Tuesday, October 28, 2014
On October 20, 2014, the Northwest Railway Museum officially announced plans for a steam locomotive program, and identified the locomotives that have been selected for rehabilitation, restoration and operation. This is an exciting time for the Museum, and represents continuing fulfillment of the long-term plan first developed nearly 20 years ago.
The steam program will be integrated into the Museum’s interpretive railway, and has been developed with data measured during this year’s pilot steam program. In 2015, summer steam trains will formally launch and operate with Santa Cruz Portland Cement 2, the 0-4-0 steam locomotive on loan from the Museum’s Curator of Collections Stathi Pappas. This introductory program will operate Memorial Day weekend, most weekends in July and August, Labor Day weekend, and Halloween Train weekend in October. Following completion of the first of the Museum’s steam locomotive rehabilitations/restorations, the program is tentatively scheduled to expand beginning in late 2016.
Northern Pacific Railway locomotive 924 selected firstBeginning immediately and over the next two years, the Museum will rehabilitate and restore former Northern Pacific Railway 924, a 0-6-0 (six-coupled) locomotive. Built by Rogers Locomotive and Machine Works in 1899 for the St. Paul and Duluth Railroad as their number 74, the locomotive was renumbered 924 after that road was purchased by the Northern Pacific Railway. In the early 1900s it was Seattle’s King Street Station coach yard switcher, later serving the Seattle and Tacoma yards, and in light branch line service. Sold in 1925 to the Inland Empire Paper Company in Millwood, Washington she remained on their roster until 1969.
This locomotive is a classic example of late 19th century Northwest switching and branch line steam locomotives. When the locomotive is complete, the Museum will be the only American institution operating class one steam west of Colorado with regionally-appropriate motive power and rolling stock on its original railroad.
Two operating locomotives will allow the steam program to continue during scheduled maintenance and periodic servicing, and will allow for expanded service during large events. Consequently, the Museum is planning for the operation of two steam locomotives.
Canadian Collieries locomotive 14 selected as second.
Following completion of steam locomotive 924, the Museum will begin the complete rehabilitation of steam locomotive 14, a classic 4-6-0 (“ten wheeler”) locomotive. The 14 was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1898 for the Union Colliery Company as their number 4 using the same design developed for the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway. When that Vancouver Island mine was absorbed into Canadian Collieries, it was renumbered 14 and continued in service until 1960 when it was purchased by the Museum.
Making it happen!The Museum is making a significant commitment to steam by investing in people and facilities. A qualified team of paid and volunteer staff with prior experience in steam locomotive rehabilitation and restoration has been assembled and is being led by Curator of Collections Stathi Pappas. Pappas has a graduate degree in Archeology, and has participated or led more than a dozen similar projects.
The machinery required to perform the work has already been obtained for all aspects of boiler and running gear work. The work will be performed inside the Conservation and Restoration Center, the purpose-built collections care facility opened in 2007 and already equipped with an inspection pit, a monolithic floor, and utilities including sanitary sewer with oil-water separator that allow the Museum to maintain the locomotives in an environmentally-responsible manner.
On Tuesday, October 28, 2014, the Northwest Railway Museum
steam restoration project officially launched with the movement of former Northern Pacific Railway steam locomotive 924 to the Conservation and Restoration Center
. The 1899-built Rogers six-coupled locomotive was carefully pulled from the static exhibit track in Snoqualmie by Baldwin Lima Hamilton-built diesel-electric locomotive 4024, an RS4-TC that powers regular trains at the Museum. Work to collect data that will eventually allow the boiler to be certified is expected to begin shortly.
The curatorial steam team headed by Stathi Pappas made quick work of the assignment, which also relocated Baldwin-built steam locomotive 14 to an accessible storage track. Canadian Collieries 14 is a 1898-built ten wheeler that will be the second locomotive to operate in the Museum's steam program. Its pre WW II wood-framed tender presented several challenges to the team, but in the end was moved without sustaining any damage. 14 is in most respects similar to 924 so many techniques developed for the 924 will be transferable. It is not expected in the Conservation and Restoration Center until locomotive 924 is substantially complete, possibly in 2016. Locomotive 924 had a few issues to overcome too. A door on the ash pan (924 was coal-fired until the very end) fell open and was discovered dragging along the ballast shortly after the locomotive began to move. It was spotted and quickly wired up without incident, and the movement continued.
Several major grants and contributions have been pledged and work will begin next week; additional fundraising will be performed during the next 24 months to offset costs that will approach $1 million. Contributions are encouraged and will be used to directly pay for the work performed; they can be made on the Museum's secure web site here and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.