear path for the old sheets to come out and the new sheets to be fed up into the firebox.
  • The two outer rows of grates and rocker mechanism have been removed.
  • The grate bearers along the mudring area of on both side sheets have been removed.
  • Once the grate bearers were removed, we took additional spot UT readings in the area of the grates and found the sheets to be as thin, or thinner, than above the grates. As a result, side sheet replacement must go all the way to the bottom of each side sheet and will require all new mud-ring rivets (7/8”x10” buttonhead) be installed.
  • In September, our boiler contractor was able to spend portions of four days with Gordon Hartschuh, Forrest Nace and Greg Brown reviewing proper torch cutting and grinding procedures. The contractor began to torch cut staybolts on the fireman’s side. The method we are using will preserve each staybolt end, effectively cutting each one in half, so we have the exact layout and staybolt pattern intact and will use the old side sheet as a pattern to then layout the new holes in CAD.
  • The mudring rivets on the fireman’s side have been torch cut out, and the process started on the engineer’s side.
  • The two outer 3-1/2” diameter circulator tubes, one on each side of the firebox, were removed and set aside for use as patterns for new tubes. The tubes were an obstruction to removing the side sheets as they are within about 15” of each side sheet and we would not have enough room to peen over the ends of the new staybolts if they were left in place. New tubes will have to be purchased and formed for installation. We expect the total cost to replace these tubes, including all material, fabrication and welding to be $2,000.00. We are in the process of obtaining formal quotes for the tube material and bending at this time. These tubes will not be needed until all sidesheet welding and staybolt installation work is complete as they would be in the way otherwise due to their close proximity to the side sheets.
  • Our contractor has performed two vertical cuts on the fireman’s side at the front and back of the firebox for removal of that section.

Material Costs and Fundraising:

We have also been actively working on the fundraising for the new side sheets, staybolts, sleeves, caps and rivets that will be needed to complete the patches:

  • To date, we have secured the purchase of the material for both raw sides secured worth approximately $1,600.00 through an exclusive donor.
  • We also have secured the donation of the final cutting to size and bending of the side sheets to shape as well as the layout and drilling of the new staybolt holes by a reputable machine shop with very recent steam experience. This donation is valued at approximately $22,140.00.
  • The total material costs for the remaining staybolts, caps and sleeves will reach $52,800.00.
  • We will be replacing 85 staybolts, caps, and sleeves that are currently of sub-standard non-ASME and non-ASTM compliant material, or from a temporary “sleeve over sleeve” repair that is no longer permitted by the FRA. Thirty Five (35) other staybolts, plugs, and sleeves that were originally thought to be non-compliant are actually a compliant repair that was done using upgraded practices, and will not need to be changed unless the hydro test and/or FRA inspector determines otherwise.
  • We have ordered the needed mudring rivets from Diversifed Rail Services to add our mudring rivets to an order they are putting together for the rivets needed for the boiler work on ex-FEC 4-6-2 No.148 in Florida.

Remains of the Reading

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The Reading Company once maintained one of the largest railroad shops in the world and employed thousands in eastern Pennsylvania. Remarkably, the Reading shops still stand and have been adapted for other uses, but even more remarkable is this: one of the Company’s massive steam locomotives has survived and is now undergoing restoration.


October Work Session

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The American Steam Railroad hosted another volunteer work session on October 31st. With a dozen volunteers on hand, the following work was performed:

  • Cleaned smoke box of sand and soot from previous.
  • Replaced improperly installed washout plug on the throat sheet.
  • Continued drilling out stay-bolt tail tell holes inside the firebox and syphons.  Evidence shows that this work was not regularly performed during the engine’s last service life. This will help us get ready for the hydrostatic test.
  • Started needle scaling the outside of the boiler to make way for proper boiler protective painting with a boiler paint to stop rusting and protect the boiler for the long haul.
  • Washout plugs removed for inspection of the mud ring and boiler shell for inspection.

The next scheduled work session is November 21st and 22nd. Crews will be continue preparing for the hydrostatic test in addition to a potential fire-up.


Fundraising campaign for Fire Up 2100 begins

By | Fire Up 2100, News | No Comments

Following the cross-country relocation of a historic steam locomotive from Richland, Washington to Cleveland, Ohio, the American Steam Railroad Preservation Association (ASR) announces the official start of its capital campaign to rebuild Reading Company no. 2100.

“After conducting a detailed inspection of the engine, we’re ready to officially kick off the fundraising and restoration phase of Fire Up 2100,” explained Steven Harvey, President of ASR.

As part of Fire Up 2100, ASR has created the $21.00 Campaign, where supporters can commit $21.00 a month to the project for a year. Donors can sign up to contribute $21.00 or any reoccurring amount automatically online. Reoccurring donors are eligible for perks including merchandise, advance ticket sales and throttle time with 2100. For more information or to donate, visit


The project is estimated to cost $700,000 with major phases dedicated to running gear repair ($270,000), appliance repairs ($50,000) and boiler work ($95,000), among others. Upon returning 2100 to operable status, ASR will employ the 2100 in passenger excursion and educational outreach programs, capitalizing on the worldwide popularity of railroad tourism and unique appeal of steam locomotives.

“If 3,000 people sign up, we’ll have exceeded the fundraising goal for Fire Up 2100 in a year’s time,” Harvey stated.

Since moving the 2100 to Ohio, and with no formal development program yet in place, ASR has already seen $10,000 in donations and interest from regional railroads and corporate donors, including 100 sustaining members donating $21.00 a month as of October.

“The allure of steam locomotives is demonstrated nearly every year at the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. We’d like to collaborate with ASR to operate a series of test runs with 2100 and participate in our Steam in the Valley events,” said Ray Kammer Jr., Director of Operations and Planning for the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

Restoration work on 2100 will take place at the the Midwest Railway Preservation Society as part of an ongoing partnership with the organization.

Additional information, photos, and videos will also be released online at and

2100 Open House scheduled for August

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On August 15th and 16th, the American Steam Railroad (ASR) will unveil Reading Company steam locomotive No. 2100 to the public for the first time since its cross-country move from to Ohio for evaluation and restoration.

The event will feature exclusive access to No. 2100, guided tours of the Midwest Railway Preservation Society’s Baltimore & Ohio Railroad roundhouse, displays, caboose rides, and more. A special announcement about the Fire Up 2100 Campaign will be made Saturday afternoon at 2PM.

Hours for the event are 10AM-4PM Saturday and 12PM to 4PM Sunday. Admission and parking is free, train rides are $5.00. The roundhouse is located at 2800 West 3rd Street, Cleveland, Ohio, 44113

In April, ASR completed a year long effort to remove Reading 2100 from a storage site in Richland, Washington, shipping the historic locomotive 2,300 miles to Cleveland, Ohio in a trip that lasted nearly a month. Since then, mechanical contractors and volunteers have started an involved mechanical inspection of the engine with the goal to eventually return 2100 to operational condition for public excursions and tours, education outreach programs, and cultural programs.

The cost to inspect and return 2100 to operational status is estimated not to exceed $700,000. ASR is currently accepting donations at



TRAINS Magazine challenges readers to support Fire Up 2100

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Jim Wrinn of TRAINS Magazine recently penned this piece on Reading 2100:

The outfit leasing the engine and doing the work, the American Steam Railroad Preservation Association Inc., is looking for $700,000 in donations. That’s cheap when it comes to big 4-8-4s. If, say half of Trains’ 93,000 readers each kicked in $20, there would be $100,000 leftover after the restoration to buy a few gons full of anthracite coal to light her off. The association says the work will go fast – maybe we’ll see No. 2100 in steam as early as 2017, maybe earlier if money flows as fast as a stand pipe filling a 19,000-gallon tank. Isn’t a live Reading T-1 enough to get excited about?

Steam brings out passion in its admirers. It inspires and delights. It stirs the soul. But get out your wallet first before you start advocating for a second locomotive. Get satisfaction from what is before you. Let’s not get the tender in front of the engine.

For the full editorial, click here.