Monday, December 17, 2012

223 Update - December 15 2012

The tender is pretty much done, and just awaits painting and interior coating which will be done by contractors. This time it's final. As such, work has been focused on the locomotive.
Several potential boiler contractors have been contacted, among which are Wasatch Railway Contractors in Cheyenne (who has been helpful to the museum in the past) and an Amish fellow who does traction engines but has recently branched out into locomotive boilers. The final pick will be announced when the decision is reached.

The Johnson Bar was primed and reassembled, and since the number 1 request our group gets is for detail pictures, here are some:

And finally, the uncoupling bar has been installed on the pilot, which just needs paint to make it complete.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Frontrunner South public opening

December 8th was the public opening of Frontrunner South, the extension of Utah's commuter rail system from Salt Lake City to Provo. The route is interesting in that it follows the old D&RGW main line nearly the entire way, and offers glimpses of portions that aren't normally seen by the public, such as the Jordan Narrows (interestingly, the Narrows was originally shared by the D&RGW with the Salt Lake & Utah, the "original" Frontrunner South that ran all the way to Payson). Rides were offered for free from 10 am to 10 pm.

The Golden Spike Chapter took the oppurtunity for a field trip and rode Frontrunner from Ogden to Salt Lake, and from there changed to one of the free trans to Provo. Utah County appeared to be quite excited for the event, as lines in Provo stretched the whole length of the platform and across the parking lot despite the freezing temperatures and light snow. Here are some pictures at the newly constructed Provo Station:

Friday, November 30, 2012

223 updates: November 2012

So the mystery is closer to solving. Why won't the 223's wheels turn? It was originally thought that it was because of the bent main rod on the fireman's side, but the pins were pulled and the rod disconnected from the wheels...and they still won't turn. So that rules that possiblity out - there's something deeper that's keeping the axles locked. What it is we don't know yet.

An attempt was made to roll the 223, with the rod disconnected, to remove the rods completely, and nothing happened with the car boot -  other than actually lifting the pony truck from the rail. A pickup was chained to the drawbar pin...and likewise nothing happened. So this is going to be harder than we thought.

On November 24 quite a bit of work was accomplished. In the past few months the piping, brake cylinders and johnson bar were removed, leaving the boiler looking very bare. Maynard reported in the last chapter newsletter that "As fill in for the winter we are working on many of the engine parts.  Some pipes are being replaced with new pipes.  Parts are being removed and cleaned up either by sand blasting or in the solvent tank.  The engine brake pistons have been removed to be cleaned up and refurbished.  One seems to work well but the other is leaking around the piston seal.  Numerous sheet metal pieces have to be made and holes cut into the metal cab floor pieces for pipes and levers.  Sand blasting of the big parts is being done at a commercial shop.  Since I am the one taking the parts in and back, I can verify that they are heavy."
The pieces were sandblasted, and an exclamation of "That's what you see in real restoration shops!" was jokingly directed towards Maynard:
Then they were primed...

With a break to enlighten a visitor on the Cumbres & Toltec, since that is one of the railroads that's been tossed around as a location for the 223 to run.

The coupler cutoff bar has been completed and chained to the pin. The brackets were made by Bob Wachs, who as noted in the previous post (Chapter News) passed away the next day on November 25. He has left behind a legacy in his work on the 223:
Plus, the main airtank hydro tested. We are deciding if we want to reuse it, or build a new tank and encase it inside the original shell.

With work on the tender wrapping up, as can be seen attention is being focused on the locomotive itself. Maynard wrote about what needs to be done to complete the tender:
"Coating the inside of the tender tank is a bigger problem than I expected.  There are numerous materials we could use but there is little data as to how well each would perform.  By the end of the year we should have the air tank renovated and the airline piping done.  We won't put the air tank on the tender until spring when the weather is nice.  We need to roll the tender out of the shop and have a crane lift the tank up and onto the rear of the tender water tank.  Along with this we need to install some steel plates on the bottom of the wooden bolster beam.  We can hopefully do both when we have a crane come to the shop.
"We received the pipe (3/8 inch and 1 1/4 inch) we had on order.  Getting the 3/8 inch seamless pipe turned out to take more time than expected and it is expensive. Great Western Supply agreed to give us the pipe and fittings at cost, which sure helped.  We pressurized the big tender air tank and it passed our test at 120 psi. The vertical drain pipe was clogged so we had to cut it out.  Will install a new pipe and weld up the 2 inch square hole we had to cut into the tank.  The 2 inch hole made it easier to clean out the rust particles.  The three rusted tension rods will be replaced next Saturday with new 1 1/8 inch steel rods.  Like the tender water tank we plan to coat the inside of the air tank.  Open for suggestions as to what we should use."

Monday, November 26, 2012

Chapter News!

Some interesting items:

First off, Frontrunner South opens December 10th, which is exciting for many because it connects Utah Valley with the rest of the Wasatch Front's rail network, and one can take the train all the way from Provo to Ogden. Great news, even though the interurban network used to run from Preston, Idaho all the way south to Payson...Frontrunner isn't anything new, but it is definately a welcome addition to the rapid growth of Northern Utah.

The chapter hosted an open house during the two visits from Union Pacific 844 in September. Because the 844 pulled into the museum tracks forwards rathern than backing in as usual, it was positioned directly in front of the shop, which attracted many people to see the work on the 223.

Jay Hudson, the man responsible for the restroom rennovation, has kept busy interviewing our current restoration crew, and has written short biographies that were added to the chapter website today - interesting stuff if you want to know more about the people behind the 223 project. The updates can bee seen here: Volunteer Biographies

On a more somber note, we are sorry to hear that Bob Wachs passed away Sunday, November 25th, of pancreatic cancer. Bob was the blacksmith of the project, and rode Frontrunner every Saturday from Murray to help out. His eagerness and smile will be missed.
Bob (with the hammer) making a bracket for the coupler cutoff bar.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Updates on the 223

Well, it's been a while since we last posted about the 223, so here's what's happened during that long interlude. This is one photo-filled blog post, so hold onto your hats folks!

The cab floors:
The coupler cutoff bar:
Coal capacity extension boards:
Piping brackets: (the PVC is just a stand-in...the final piping will be real metal)
Lots of work accomplished...the tender is almost done!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

More equipment security

A little update on the Rail Center and Utah State Railroad Museum equipment security:

Ogden City and the Ogden Police Department are moving forward towards installing cameras that will be tied into the Ogden security camera system, to catch vandalism while it happens. In addition, approval has been made to repair the fence along the back and side, which is very much in need of patching.
All of the broken windows have now been boarded over, and approval has been given also to purchase replacement glass to fix the damage.
The 833 hasn't been forgotten either. A few months ago vandals knocked down the rear storm wall of the cab, and the Golden Spike Chapter removed it completely to repair the hinges and door which were badly rusted. Work on the wall and door has progressed quickly, but in the meantime, plywood has been placed over the large opening to keep people out of the cab.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Improvements to the shop

Well, the restroom has been finished and boy does it look good! As mentioned before, in a nod to the 223's Rio Grande heritage, the walls were painted in the aspen gold and silver four-stripe scheme that adorned many of the D&RGW's passenger cars and locomotives.
Some close-ups of the decorations:

Print of a Gil Bennett painting of the 223 (which is for sale, by the way, on the chapter ebay page)

This shield was made by Jay, who was behind the improvements to the restroom. If the latin confuses you, it means "volunteer labor", an appropriate slogan for an all-volunteer, donation-funded project.

And of course, some golden spikes. This is Utah, after all, and the 1869 completion of the Trancontinental Railroad is as much a part of the museum's heritage as the 223.

Some have remarked that we probably have the best-looking restroom in any restoration shop in the country. While most of us have little to compare to, you just can't beat the four-stripe scheme.

But wait...Jay wasn't content just to work on the restroom, and moved on to build a mug rack for the coffee station! Thanks, Jay, for your help.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

June 9, 1012 work session

Lots of work was acomplished today, so here's a quick rundown:

The cab floors have been cut out, so it was time for a test-fit to mark hole centers for the mounting bolts. Below, fireman's side:
Our fearless president weighs down the floor plate while our newest volunteer, Michelle, taps the center punch:
Blackstone Models, in exchange for drawings of the 223, provided artwork for the tender lettering. The final lettering will be made out of vinyl.
Meanwhile, our "Improve the Shop" project is progressing nicely. With the door fixed, work has progressed to the bathroom, which was badly in need of an upgrade. Jay Hudson, a member of the Union Station Foundation Board, suggested that it be painted in the Rio Grande's four-stripe silver and aspen gold that's what's happening!
For an example of the four-stripe scheme on an EMD F-Unit, click here:

And for something out of the ordinary, Bob Wachs, the chapter blacksmith, made a toilet paper holder out of spikes, in keeping with the railroading theme.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Hats are available!

Above: The original 223 hat hangs in the locker room of the enginehouse at Golden Spike National Historic Site, Promontory, Utah.

We have hats available! The last two runs (original and 130th anniversary) have long since been sold out, but at the request of several people across the country, we have made another run, this time with "Built 1881" spelled out on either side of the logo.

The hats can be purchased through e-bay for $15.00, plus $5.00 shipping & handling. See pictures here:

Thanks to all those that purchased the last two runs! Remember, all proceeds go directly towards the 223 restoration.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Door repairs

The restoration shop, otherwise known as the Trainmen's Building, is by far the oldest building on the Utah State Railroad Museum compound. Its exact build date is not known, but it first appears on Sanborn Fire Insurance maps in 1916, eight years before the current station building was built. At such an age it isn't surprising that things have settled, and for years the front personell door has been off center, so much so that considerable effort was needed to open and close it as it dragged against the floor.

The Golden Spike Chapter brought this matter up with the Union Station Foundation Board, who appropriated money to repair the doorframe. To help cover the costs, and as a thank-you for allowing the chapter use of the station facilities free of charge for our monthly meetings, the hat was passed around and the donations contributed towards the building funds.
 The white is a portion of the doorframe that needed to be replaced. New hinges were installed as well.

The door was planed as well, which allows it to actually fit into the doorframe when closed!

The repairs were handled by a contractor, a friend of one of the chapter members. The door frame was straightened up, old wood replaced, and the door squared so that it would close properly. Now it opens and closes with ease, and that ear-rending screech when it was opened is no more.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

223 Status Update

It's been a while since updating the status of the 223's ongoing restoration. Work on the cab floors has started, with new steel sheet to replace the badly rusted originals. In the picture below, the fireman's side floor is on the left, with the original laid over the top:
The fireman's side, looking towards what would be the rear of the cab:
The boiler tube braces have been installed on the inside of the tender (the orange is boiler scale; these were purchased used). This photo is looking down into the tank; once the interior is sandblasted, cleaned and coated, the top plate will be riveted in place to seal off this opening.
The coupler cutoff lever is being made based on the photograph that Jerry Day provided, plus on-site research done at the Durango Roundhouse museum in Durango, Colorado.

Thank You, Union Pacific!

Last week, chapter president Steve Jones and secretary Lee Witten attended an awards banquet at the University of Utah Musem of Natural History for the annual Union Pacific grant awards. Maynard Morris had previously applied for a grant to complete the interior coating and exterior painting of the 223's tender, and at the ceremony, Dan Harbeke of the UP presented Lee and Steve with a check for $1,000! Interestingly, the Golden Spike Chapter was the only railroad-related non-profit that recieved an award for the Utah-Idaho-Montana division of the Union Pacific. The railroad is very generous in its grants.

So, thank you, Dan Harbeke and Union Pacific for contributing to the 223 restoration project. The UP has been very supportive of both the chapter and the Utah State Railroad Museum in past years, and we greatly appreciate it.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Golden Spike Centennial

The Utah State Railroad Museum has introduced a new exhibit. With the donation of the Golden Spike Safe from Stanford University two years ago, an idea was presented to build an exhibit about the Golden Spike Centennial of 1969, which would tie in nicely with UP 6916 (DD40AX "Centennial") and UP 1869 (Centennial display car) which are both in the museum collection, and also explain the connection between Ogden and Golden Spike National Historic Site at Promontory Summit.

The exhibit was installed in the first week of April around the Fairbanks-Morse scale, which incidently was installed in 1889 with the first Union Depot and survived the 1923 fire.
The exhibit draws materials from the museum library and from the vaults. Many incredible pieces are stored in the vaults that are not seen by the visiting public, so this was a way to exhibit some of these items, including the Utah Golden Spike Centennial Rifle, seen below directly behind the safe.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Broken Window Theory

"The broken windows theory is a criminological theory of the norm setting and signaling effect of urban disorder and vandalism on additional crime and anti-social behavior. The theory states that monitoring and maintaining urban environments in a well-ordered condition may stop further vandalism and escalation into more serious crime." -Wikipedia

A rash of vandalism and break-ins involving the equipment collection of the Utah State Railroad Museum prompted the Golden Spike Chapter, two years ago, to step up to the task of maintaining the  collection for the museum.

Under the direction of Bob Geier about twenty years ago, an acquisitions binge occurred that left the museum with many incredible historic pieces, but with no way to repair, restore, or maintain them. When Bob left from the directorship and the Union Station Foundation took over building operations from Ogden City, the equipment was neglected due to lack of funds and manpower as the non-profit organization struggled to keep the buildings (ranging from 100 to 80 years old this year) open and in repair, and the museum grounds became known locally as an extension of the homeless shelter just one block south.

Over the years parts were stolen, equipment burned (three Utah-Idaho Central interurban cars were lost that way), and of course, windows broken. Now, with the Foundation settled into the system of operating the museum, interest has been directed back to the trains. Still no money to spend, of course, but movement has been made in that direction and the Golden Spike Chapter is providing the labor to help secure the museum's collection.

Thus, a strategy has been developed to temporarily secure the collection, and hopefully prevent future vandalism. This strategy is three-fold:

1. Lock the equipment. Over the years, vandals and curious museum visitors broke open almost every door on every locomotive and caboose. These doors stayed open, and invited criminal activity, not to mention giving a bad image to the museum. To solve this problem, each door was chained and padlocked where possible. Over 48 new padlocks have been applied since this program was instituted. In addition, broken windows are boarded over until replacement glass can be obtained. Where padlocks are not feasible, such as on OWR&N 900061 (rotary snowplow), expanded-metal screens have been applied that will keep people out yet allow visitors to see inside.
In cases where doors are missing, temporary metal screens have been applied until new doors can be made (such as with the storm doors on UP 833).

2. Keep it clean. With the years spent open, many of the locomotive cabs and cabooses are filthy, with dust, dirt, and garbage. A weekend was spent to sweep out all visible cabs and cars, which definitely looked much better. The grounds are not neglected, either, and garbage must be regularly collected as all the litter in Ogden seems to collect along the fence of the Eccles Rail Center after every windstorm.
 The cab of the museum's S-1 (USAF 7277) was utilized as a sleeping space for transients for many years until the windows were boarded over. When one of the plywood sheets fell off, this was revealed...
...And quickly cleaned by the Golden Spike Chapter.

3. Post the rules. Every museum has specific rules to protect their collections and protect their visitors. In the past, there were no rules, and the equipment collection was viewed by many as just a giant playground. Many acts of vandalism were later found to be accidents caused by people jumping from the roof of one caboose to another, a dangerous act needless to say. Thus, several points must be made and emphasized: No climbing above the walkways, and all cabs and cars are closed to the public without a guide, no matter what the circumstances. As such, signs have been made and placed in the windows of the cars clearly stating that the public is not permitted to enter the cars without an accompanying docent. This strategy seems to be the most effective, apart from padlocks.
 Signs clearly posting the rules have been posted across the museum grounds. Note that the door window is broken; this act was committed by a group of high school students during a Battle of the Bands competition held at the Union Station. By enforcing the rules it is hoped to prevent this sort of activity in the future.

The implementation of this strategy, since its beginning until now, appears to have reinforced the Broken Window Theory - in effect, making the museum look like someone cares has stopped the most prevalent acts of vandalism. Of course, it won't stop the more nefarious criminals, as has been seen with the rising number of incidents across the country where museums are robbed of thousands of dollars of brass and copper. But working on securing the museum has improved its image, as some visitors have remarked that it is looking much better than a decade ago.