Restoration candidates

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Sat Dec 14 02:58:40 EST 2013

Nice summary Ken. Thanks

Mike Weeks, Seattle
On Dec 13, 2013 2:04 PM, "NW Mailing List" <nw-mailing-list at> wrote:

> 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

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