Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Number 19 Progress...

All 231 tubes are cut and in place. The tubes are rolled in the front tube sheet, and welded in the rear tube sheet. The reason for this is that the tubes heat up faster than the boiler and sheets. By only welding one end, the tubes can expand slightly without buckling or stressing the tube sheets. 

Eric Wunz and Jerry Huck assist Brian Fleming with rolling the tubes in the the smokebox end. 

A custom extension to make the job a little easier on everyone.

At the Backshop...

The off-season is one of the best times to get caught up on repair projects and to make improvements before the trains start running. In this update we'll introduce you to some of the less glamorous, but no less essential, tools that keep the railroad running.

Arguably one of our most important pieces of equipment is this vintage Hyster forklift. Its big, noisy, outdated, thirsty on fuel, and utterly essential. This winter Tom Young did a ton of work on the hydraulic system while Jerry Huck and Eric Wunz gave it a tune-up and a new paint job. The colors aren't original, but they are a massive improvement over the faded and dirty solid yellow. In regard to heritage, research indicates that this forklift may have once been used at the Oregon Lumber Company mill in South Baker. 

A new addition to the equipment fleet is this John Deere backhoe that we purchased early this year. There is a season worth of projects lined up for this machine in 2013, ranging from track work to landscaping. At the moment it is proving valuable in removing snow and keeping the yard open so that work can continue throughout the winter months.

The radial drill press has been rewired, cleaned, and painted. This large machine has been mounted to a new concrete base, and has been used many times already on the number 19 overhaul.

This industrial grade grinder was recovered from a scrap pile and refurbished by Taylor Rush and Jerry Huck. The tool cost of the rebuild was less than fifty dollars, while the cost of a new model is over three-thousand.

The Cincinnati mill has been cleaned up and repainted as well. Hopefully we will get a chance to pour a new concrete pad for it when the weather warms up. 

Even this humble drill press has gotten some tender loving care. Rewired, cleaned, and painted, its ready for years of service.

Christmas Trains...

The 2012 Christmas Trains were held on December 8th and 9th, and the weather could not have been better. Ridership was good, we had a lot of support from Sumpter, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. For 2013 we will be offering two weekends for Christmas Trains, the last weekend of November and the first weekend of December, with a night train on December 14th for the Sumpter tree lighting and parade.

 Dawn at McEwen, the temperature is 9 degrees.

The sun is just hitting the peaks of the Elkhorn Mountains.

John Rollins rides the pilot as the passenger train is made up for the first run of the day.

 Santa is at the station to greet the train and get your Christmas lists.

 Number 3 departs Sumpter in a cloud of steam and smoke.

The last train arrives in McEwen just as the snow begins to fall.

Winter Work...

After the photo trains in mid-october, the railroad enters a somewhat dormant period prior to the Christmas Trains. As the temperature drops and the snow starts to fly, equipment is moved in for winter storage. The shops remain active as there is always repair work to be done, or special projects to be completed.

The first snow of the year piles a few inches on the equipment on display at McEwen.

With number 19 still under repair, work moves forward on equipping the Heisler with a snow plow in case it is needed for the Christmas Trains. Here we find Eric Wunz, Jim Grigsby, and Jerry Huck discussing how to mount the plow to the pilot.

A head on shot of the plow, a former highway unit, as it is getting fitted to the Heisler. The plow has been used sparingly in the past, usually with diesel switcher number 110. 

The Heisler being switched out so that we can access equipment stored behind it in the shop. Note that all the brass work and jewelry has been removed for winter, and that the pilot steps have been taken off to fit the snowplow. 

Diesel-electric number 720 is spending the winter in the Restoration Shop, and its a tight fit. It is hoped that this locomotive can be returned to service in the near future as it would be ideal for off-season events and snow plowing.

The plow has been fitted and given a festive paint job for the Christmas Trains. In the end, the snow wasn't deep enough to require the plow. Oh well, better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. 

Fall Foliage and Photographers Weekend...

Every year in mid-October the Sumpter Valley Railroad runs a weekend of photo trains that feature much of the operable freight and passenger car fleet with a backdrop of fall colors. Heisler number 3 has been handling the show for the past few years, but both locomotives should be available for 2013.
Visit our official website at www.sumptervalleyrailroad.org for more information.