The weekend of April 12th and 13th was to be the weekend for the final push to lower the #18 back onto her driving wheels. By the end of the day on the 12th after a year and a half the #18 was back on her wheels.
There was only about 6″ further to lower the locomotive. Just as before we had to lift, remove cribbing, and then lower and reset the jacks, while in between checking the driver boxes and making adjustments as needed. Shortly after we began lowering we had to re-install the remaining spring rigging for the #3 drivers. Because of tight clearances, and issues with the rear springs and driver boxes this was a difficult job. After some sweat and hard work we got them in.
At the front end things were a little easier with the pony truck. We removed the cribbing, double checked the alignment of the bolster then lowered the locomotive into the pony truck.
Once down far enough for the frame to clear the bottom of the driver boxes we installed the frame binders, and ran the wedges up. The latter of which will be properly adjusted later. Finally it was all clear to lower her down all the way. Once down we made note of any issues and took some measurements for later reference. It was found that the locomotive was still not sitting quite right and that we will have to build up at least two of the spring saddles to accommodate for the crown brass and axle work.
On Sunday it was decided that it would be best to roll the locomotive as far as possible in hope that she would settle with the drivers and the driver boxes with the frame. While prepping for this move, copper ferrell’s for the tubes were being installed in the front tube sheet.
When we where ready to move, we hooked her up to a jeep with a winch and pulled backwards until the back end was outside the tent. This was the first time she had been outside the tent since 2011. Then we pushed (with man power) her back in. As planned, this did align the locomotive and wheels.
As before THANK YOU to all who came out to help. This was a big step towards completing the restoration. It sure is good to see her on her wheels again.
In other news we now have available for purchase a limited edition 13×19 print of Jan Rons painting of the #18 at our proposed engine house. Details can be found by following the link on the upper right side of the page.