Southern Pacific #18 restoration – October 2015

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A room full of happy people listen to President Mull (in top hat)
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Rick and Grant (lead cook Doug not pictured) watch over dinner.

The weekend of October 17th proved to be the first work weekend that the weather was actually on the cool side. Some desert flash floods had occurred a couple days previous and caused havoc on some local roads. The same storm also brought the first signs of snow for the season to the Sierras.

Regardless of the weather, we trudged on with our restoration, more specifically the installation of the air tanks. To get the air tanks on, and to allow our out of town supporters see the engine – with its first coat of black paint applied the weekend previous – we pulled the engine entirely out of the park enclosure, its longest trip yet.

Before installing the air tanks we had to get some plumbing reinstalled. Due to the new running boards and cab floor, some minor adjustments had to be made in the form of adding holes, or just adjusting the hole sizes. The fireman’s side tank was first up and the easier tank to install. Due to their different manufacturing style from the originals, welded vs. riveted, the new tanks are slightly larger in diameter and length. As a result the steel straps that hold the tanks under the cab required some slight modification.

With the fireman side installed we pulled the locomotive back a bit further and headed to the other side. Much of the air plumbing had to be tightened up prior to the tank going on. With things ready, we squeezed the forklift in between the fence and engine. With some maneuvering, Okie engineering and some straps we were able to get the tank in place.

With both tanks on, it was time to put things away and head off to the party. There is not enough room on this website to thank everyone who helped put things together for our fundraiser, so I will just give a big THANK YOU to everyone. Over at the Legion Hall all the trash cans were cooking away for the famous Independence trash can tri-tip. About 140 came for dinner and between dinner, donations and raffles we received about $8600 dollars! THANK YOU ALL!!

Happy and full Saturday night we returned to the park Sunday morning to finish up securing the air tanks. We also got back to the final details on the jacket and worked on manufacturing some final boiler bands. All in all it was a fantastic weekend and we appreciate everyone that has been, and continues to be, a part of this project.

As a final note, check out Ed’s latest short video from the steam test in August.