Southern Pacific #18 restoration – January 2015

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Scott and Rick look over the newly installed, cab and dynamo brackets.

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The firing valve and plumbing starts to go back on.

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Forrest holds the highly technical “bar napkin” drawing in front of the first roughed in baffle plate.

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The temporarily fitted cab flooring

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The redneck rod brass press is ready to go to work.

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Pressing out like butter.

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Rick is ready for the next rod.

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All pressed out and ready for new brass.

January 17-18 was our first 2015 work session. Refreshed and ready for some more fun, a small group of the guys made some good headway.

First up was to finish up bolting the cab down, and do some more adjusting the new lube lines and air lines to the sanders and bell. With those complete a trip to the museum was in order to bring back more pieces to the locomotive. Things like the dynamo base were reinstalled, the fuel valve and lines were put back in place and the new cab floor was brought out of storage to check to make sure it fits, although its not quite ready for permanent installation. The new boiler jacketing was also brought over and sorted out to make sure it is ready to go (sorry no photos).

Meanwhile, with a highly technical drawing in hand, Forrest began roughing in the new set of baffles for the smokebox. Baffles help to retain the gasses in the smoke box before they exit the smokestack and help improve steaming efficiency. As found in the park, the #18 did not have any baffles, only a petticoat pipe, but there was evidence that it did at one time have a “master mechanic” front end. After some consideration we decided to remanufacture a set of baffles in line with what it would have originally had. While they won’t be finished and installed until the steam pipes are permanently installed, Forrest’s work got us off and running.

Finally, after most of the jobs on the list were wrapped up, all the side rods were loaded onto the forklift and driven across the street (literally) to Dave’s shop where the old rod brasses could be pressed out. Thanks to our redneck rod brass press, all the brasses came out without much trouble. New brasses will be manufacture in the coming months.

Next up in February we will have the official FRA post hydro interior inspection, which will be the final FRA visit prior to the locomotive being steam tested. We also plan to have the smokebox back together and start reinstalling the firebrick in the firebox. Lastly, the boiler insulation should be applied to the boiler barrel. Along with all that, we are prepping up to get some dirt work done for track over at our new museum home.

February and on into spring should be an exciting time for the #18 project. As always, thanks for your on going support!


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.

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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!