Restoring a modified Allen 2-4-0 barn find

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tyleire
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Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2015 3:18 pm
Location: North Hollywood, CA

Restoring a modified Allen 2-4-0 barn find

Post by tyleire » Sat Sep 26, 2015 4:55 pm

First post here. I recently purchased an Allen Models 2-4-0 from a Craigslist ad in Colorado. Being a 26 year old techie from LA, I know absolutely nothing about machinery or welding, but I come from a family of german machinists whom I hope will eventually impart some of their knowledge to this kid.

The original builder is unknown, and the gentleman who sold it to me made it clear that other than it sitting for a very long time, not much at all was known about its origins or anything else about it for that matter, so before driving out from LA to pick it up I called around to try to get a handle on just what I was getting into. Marty Knox was extremely helpful in taking the time to look at the photos and confirm it was based on the Allen Mogul, and that some builders did indeed modify the driver arrangement to 2-4-0 in the 1960s. I also dropped by the Los Angeles Live Steamers club, who also confirmed the Allen parts and encouraged me to grab it for the price (peanuts)

After a road trip out to a VERY rural ranch in west Colorado, a quick looking-over revealed a few issues: the boiler jacket was rusted through in some parts, the firebox grates and ash pan were missing and the tender was going to need some rust removal around the base of the tank as it has clearly leaked through whatever material kept it from the metal, and most importantly I didn't have any way to check out the condition of the boiler - let alone a hydro test, but I wasn't going home empty handed, so I grabbed it. I was however pleasantly surprised to discover stamped to the cab of the engine several LALS boiler inspection stickers from 1968-1973, so it was kind of cool to know this little engine was coming home.

Since back in LA, I bought a hydraulic lifting cart from Harbor Freight that just fits the engine while still small enough to fit in a car and SUV, and joined LALS as a member. Next on the agenda is a boroscope and hydro test to check out the condition of the boiler (fingers crossed), see if I can't track down the original builder, and start work on the tender. At this point I'm not in any rush to get it running immediately and I'm thoroughly enjoying learning as much as I can about the hobby. Thanks to you guys for the wealth of information you've provided on this site - I've already spent hours using the search function and it's proven to be a fantastic resource for answering questions as I go.
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Last edited by tyleire on Sat Sep 26, 2015 7:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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dwilloughby
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Re: Restoring a modified Allen 2-4-0 barn find

Post by dwilloughby » Sat Sep 26, 2015 7:17 pm

Based upon the boiler inspections plates, I'm guessing that this was a cut down Harper Mogul. I know of two locomotives of that time period. One by Art Laidlaw and the other by the Pergande family. The story behind the Pergande locomotive was his back yard railroad was not big enough for the 30 foot radius required of the mogul so it was cut down to a 2-4-0. There were two gondolas, a box car and caboose with the train set.

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Marty_Knox
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Re: Restoring a modified Allen 2-4-0 barn find

Post by Marty_Knox » Sat Sep 26, 2015 8:23 pm

When he sent me the pictures I told him that if he didn't buy it, I would! Great find!

Jawn
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Re: Restoring a modified Allen 2-4-0 barn find

Post by Jawn » Sun Sep 27, 2015 7:59 am

Nice little engine, good luck with the rebuild!

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Pipescs
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Location: Lester Alabama

Re: Restoring a modified Allen 2-4-0 barn find

Post by Pipescs » Sun Sep 27, 2015 8:23 am

Note of encouragement.

What a great find.
I know absolutely nothing about machinery or welding
You are 26 with your whole life ahead of you to enjoy this hobby. Look into your local Community College system for Machine Tool Technology 147/148 or its equivalent. It is a basic shop/lathe/milling machine course. Most schools will have it as a night class if you are working days. I have messed around in my shop for over thirty years and while I could, with luck, make parts, I am taking it now to learn the finer arts. They will also have welding subjects also, which is my next endeavor.

Once again a great find and any locomotive is worth the effort to save in this day of plastic and junk.

Stay Motivated.
Charlie Pipes
USMC Retired

Current Projects:

2.5 Baldwin 2-4-2/2-4-4/0-4-4 Conversion (What ever)
Little Engines American Restoration
Bobber Caboose

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Pipescs
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Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:16 pm
Location: Lester Alabama

Re: Restoring a modified Allen 2-4-0 barn find

Post by Pipescs » Sun Sep 27, 2015 9:13 am

As I am taking the classes here in Alabama I became curious and looked up what you have in Los Angeles County. Out there you have the Los Angeles Trade and Tech College.

The classes that look to be the same are:

111 PRINCIPLES OF MACHINE TOOLS I (2) CSU

111 is a lecture class

112 TECHNOLOGY AND APPLICATION OF MACHINING I (4) CSU
112 is the Lab portion that supports the lecture period.

If it is like Calhoun, here in Alabama, the classes are actually taught together, or concurrent, I should say. We spend a night in the class room an then a few days in the shop making parts.
Charlie Pipes
USMC Retired

Current Projects:

2.5 Baldwin 2-4-2/2-4-4/0-4-4 Conversion (What ever)
Little Engines American Restoration
Bobber Caboose

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steamin10
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Re: Restoring a modified Allen 2-4-0 barn find

Post by steamin10 » Sun Sep 27, 2015 9:24 am

Ty: Welcome to the board, and your treasure among the rocks. At 26 you dont have to worry about machinist genetics, if you can fix a bicycle you are on your way. Probably the smartest thing was (besides buying the derelict) joining a club. The amassed knowledge, and positive feed back will serve you well.

I encourage you to follow the lore and knowledge of steam, much of it is timeless. For a few bucks you can get some of the Live Steam mags, offered on Ebay and other sights. While this is not whizz bang excitement of say 4 wheeling, it is not the destination, but the journey that is to be enjoyed. I hope you get to know the subtle joy I know, making chips, and creating my world.
Big Dave, former Millwright, Electrician, Environmental conditioning, and back yard Fixxit guy. Now retired, persuing boats, trains, and broken relics.
We have enough youth, how about a fountain of Smart. My computer beat me at chess, but not kickboxing
It is not getting caught in the rain, its learning to dance in it. People saying good morning, should have to prove it.

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Pipescs
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Location: Lester Alabama

Re: Restoring a modified Allen 2-4-0 barn find

Post by Pipescs » Sun Sep 27, 2015 9:33 am

it is not the destination, but the journey that is to be enjoyed
Well said...
Charlie Pipes
USMC Retired

Current Projects:

2.5 Baldwin 2-4-2/2-4-4/0-4-4 Conversion (What ever)
Little Engines American Restoration
Bobber Caboose

Bill C
Posts: 217
Joined: Fri Aug 08, 2008 9:14 pm
Location: Pensacola, FL

Re: Restoring a modified Allen 2-4-0 barn find

Post by Bill C » Sun Sep 27, 2015 1:42 pm

Hello Ty,

Welcome to one of the best discussion boards on the net. Congratulations on your great find! Please keep us updated on your locomotive. I am also a relative novice and with a lot of help, am building an Allen Mogul. Enjoy!

Bill C.

tyleire
Posts: 53
Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2015 3:18 pm
Location: North Hollywood, CA

Re: Restoring a modified Allen 2-4-0 barn find

Post by tyleire » Sun Sep 27, 2015 2:13 pm

dwilloughby wrote:Based upon the boiler inspections plates, I'm guessing that this was a cut down Harper Mogul. I know of two locomotives of that time period. One by Art Laidlaw and the other by the Pergande family. The story behind the Pergande locomotive was his back yard railroad was not big enough for the 30 foot radius required of the mogul so it was cut down to a 2-4-0. There were two gondolas, a box car and caboose with the train set.


This is awesome info. Doing a little Googling, Art Laidlaw sounds like he was a wonderful person, so sad to hear he passed. I didn't find anything on the Pergande family relating to the Mogul. I would assume this engine isn't Art's since he passed recently, but possibly the Pergande's? I'll ask around LALS.
Marty_Knox wrote:When he sent me the pictures I told him that if he didn't buy it, I would! Great find!
:D Thanks the help... and the kick in the pants to pull the trigger!
Pipescs wrote:Note of encouragement.

You are 26 with your whole life ahead of you to enjoy this hobby. Look into your local Community College system for Machine Tool Technology 147/148 or its equivalent. It is a basic shop/lathe/milling machine course. Most schools will have it as a night class if you are working days. I have messed around in my shop for over thirty years and while I could, with luck, make parts, I am taking it now to learn the finer arts. They will also have welding subjects also, which is my next endeavor.

Once again a great find and any locomotive is worth the effort to save in this day of plastic and junk.

Stay Motivated.
Thank you for the encouragement and great advice. I definitely will look into it as I'm beginning to miss college a bit. Could be a fun course!
steamin10 wrote:Ty: Welcome to the board, and your treasure among the rocks. At 26 you dont have to worry about machinist genetics, if you can fix a bicycle you are on your way. Probably the smartest thing was (besides buying the derelict) joining a club. The amassed knowledge, and positive feed back will serve you well.

I encourage you to follow the lore and knowledge of steam, much of it is timeless. For a few bucks you can get some of the Live Steam mags, offered on Ebay and other sights. While this is not whizz bang excitement of say 4 wheeling, it is not the destination, but the journey that is to be enjoyed. I hope you get to know the subtle joy I know, making chips, and creating my world.
Very eloquently put. You've already inspired me. Live steam has always been a fascination ever since I can remember and building my own locomotive has been on my bucket list for a very long time... I just didn't expect to end up with one so soon! With that in mind I'm taking it slow, enjoying the process and understanding the mechanics. Too much fun.

By the way my girlfriend attends Notre Dame which isn't far from you I think. Beautiful area... especially in the fall! One of these days I want to check out House of David while I'm out there.

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Pipescs
Posts: 1817
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:16 pm
Location: Lester Alabama

Re: Restoring a modified Allen 2-4-0 barn find

Post by Pipescs » Tue Sep 29, 2015 4:55 am

Beginners advice, from one beginner to another.

I would start with the tender. AS soon as the engine is up and running you will be happy that the tender is ready and waiting on the shelf. Mine was simply removing the rust and lining the inside with Monstliner Frame Saver. This along with cleaning out all the piping and valves. This winter it will get an outside coat of paint and brakes.

Yours looks a little more intense of a project.
Charlie Pipes
USMC Retired

Current Projects:

2.5 Baldwin 2-4-2/2-4-4/0-4-4 Conversion (What ever)
Little Engines American Restoration
Bobber Caboose

Pontiacguy1
Posts: 853
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:15 am
Location: Tennessee, USA

Re: Restoring a modified Allen 2-4-0 barn find

Post by Pontiacguy1 » Tue Sep 29, 2015 7:48 am

I've seen another of the 2-4-0 Harpur/Allen based locomotives here in the East. A fellow here has one that was definitely made from Allen Parts, but with the frame and boiler shortened and the rear drive axle left out. Otherwise, it is pretty well a stock Allen Mogul. The folks that built it already had an Allen ten wheeler, and I think they built this one so that they could easily put it into the back of their car or small SUV along with all their clothes, coal, etc... In other words, it was built as a small traveling locomotive. Seems to run very well, although I haven't seen it run in a few years now. I know that they still have it and that it is stored serviceable.

Really great find on your part! There are so many locomotives that I remember seeing running as a kid down here at Mid-South, and once the owner died, they simply disappeared. I know that a few of them were sold and carried off to places like Florida, Georgia, or Ohio, so I don't ever see them, but they are still around and hopefully active.

I remember a 2-4-0 that a guy used to bring out and run at Mid-South all the time, which was based on the Bill Morewood Raritan drawings. It was a decent runner, and they guy really enjoyed it. The man who built it died, and a guy that used to run it with him some and his widow tried to bring it out and run it once. They couldn't get the pumps to work, and loaded it up and took it back home with them. That was 20 or more years ago, and it has never been seen again. Stories like that abound. There are at least a half-dozen or so that I remember that have simply disappeared and never been seen again since the owner died, including the one described above. They're sitting in barns, basements, and garages out there somewhere just waiting for the right person and the right time.

I guess you happened to be the right person at the right time for this little locomotive. Congratulations on your find.

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