An update at 15 months into the restoration and overhaul of ARR 557. We continue to be amazed by what can be accomplished by a group of volunteers with a vision.
The drivers have been cleaned to bare metal of paint and grease, inspected, and primed. They look good and they left for Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum the first of the last week to have the journals turned and roller burnished and a very light machining done on the tires.
The air pump has been cleaned externally and shipped to Steam Services of America in North Carolina for rebuild.
One of our crew has been inspecting and rebuilding all the valves.
The process of cutting out the stays in preparation for removing the firebox is coming along well.
The power reverse has been dismantled and may require as little as cleaning, lubrication, and new seals. (Does anyone have a line on tech data/drawings for a BLW type T power reverse?)
New flues and tubes are on order. Half of the cost is coming from a recent grant awarded for the their purchase with the other half is coming from our major matching grant.
The locomotive suspension has a nested coil spring set on each side. The spring package OD is 5-1/4" with a 7-1/4" working height. One of the outer springs is broken and a duplicate of that one spring made to the BLW drawing would have cost us over $800. However, by ordering stock sets of nested springs that are very close to the same capacity and rate we can replace both sets of coil springs, including USPS flat rate postage, for just over $100. How do they sell them so cheaply?
When we started the project and became the owners of the locomotive in August of 2012, there were no drawings. We now have drawings from several sources and continue to find more. The Pennsylvania State Archives recently sent me a list of their drawings for the class, including large drawings of cylinders, frame and frame drilling, boiler, elevation and sections, and spring rigging. On Friday I received drawings for several of the valve gear links from the California State Rail Museum and expect we will be able to get most of the remaining valve gear drawings from them. From these two sources, the Allen County Historical Society, and another collection drawing images we should finish with close to 700 drawings.
An interesting discussion involves the electrical system and how much electrical power will be needed to operate a 1943 steam locomotive on a modern railroad. The generator is rated at 500 watts. When the locomotive was in service and a radio was installed, a second generator was installed, but that was removed before the locomotive was sold for scrap. We are checking loads to see if a modern radio and replacing most of the incandescent lamps with LEDs will allow the existing generator to support the load.
Our most recent status update with photos is at http://alaskarails.org/pix/former-loco/ ... index.html
. One interesting item is the numbers that were revealed when the paint was removed from the cylinder block. The number "43306" is the Baldwin order number for the locomotive. I believe that 716 is the BLW sequential number for this locomotive within the class.