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.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Fall Work Session 2017

For some of us, we are well into our 10th year of restoration . Nobody said it would be easy, or quick.

The "fall" work session, actually held in the last days of summer, was lightly attended, however a great deal was accomplished.

Roger Stabler, Steve Lee, Bob Sims, Charlie Spikes, Erin Swain, David Elems, Michael Giarritta, Kirk Baer, Dick Coudin, new volunteer Gary, and Ed Chase made up our brave crew. Components addressed included the throttle rod, throttle valve, footboards, as well as application of various appliances.  The engine is starting to look more complete all the time. I spent what little time I had permanently attaching the WP medallions to the sides of the tender tank, as well as the number plates under the cab windows.

The backhead now sports brake and feed valves applied by Roger.

Roger working on the generator mount. The generator can be seen hanging from the air hoist.
Roger and Erin made great strides on prepping the tube sheets, and Michael finished tightening down the last of the staybolt caps, which was a watershed moment!

The biggest effort of the week was getting the tender's oil tank moved to outside the west shop door so it can be cleaned up prior to painting.  Once it is black again it will be set into place using our 200 ton derrick. That may be a bit of overkill, but it works.

The locomotive looking better with a few of the appliances bolted on.
A fair amount needs to be accomplished before the hydrostatic test in the spring of next year, not the least of which includes rolling in the tubes and flues, but Roger is confident that it will get done.

Never slowing down, Roger spent a couple of weeks during the summer plumbing up the air brakes, which work like a champ. The tender brake cylinder needs reassembly, but that won't take long once the gaskets are made.

Restored front Pyle-National headlight.
Don't forget our "Light the Fire" fundraiser dinner is coming up in the spring of next year, please consider coming up and helping with this "last push" to get 165 out the door!

Thanks again for all your support, both moral and financial. Thanks also to Bob Sims for the photos used in this post. We hope to have this significant piece of Western Pacific history, which belongs to all of us, steaming again soon! -JCA


Rear footboards as applied by Bob Sims can be seen behind the crossing flashers, which are not part of the locomotive.

Monday, April 17, 2017

"Springtime" in Portola.

The 2017 work season has begun in earnest. Thanks to big efforts by Roger Stabler, Bob Sims, Kirk Baer, and Charlie Spikes, the locomotive has taken on the look of a project nearing completion.

The aforementioned individuals spent the better part of a week sanding, priming and painting the water cistern, tender frame and trucks, and the locomotive cab back into shiny black. Thanks to Roger who generously donated the paint and supplies to make this happen. Luckily, the crew had a few warm days to do this prior to the main work days, which proved to be less than hospitable. Saturday was a bust due to a foot of snow and no power in town.

A spring day in Portola!


Roger welds up the angle iron edging on the tender frame prior to paint.
Roger applies the primer to the cistern.
Our regular guys, Erik, Channing, Steve, Bob, Kirk, Michael and Ed were joined this time by new volunteer John, who I met through the ASMA group here in Amador County. John is a great addition to the fray, and enjoys getting his hands dirty. John was able to clean and re-install the oil shelf in the cab and help out with many other things during his stay.

John poses with his cleaned and painted oil shelf.
A great deal was accomplished thanks to the generousity of John Rimmasch and Steve Lee of Wasatch Railroad Contractors. Welder Alexander was brought in at no cost to us to fit up the remaining 24 flexible staybolts, which were machined at a more than reasonable price by John at Datum Precision in Grass Valley. Alexander got enough done before he had to fly back that Channing was able to get all 24 installed before the end of the weekend. This was a great milestone for the restoration now that all the stays are back in the boiler.

On Friday and Saturday we took the opportunity to mount the replica WP medalions on the tender, which were donated by James Mason and Eugene Vicknair. The replica cab numbers on the cab were also bolted up. These little things go a long way toward the visual appearance of the locomotive for our visitors, and bolster the moral of the volunteers who have been elbow-deep in grease and rust up to now.

We are hoping for a hydrostatic test this year if we can get a few more tasks accomplished. The museum has begun one last funding push to get the locomotive steaming in the next year or two. Click here:...Please give if you can!


Shiny black cab and tender.



Channing and Erik setting the new dome studs.
Again my thanks to everyone who has volunteered and donated to this project over the last ten years! On behalf of the FRRS membership we are very grateful!

This will be my last blog post for a while. My wife and I moved here to Amador County a little less than a year ago, and now that the record rainy season is coming to a close (we hope) our focus now will be on building our house. Accordingly I must take a hiatus from the project and throw it over to Roger Stabler and Steve Lee to keep things moving. I am happy with the progress to date, and it is my sincere wish that these two can get water boiling soon!

Thanks to Bob Sims who provided me with the photos for this post!

All the best- J. Chris Allan


Monday, April 10, 2017