Restoration candidates

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Fri Dec 13 14:44:35 EST 2013

We need to remember, that ALL of the appliances on steam locomotives with rare exception, are long out of production and parts are scarce or unavailable. Some parts are a lot easier to come by than others. I imagine that the BL feedwater heater is a lot less common than the SA, and therefore, parts are a lot less common as well.

However, I don't think the availability of specific parts is any major deciding factor on restoring a steam locomotive to operation in the 21st Century. The single biggest factor is how bad does someone want that particular locomotive in operation, i.e. how much money and time do they have. Virtually anything can be fixed or repaired, with enough time and money. Granted you might not have as much of the original locomotive in a running restoration, but that is for others to argue

I don't think anyone has talked about 2156 as a candidate for operation other than pure speculation, and the overall complexity of ANY articulated, plus the front engine frame crack in this case, adds on to the cost, dramatically.

The UP is doing the Big Boy because it is iconic for the UP, they have corporate dollars, a shop and experience crew in hand. NS does not have the shop, or people. While they are backing the 611 effort, for which I am thankful, it is not the full blown program it once was, and it won't be.

I believe that when 611 was first put back in operation in 1982, the cost was in the vicinity of $250,000, but I could be wrong. Now, when it was complete and had run for a few months, it had to go back to the shop for a lot more work during the 1983 season, which would add to that initial cost. I think the estimate today is $500,000 to $750,000 and could easily be more.

I've seen one comment somewhere that the 1218 should be the one restored, not the 611.

I don't remember the numbers for 1218 in 1987, but I know it was a lot more complicated and expensive to put back, and due to finding more problems as they went along, the start up date kept getting pushed back. The 1218 was in the midst of a major overhaul in 1993-94, when the work was stopped by Norfolk. When the program ended, the 1218 was still in a bunch of pieces in the shop. A large number of appliances, air pumps, etc. had already been rebuilt, but most had not been hung on the 1218, but were still sitting on the shop floor on pallets. Those parts were sold off at the big auction, and what was rehung on the 1218 were simply empty shells. The grates were out, and are supposed to be with the locomotive. I believe that the firebox sheets are only held in with hardware store bolts, not true staybolts, the new flues and tubes were also sold off at the auction. All that being said, the 1218 would cost a lot more to put back into service, not to mention just finding a bunch of parts.

I suspect the 2156 would be as costly if not more so than 1218. 1218 also had a tram problem that was never able to be worked out before it was shut down.

The speed of the Y class really does not factor into today's operating issues, In their territory, they could make regular track speed. I've had a variety of enginemen and others tell me about rolling along on the level parts of the Radford Divison at 60 mph with no problem with trains of reefers. Today, top speed of about 50 mph on excursion trains is certainly about the maximum. I doubt either 630 or 765 in 2012 or 2103 exceeded the 40 mph mark, officially.

Personally, I'd love to see 2156 under steam, unless there is a huge financial backing, it is not going to happen.

Even with the popularity of the 611, why is the campaign not fully funded? Well, a bad economy does not help. But the one thing we learned in the years of operating excursions is a simple fact, railfans are NOT the folks who paid the bills to keep the trains running. Railfans just want to take photos or video, not actually support the effort and help cover the cost of operation or restoration.

Ken Miller

On Dec 12, 2013, at 9:26 PM, NW Mailing List wrote:

> There is a BL on LS&I #33 in Jerry Jacobson's collection. That locomotive was restored several years ago. It (the BL) was working back when she was running on the Hocking Valley scenic back when I was young enough to think shoveling cinders out of her smoke box was fun.


> Regarding 2156, I would think its main drawback to restoration would be that it's too slow to be suitably used as an excursion engine. Dad saw the occasional Y go through Circleville, OH (Scioto District) and thought they seemed slow back in the early '50s.


> Matt Goodman

> Columbus, Ohio

More information about the NW-Mailing-List mailing list