Wednesday, January 14, 2015

924 begins to progress towards steam!

(L to R) Nathan I., Mark S., Zeb D., Karl., Stathi P., Mike, Al, and CJ V. (center) are just a select few of the many people working on the loco- motive 924 project, some from as far away as California and Idaho.  All except Stathi are volunteers!
Hammers are hammering, saws are sawing, torches are torching, welders are welding, and progress is beginning to show.  Projected as a two year effort, the scope of work for the rehabilitation and restoration of Northern Pacific Railway locomotive 924 is extensive so success is inextricably linked with methodical and consistent efforts.  In plain English?  No rest for the weary!  For the past several weeks, efforts have focused on documentation, disassembly, and the beginnings of boiler repairs.  Now, more than 20 people are involved so progress has picked up! 

The locomotive 924 is being rehabilitated and restored following the Secretary of the Interior Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.  These are the same standards used for the chapel car 5 Messenger of Peace, Snoqualmie Depot, White River Lumber caboose 001, and Spokane, Portland and Seattle coach 218.  An important component of demonstrating compliance with the standards - and also a museum best management practice - includes thorough documentation of the object before, during and after.  So photographs, motion pictures, material samples, sketches, scale drawings, descriptive narratives, and more are used.

The 924 tender is intact but is in poor
shape.  The tank fabrication will be
replaced in-kind, but the frame and
trucks will be used largely "as is."
Thanks to several highly talented volunteers (Adam P., Dave H., Zeb D., and many others), the 924 tender has been documented.  A thorough evaluation has concluded the tank is in extremely poor condition.  Given the plan to operate the 924, the tender must be able to hold water.  Literally.  A steel tank that is more than 100 years old and riddled with pinholes throughout the lower half presents some challenges that are difficult to overcome.  So the tank will be completely replaced using new steel, but the existing frame, trucks, stairs, the post electric dynamo headlight, and pretty much every rivet (count 'em boys!) will faithfully replaced in the new fabrication.

The locomotive 924 cab has been
completely removed to allow boiler
work to be undertaken.
The 924 locomotive cab presents a dilemma similar to the tender tank.  While the cab remained intact, it was far from complete or suitable for an operating locomotive.  Extensive documentation has been completed by Mike, George, Russ S. and many others, and now the team is able to slowly deconstruct the cab.  Individual parts have been numbered and inventoried, and everything is being saved.  Removing the cab allows boiler work to be undertaken, and for the cab to be restored to its period of significance when it served the Northern Pacific Railway. 

The interior of the smoke box takes on
a surreal look with a work light shining
through the tube sheet.
Meanwhile, Mark and others are finishing up the scaling and cleaning process inside the boiler.  As reported in December, all the tubes have been removed and the interior appears to be in great shape.  However there will be some repairs required, including some firebox sheet replacement.  That work has begun and will be the subject of a future 924 blog report.

The 924 work is now well underway, but your support is critical to its success.  Costs to rehabilitate and restore two steam locomotives are projected at more than $600,000.  Your contribution in any amount will help allow work to continue, and is tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.  Please visit the Museum's donate now page and select "steam program."  All contributions received with this restriction will be used to purchase materials and services in support of locomotive 924 and (following completion of 924) locomotive 14.

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