Southern Pacific #18 restoration – November 2014

Out of the house ready for the cab.On Friday afternoon the 21st, just prior to Thanksgiving, it looked as if it might be too windy to install the cab, well the weather reports were wrong and Saturday morning turned out beautiful. After some measuring and re-thinking of how to get the cab on, we opted to pull our roll up door up as tight as possible and pull the locomotive out of the tent, install the cab and push the engine back in. After easily rolling the engine out, some rigging, and doing a little tree trimming we were ready to set the cab on. With Doug Mull at the wheel of the forklift the cab came went on with almost no fight, we only had to trim one very small piece of the new angle iron cab frame.

cabinstall2 cabinstall1


With the cab on, we gently moved the engine back inside and cleared the tent door by only about 1/4″! Once safely back inside two new brackets were constructed and the rest of the cab bolts installed. With the exception of a few bolts, the cab is back on and secured and it sure does look good!


The applied brakes against the wheels.


Applied brake cylinder

With the cab on we went about completing the brake rigging. Jeff and Bob spent the afternoon in and under the engine finishing up pinning and adjusting the brake rigging while Ashley got the plumbing cleaned up to air up the brake cylinder which had already been rebuilt. By Sunday we had aired up and adjusted the brakes and things looked good. With a little more minor adjusting the brakes will be done.

Up on top of the boiler we also got the new lubricator lines roughed into place. While there is still a bit more work to go they are on their way towards completion. Also on top the stainless steel wire was wrapped around the boiler shell in order to hold the insulation in

Brake rigging in place.

Brake rigging in place.

place. We also finished the large 3-1/4″ boiler plug on the wrapper sheet that was in need of tapping and machining. Having a lathe just up the street we can use whenever needed sure is a huge help.


Wire and lube lines are now on the boiler shell.


The dry pipe sits on the pilot. The larger taper on the left end of the pipe was the leaky seat.

Lastly, we were ready to reinstall the dry pipe tee in the smoke box until we realized that all our moving around of things had made the dry pipe – flue sheet joint start to leak. After some head scratching and sleeping on it Saturday night it was decided to remove the throttle – which we had to do anyways for the interior inspection – and to see if we could easily remove the dry pipe and clean the seats. Well we could, and did, easily remove the dry pipe. After cleaning and reseating it, the pipe was reinstalled with the tee much quicker and easier than any of us expected and is awaiting a hydro test. All in all it was a very productive weekend.

Although we will possibly work in December, with the holidays and personal commitments, this may have been our last work weekend for 2014. If it is we can look back an be thrilled with all of our accomplishments this year. And don’t forget to do some Christmas shopping in our store or make a tax deductible donation before the end of the year.

And as always…we couldn’t do it without your support!

Southern Pacific #18 restoration – October 2014

Heating up the water in the boiler prior to the hydro.

Heating up the water in the boiler prior to the hydro.

Marty and Charlie relax after the hydro.

Marty and Charlie relax after the hydro.

The front tube sheet minus the steam pipes and tee. The lower right stud in the photo was the issue.

The front tube sheet minus the steam pipes and tee. The lower right stud in the photo was the issue.

The tee on the bench.

The tee on the bench.

Dave's trusty forklift with Doug at the controls.

Dave’s trusty forklift with Doug at the controls.


Coming in for a landing with the cab.

October 17th was a big day for this little restoration project. The FRA inspector was in town to witness the boiler hydro. To make sure that all was ready, Charlie and Rick gave the final half-roll on all the flues on the firebox end since earlier in the month our boiler welder Robby had finished the flue welding.

Next was to heat the water to the proper temperature required by the FRA to perform the official hydro, about 110 degrees is where we ended up. The hydro and subsequent inspection took the about half of the day Friday and almost everything was great. The one issue we discovered was a leak on one of the four studs holding the steam tee to the front flue sheet in the smoke box. This leak hadn’t appeared earlier. Since we had just put the steam pipes in since the last hydro, we proceeded to remove both pipes (practice makes perfect) and the tee. Upon inspection the lower fireman’s stud was leaking. Thankfully it appears that we can caulk it and it should be just fine.

With the FRA inspector on his way back to Sacramento it was time to move on to the next projects and get ready for the BBQ dinner on Saturday.

First up the cab. After considering multiple options on how to reinstall it (the tent wasn’t there when it came off), we felt it could be accomplished with some fork extensions on the forklift and rolling the engine to the front of the tent. Well, almost. After a couple try’s it was decided to abort the attempt and try plan B at the next work party.

Under the loco progress was being made with the brake rigging installation, although we have no photos to prove it, by the end of the weekend about 80% of the brake rigging had been installed and we should have the rest done at the next work day.

Finally, the BBQ! Once again, there was more support than could be imagined from a small town of 587 people. At the end of the night, after expenses, we had made $10,437 dollars!!! Of that almost $4000 was from raffle tickets alone! We also received one very generous $5000 donation!! We tried our first ever auction which earned $526 on the sale of one of the old piston rings, thanks Keith from Lone Pine.

To sum up the weekend, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to everyone that contributed with the labor to put it on and through the kind donations of money as well as raffle prizes that we received, as always it couldn’t be done without you.

I also want everyone to check out Ed Fleming’s new Volume 2 Restoration Video trailer, once again Ed is making a great documentary and if you haven’t picked up a copy of volume 1 you’re missing out.