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.

Monday, April 9, 2012

A horn for the SW1

When the SW1 was donated to the Utah State Railroad Museum by Cargill, the horn was stolen at about the same time as the cables to the traction motors were stripped. Luckily the museum had a Leslie single-chime that wasn't being used (above), but was still attached to a locomotive (Utah Railway 401, ex-ATSF Alligator). The Arizona State Railroad Museum is interested in this locomotive, but for cosmetic purposes only, so the USRRM approved the removal of the horn to place on an operational locomotive.
Once the horn was removed it was found that it probably wasn't the original, as its mounting was home-built and the bell was filed down on the bottom to clear the air line. It was also dented in several places, and Bob Wachs, who does the blacksmithing for the 223, tapped out the most notable ones. Now on to the locomotive, or so the plan went...
Once we got out to the locomotive it was discovered that the thieves didn't just remove the horn, they snapped the bracket off at the mounting holes. This complicates a seemingly simple installation as a new bracket will have to be made.

April 7th Worksession

With work slowing on the tender, efforts are migrating towards the locomotive. The cylinder sheathing, a 1/8" thick sheet of steel that surrounds the steam chests of the cylinders, was bent for both the fireman's side (the engineer's side was finished last week). Here is one set with the steam chest cap; this is up side down right now.
Tools need cleaning to work properly, and some time was spent on the larger of our two lathes (below), as well as the pipe threader.
The water inlet wasn't completely straight at one end so an effort was made to fix that problem with a torch and chain. Once it was all done the lid fit much better.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

March 24th Followup- video

A quick followup for the March 24th work session. The chapter Youtube channel has been updated with a video of the water inlet riveting...enjoy.
If you wish, there are more videos of the 223 work, as well as general Utah State Railroad Museum work, here: