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.

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