Steam railroading to return to Alaska!

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NP317
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Re: Steam railroading to return to Alaska!

Post by NP317 » Sat Jul 15, 2017 10:00 am

Dick:
Thanks for the info. I can imagine that Monte Holm's name does float into everyone's consciousness.
For those not knowing the locomotive's history, Monte preserved this locomotive at his home "museum" in Moses Lake, Washington Sate.
Thank you Monte!

As for the firebox plate thickness, I believe that the original 3/8" thickness was still thinner than "normal" due to wartime issues. All 4 of the steam locomotives I have helped restore and operate (Baldwin, Heisler, Climax built) were built in the 1920s, and had 1/2" thick firebox plates. Of course, improvements in metallurgy by WW2 could have allowed thinner sheet giving similar strength. Just speculation on my part.
There's an opportunity for someone to teach...

Get the C steaming!.
~Russ

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Dick_Morris
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Re: Steam railroading to return to Alaska!

Post by Dick_Morris » Mon Aug 07, 2017 2:00 am

July was a very productive month for the Alaska Railroad 557 restoration crew and it finished off with $12,500 in corporate and foundation grants. For details, see the latest status report at http://www.557.alaskarails.org/restore/ ... index.html. Links to 60 other status reports created over the last five years can be found at http://www.557.alaskarails.org/restore/index.html.

We are also pleased to announce the release of our new video, "Engine 557 - Restoring Alaskan History." It's on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2TN6y4Xxds.



As per or philosophy on running an extremely tight organization, the writing, videography, narration, and background music were all donated and our final cost was zero.

Harold_V
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Re: Steam railroading to return to Alaska!

Post by Harold_V » Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:24 am

Very nice video, Dick. Wonderful progress on the engine, too. Thanks for sharing.

H
Wise people talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something.

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Dick_Morris
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Re: Steam railroading to return to Alaska!

Post by Dick_Morris » Fri Nov 03, 2017 6:42 pm

The new status report is posted at http://www.557.alaskarails.org/restore/index.html.

A photographer from the Alaska Dispatch News made one of his periodic visits and posted a photo essay at https://www.adn.com/slideshow/alaska-li ... -railroad/

For anyone is interested in the 3-foot gauge Wild Goose Railroad Class A Climax owned by the late Keith Christenson, the locomotive is for sale. Contact information and a pre-disassembly photo are included in the 557 status report. The Climax is located about 60 miles from Anchorage, Alaska.

Cary Stewart
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Re: Steam railroading to return to Alaska!

Post by Cary Stewart » Sat Nov 04, 2017 5:50 pm

Hello Dick,
Each time I review your progress I always look at that wonderful number plate. How hard would it be to make a mold and cast replicas of this plate as a belt buckle? Bronze or Steel or? about 1 1/4" high and length at correct proportion. The only fly in this idea is that belts with snaps are getting hard to find. Satin chrome the bronze one. Paint the red where it is red. I would send you some bucks for one. Price? Unknown. But I would buy one what ever the price.
Cary

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Dick_Morris
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Re: Steam railroading to return to Alaska!

Post by Dick_Morris » Sat Nov 04, 2017 7:00 pm

We were unable to find the original number plate so one of our volunteers did the art work and created a pattern using 3-D printer. An art foundry donated the cast iron replacement. I've thought about having him print the pattern at 1/3 scale, or about 3" diameter so I could cast some for sale as a fund raiser. I've resurrected my foundry tools and done several castings for my 1/8 scale Consolidation during the last few weeks, including the first casting I've done in brass, so it wouldn't be too difficult. If I do replicas, My thought is to do some in aluminum. Also to use bronze from some of the bearings we are replacing as a limited edition. Those won't be cheap.

I thought about seeing if I could reproduce them at 1/8 scale for my locomotive. With Petrobond sand I can sometimes make out parts of a fingerprint in a casting, so it may be practical. Since the printer file is already created, it's possible to make replicas at several sizes, although his printer isn't very high resolution for doing small stuff. I hadn't thought about other sizes.

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Dick_Morris
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Re: Steam railroading to return to Alaska!

Post by Dick_Morris » Tue Sep 25, 2018 11:54 pm

It's been a long time since I posted the link to the most recent report on the overhaul for operation of Alaska Railroad #557. They can be accessed at http://557.alaskarails.org/restore/index.html

A couple of years ago we were given a 15" Cincinnati shaper. Here is a short video as we learn some of the capabilities. Cutting a radius using a rotary table.

https://www.facebook.com/terry.douglas. ... wNTMzNDE5/

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Dick_Morris
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Re: Steam railroading to return to Alaska!

Post by Dick_Morris » Sat Dec 01, 2018 12:14 am

We had a rather abrupt wake up call this morning. A 7.0 earthquake shook us pretty well. However, both the ARR #557 Engine House and my own house and shop came through pretty much unscathed. My house is about 12 miles and the Engine House is about 25 miles from the epicenter. I haven't heard how the Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry fared, it must be about 20 miles from the epicenter.

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Re: Steam railroading to return to Alaska!

Post by Harold_V » Sat Dec 01, 2018 4:32 am

Good to hear you're ok, Dick. Network news has shown some pretty heavy damage.

H
Wise people talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something.

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NP317
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Re: Steam railroading to return to Alaska!

Post by NP317 » Sat Dec 01, 2018 11:00 am

Also glad to hear you are OK!

Earthquakes are frightening! I grew up 5 miles from the infamous San Andreas Fault, south of San Francisco.
By age 8 I could tell the difference among 3 types pf quakes.

I hope to hear more good news from your area soon.
~RN

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VO4454
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Re: Steam railroading to return to Alaska!

Post by VO4454 » Sat Dec 01, 2018 12:32 pm

Hello Dick, glad you faired well. I am in the Nor Cal Bay Area so these things are always in the back of your mind. On a lighter more selfish note how is the restoration coming along.

Stay safe and well, Vic
For Duty and Humanity

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Dick_Morris
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Re: Steam railroading to return to Alaska!

Post by Dick_Morris » Sat Dec 01, 2018 8:05 pm

I grew up in southern California and have lived in Alaska for about 40 years, so I've encountered earthquakes for most of my life. I still don't like them much. This was the most severe one I've ever experienced. It's quieter today, but yesterday, after the 7.0 quake at 8:35, we had five after shocks between 5.1 and 5.7, and 12 between 4.0 and 4.9, according to USGS. There were at least a dozen more that we could hear, but that weren't strong enough to feel. As best as I can tell, aside from a lot of stuff that was damaged or destroyed when it fell off of shelves, the biggest damage was where deep fills failed under roads. I have driven a number of times over the three that seem to be making the news. One is in Anchorage on a heavily used off ramp near the airport, another on the main road going north from Anchorage, and the third in on a well traveled feeder road in Wasilla, about four miles from the 557 Engine House. There were also some failed water and gas mains and one house that burned down. The 557 Engine House's neighbor across the parking lot is a working man's clothing store and his fire suppression sprinkler system failed and he had quite a bit of water damage. The Alaska Railroad suspended service until an assessment can be made of the affected tracks, but this is a fairly slow time of year for them.

The 557 restoration continues at a steady pace. We just got the new tender wheels and axles with roller bearings from the Alaska Railroad wheel shop. We contracted them to assemble the axle sets for us. Among the challenges of overhauling a 70 year old steam locomotive, no one makes parts for them. We found that tender wheels with a 5" hole as were originally fitted are no longer a standard item. One Canadian supplier had some, but the cost was 8-10 times what a standard freight car wheel costs. The solution was that the ARR found some get new, old stock axles for WWII hospital cars in their warehouse that were a larger diameter for the wheels but were reduced at the ends to fit a 5" bearing. (A lot of their circa 1950 passenger cars were converted from hospital cars.) These with new, standard sized wheels resolved the problem.

We are now working on the suspension. Replacement leaf springs were another challenge. Firms that do this work either didn't have an interest or couldn't get material of the correct thickness (5/16") for the leaves. We finally contracted with a firm in the U.K. who up made a couple of years ago a set of springs for a sister USATC locomotive that is being restored in the U.K. We expect them to be completed in February.

Monthly status reports are posted at http://557.alaskarails.org/ under the "status reports" button. December's should be posted within the next few days.

If anyone has a desire to support the project, our annual fund raising drive is underway - http://557.alaskarails.org/support/donate.html. I've issued a challenge that I will match up to $5,000 in contributions made through the end of the year.
DSCF2029.jpg
Crown stays were fitted in October when our contracted boiler expert and a helper came up for a ten-day trip.

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