Southern Pacific 1744
2020 Restoration Work
The first order of business after sending payment and having a signed purchase agreement was to go to Alamosa and get all of the 1744's parts. The tender was easy as it was all in one piece but there were numerous piles of locomotive parts to deal with. The parts were stored in various locations over a mile apart such as the old railroad freight shed, steam shop, in piles scattered around the wye and in 4 old stock car bodies. With much backbreaking effort, three locally purchased containers were filled with the locomotive parts.
a week of loading, the crew flew home from Alamosa. There was
rest for the weary though as early Monday morning the 4 trucks arrived
at Brightside along with a large crane from Peninsula Crane.
crane size was dicated by the 53,000 lb weight of the tender which was
shipped off of its trucks.
The move of the SP 1744 frame seemed to be a simple process but as usual nothing is simple and things got more complicated as we delved into the details. The frame & running gear being over 10’ wide would be a wide load on a truck, but what type of truck would be required? While we knew the weight of the locomotive, what would just the running gear weigh? Using our resources, we talked with anyone we could think of that had moved a locomotive in pieces to see if they had weights on both the boiler and frame and got the best information from Steve Lee of Wasatch Railroad Contractors who supervised the recent move of the SP&S #539 2-8-2 from the Grand Canyon Railroad back to Washington. His weights on the boiler and running gear gave us a rough approximation of the running gear percentage of the total locomotive weight. As we knew the weight of all the parts shipped in March, the parts weight was subtracted from the locomotive weight to get an estimated weight of 113,400 pounds for the boiler and running gear. However, we did not know the weight of the boiler shell as it sat in Alamosa. Not knowing the boiler weight, we could only estimate the running gear weight and it was too close to 80,000 pound weight limit to risk using a shorter trailer, so Renn Transportation ended up using a nine-axle truck and trailer able to carry more weight. Fortunately, we did use the bigger trailer as based on truck scale weights the running gear ended up weighing around 90,000 pounds.
In Alamosa, Stathi Pappas removed the grease cellars and prepared the frame to roll by cleaning the axles and applying new grease. The axles were blocked so they would stay in position when the frame was lifted. Stathi supervised on August 31st, 2020 as two Monte Vista Crane Company cranes lifted the running gear off the rails and onto the rails of the waiting Renn Transportation truck. In addition to our thanks to Stathi for his help, the PLA wants to give a huge thank you to the San Luis and Rio Grande Railroad employees for their assistance with the move.
Peter, our driver with Renn Transportation, skillfully drove the loaded truck over the Continental Divide across 10,857 foot Wolf Creek Pass heading west through Colorado, then Arizona, through Las Vegas, onto I-15 across the California border, over Tehachapi to the Central Valley and into the Bay Area. PLA volunteers built an unloading ramp at Brightside Yard on September 2nd and the locomotive running gear was rolled off the trailer and onto the rails of the Niles Canyon Railway. The long journey to California brings the 1744 back where the locomotive began its career on the Southern Pacific Railroad nearly 120 years ago.
The first workday on the 1744 was spent unloading smaller parts in a shipping container so the side and main rods can be spread out, cleaned and bearings measured. After a long morning of moving and organizing, our “1744 shop” is ready for rod inspections. In the last photograph, several of rods are being stored on top of the rack containing all the superheater units making a great work bench. The units will stored for future inspections and installation after the boiler is reinstalled.
The boiler has left Alamosa. It is now in Antonito at the Stockton Locomotive Works where its rebuilding will take place. It is in the company of the boiler from the White Pass and Yukon #61, a large 3 foot gauge locomotive.
Work has begun on the boiler. The barrel of the 1744 boiler has been inspected, sandblasted and an Apexior coating painted on to protect the metal from corrosion in service.
Meanwhile at the steam shop in Niles Canyon, the steam team is busy at various projects on the 1744's parts.
Please help us with restoration of the SP1744.
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