Restoration – January 22, 2011


We removed the tender’s trucks in order to rebuild them…and temporarily replaced them with Rio Grande freight car trucks. 
truck_1 truck_2
An essential part of the restoration process is replacing the boiler tubes. They have to be cut out, front and back, and then pushed and pulled out through the holes. It requires 3 men and is time consuming, dirty and difficult. We’re about 70% finished.

tube_1  tube_2  

The boiler shell must be tested for thickness and strength…and must meet very stringent standards. The first step in the testing process is graphing out the boiler shell in one foot squares.


Finally, we are going to have to replace defective staybolts (the bolts which position the inner shell of the boiler in relation to the outer one). We didn’t get around to it this time…but we will soon.


Particpants were Dave Mull, Randy Babcock, Forrest Newman, Rick Eckhardt, Charlie Cross, Gerry Mulryan, Patrick Garland from Virginia City, Marty Westland and Bob Babcock (Hope I’ve got everyone).
Meanwhile off site work is continuing; about half of the air brake valves have been rebuilt (by Chris) and are operational, Charlie Cross reports both injectors are nearing completion, Gerry Mulryan is creating a second set of water glass valves, and John LePrince has completed one of the classification lamps and is set to begin work on the second one.


Restoration – November 20, 2010


John Miller and his crew arrived at 8:30 with his Landoll. Despite the tight space, Donny Miller maneuvered it into position on his first pass. The train specialists took about 20 minutes to build temporary tracks and to secure them to the bed of the Landoll. Another 15 minutes and John had the tender loaded. Backing out was more difficult – the rear axles had to be moved forward to shorten the wheel base – but it didn’t take more than half an hour to transport the tender to our yard at the Eastern Sierra Museum. 
Unloading took about an hour and seemed quite dangerous, especially when a rail end snapped.

critical john_and_denny_miller

But all went well. John used his medium duty International to pull the tender forward while the winch on the Landoll controlled backward movement.

cabWe returned to Dehy Park and John used his large tow truck to remove the locomotive cab and load it onto the trailer. It took about a half an hour but most of that was used to remove bolts which escaped previous notice and to free various obstructions.

All told it took no more than 3 hours to do the whole job. It’s worth noting how important the modern equipment and crew expertise were. Had we tried to do things the way they’d been done in 1955 we would have had to dig trenches, build ramps, and partially close 395. It would have taken days…Oh, by the way, John Miller and his crew DONATED their time.

Meanwhile the train crew were busy doing stuff which was just as important but is much harder to photograph and explain


  • Removed air compressor
  • Rolled engine back about 6 feet to get away from the front fence.
  • Loosened both boiler blow downs for upcoming lapping and rebuilding.
  • Loosened all boiler plugs and numbered for upcoming boiler interior wash.
  • Removed both steam delivery pipes in smokebox to facilitate tube removal.
  • Removed smokebox front for tube removal.
  • Began needle scaling rust around staybolt caps and where cab mounted on wrapper sheet.
  • Cut out about 40% of tubes.
  • Built stairs up to cab floor for easier working.

Off Site, a lot is going on as well


  • Both injectors are currently well along in their rebuilding in Virginia City by Charlie Cross
  • All air brake valves are in Durango and have just begun the rebuilding process by D&S air brake mechanic Chris Brophy.
  • Cab is in Olancha and will be thoroughly documented as per locations of electrical, stripped, sandblasted have the metal repaired and primered. This is phase 1 of the cab project that will likely take 1-1 1/2 years.
  • Classification lamps are being rebuilt for ultimate operation and more immediately for display at the museum.
  • All cab windows are being repaired/rebuilt by Dennis Burke.
  • Tender ice box is being rebuilt by Dennis Burke as well.
  • Gerry Mulryan of Mohave is beginning to build a new pair of water glass valves to match the existing ones and go with our newly donated water glass.