WP 165 Restoration Blog

Updates on the restoration of Western Pacific 0-6-0 number 165 at the Western Pacific Railroad Museum at Portola, California.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Summer Workweek Report 2012

Although lightly patronized, a good amount of work was accomplished during our summer work session last month in Portola, July 19th – 21st, 2012.

Roger Stabler and I arrived on Wednesday, and again to our delight, the Pullman car was in fine “move-in” shape and required very little cleanup. Thanks to the Museum staff for keeping everything much cleaner than it has been in the past.  Roger had brought up a new ice machine for the gift shop that he donated, (thanks to Roger for that!) he spent the majority of the evening replacing the old water filter with a larger more “industrial” version. We now have copious amounts of ice at our disposal.

After the long journey up from Lakewood I was ready for some steaks, also provided by Roger, as well as plenty of sides; a great start to the week!

Thursday morning Charlie and I set up some shade out by the engine, and Roger, with helper Hank Stiles began tacking in the patch on the wrapper sheet. This area was wasted away and needed replaced, being in the corner of the cab where moisture was trapped for a very long period of time. Charlie had to run into Sparks for some welding gasses, which delayed things a bit, but he came through as he always does. Dick Coudin, who came in very early that morning, was given the task of cleaning up the drivers and applying a coat of primer.  Assisting him were locals Dave Anderson and Steve Parry. To my delight, Kirk Baer has been cleaning up the locomotive frame since our last visit, getting some primer on, and making the engine look like someone cares! Thanks Kirk!

Patch is tacked in place, ready for the root pass.
Roger and Hank continued the welding project on Friday, lots of welding and even more grinding between passes. Hank chased the threads on more of the flexible stays, still plenty of those left to do, but every one counts. 

Norm Holmes stopped by to pick up a train order signal casting that Paul Boschan had brazed together for him. Evidently when the SN cut the mast down back in the day, it fell like a mighty redwood, and broke the head casting in three pieces. The casting is back together again, and Norm hopes to erect it at his new place in Carson City. Norm brought with him a truck load of steam paperwork, parts and a few surprises, like the numberboard glasses from quite a few WP locomotive headlights, including the 165’s! Those will make a great display someday. Norm also donated a folio with drawings of valve measurements and settings for every WP engine. That will come in quite handy, Thanks Norm!

Roger grinds the passes down smooth before adding more metal.
Thursday night, around 11PM, I panicked when I heard a locomotive fire up right next to us in the Pullman car. It didn’t last long idling. Come to find out it was an eager Seth Adams firing up our latest acquisition, the WP 1503. Good to hear her finally alive again, although a little warning next time would be nice! (Just kidding Seth).

Later Friday evening, Roger and I cut out early at 4PM to drive up to bucolic Greenville, to meet a fellow by the name of Ross who claimed to have a turbo generator we could use on the 165. The generator that came with the engine was missing the half that contained the windings, presumably purloined by copper thieves. Ross is a great fellow, who lives on a few acres in a WP wood caboose, surrounded by the spoils of his time working for Dobbas Trucking. His company made a living picking up derailments; to say quite a few treasures made it to his property would be an understatement. I thought I was in an episode of “American Pickers”. Ross also donated a three chime whistle off now scrapped WP derrick 27, which now resides in our collection. Thanks to him for his hospitality and generosity. Also thanks to our bookkeeper Susan for hanging around her office long enough for us to pick up the check.

Upon inspection of the generator by Roger, it was determined to be in good enough shape to go ahead and purchase. Saturday Roger cleaned out the wasps nests and other detritus in the turbo blades, oiled it, put some air to it, and it spun right up, it even made 32 volts! Thanks again to Norm for arranging to meet Ross, one of the more interesting people I have run across during this project.

Another video here.

Saturday it was back to work, welding and grinding for Roger, who was getting quite gritty at this point, and more cleaning for the shop crew, joined this day by Eddie Chase, as well as more primer. In the end Dick’s crew got paint on half of the drivers, an excellent start. We will continue in the Fall and hopefully complete the process before the wheels go back under the frame.

Dick Coudin applies primer to one of the locomotive driver castings.
All this time, Bob Sims has been tirelessly working on the interior framing of our steam shop car, D&RGW 62962. He has to date gotten the man doors in the side installed, as well as an air conditioner. Bob designed it so when you close the big old sliding door on the side of the car, these newly installed doors are not apparent. After I left on Sunday morning he continued apace and got a couple of the stud walls tacked into place. Before long this will serve as a workshop area and a clean place for the steam crew to “retreat” during our work sessions and eventually operation days. We can’t thank Bob enough for his extraordinary efforts!

Utter exhaustion set in Saturday night by the time we needed to start picking things up. Luckily the weather cooperated until Saturday, by which point we were quite warm, especially Roger in his welding coat. After getting everything put away and a brief respite in the Pullman, Roger, Dick and I went off to the Beckwith Tavern for dinner. Prime rib is a great way to wind up a weekend of good progress.

Another reminder that our Superheater Fundraiser is ongoing. Thanks again to Bob Sims and James Mason for kicking it off. Click the graphic in the right pane to donate online. Every $350.00 donation nets another flue, as well as your name on a donors plaque in the cab of the 165, for perpetuity. Now is the time to keep the momentum up, and bring steam back to Portola!

Have a great rest of your summer season, and we will see you September 27th through the 29th  2012 for our Fall work session. - JCA

Roger loves grinding!