Nathan Lubricator Handle

The Nathan lubricator handle for 470's Westinghouse Cross Compound Pump has been completely reproduced and replaced using a 3D metal printer at the University of Maine's Orono campus, Advanced Manufacturing Center. The original was removed from 470 by vandals sometime during the past seven decades. It is a very specialized piece. Not only does it serve as a hand crank, it is centrifugally weighted to turn on demand of the lubricator. Drawings for the part were supplied to the Capstone pump team by the Steamtown shops, which may own the only original detailed drawings of this part.
Again, we find modern technology coming to the rescue of discarded twentieth century machinery. Obviously, steam power belongs in the twenty-first century!

Huge debts of gratitude to both Steamtown National Historic Site and an extra large thank you to the University of Maine College of Engineering and the Advanced Manufacturing Center.

Grant for Service Pit Received

The Mystic Valley Railway Society has awarded New England Steam a grant of $5,000 to be applied to the excavation and casting of a service trench and drop pit.  This funding leads the way towards another significant shop upgrade for the rebuilding and maintenance of Maine Central #470.  The Board of Directors wishes to extend their thanks to MVRS for this valuable support.

Touch-A-Train 2019

Touch-A-Train will be held at Washington Junction yard on June 22, 2019.  This year combines the 135th anniversary of the first passenger train on the old Calais Branch, the 10th anniversary of the Downeast Scenic Railroad, and the start of the third year of restoration of Maine Central steam locomotive #470.  Attractions include caboose rides, a hot riveting demonstration, model trains, complimentary ice cream and cookies from two of our sponsors.  Bring your cameras, your questions, and especially your kids!  TAT runs between 9AM and 1PM, so come early.

This event is held 5 miles north of the intersection of Main Street in Ellsworth and Route 1A. The address is:

8 Railroad Siding Road
Hancock, ME 04640

For a copy of the the event flyer, click here.

Cross Compound Pump Conclusion

The Cross Compound Pump Engineering Team presented their capstone project before teacher and peer reviewers today (May 01). Each participant presented in turn with some specialized part of th project, but each was involved in the entire study. From L to R (2nd photo below - Jake Davee, Casey Roy, Ryan Lindsay, and Chris Dagget) posed with the mostly-completed Westinghouse air pump from 470. A crowd of approximately forty men and women observed. The project was so unique, as it delved into a heavy piece of machinery, once an off the shelf item, from a century ago. The students mastered the mechanical operation, cleaned and resurfaced the pump casting and arranged for $23,000 worth of donated services, parts and technical assistance during the semester. Each piece of the disassembled pump was cataloged, individually cleaned, examined, and reinstalled or replaced. Step-by-step journal notes were made for reassembly. One of the most impressive aspect of the presentation was Ryan's Solid Works exploded diagrams of the pump, showing the assembly and disassembly in an animated repeating diagram. Another animation showed the passage of steam and compressed air through the pump as it operated.

The pump lubricator is was completely rebuilt. It's a rather rather rare design, but it is 99% complete, requiring some new springs and a weighted flywheel crank handle.

Lessons learned: The team felt they should have gotten into the pump earlier in the semester rather than limiting their work to research on the front end. More time inside the pump and getting dirty with the hardware would have gotten them further into the machine without time constraints. Time management is a skill which was clearly stamped on their minds. Aside from that, they all had fun and learned hands on application in a real world problem solving experience. None of the team expressed regrets about undertaking the job.

Is the pump finished? It's close, but the team ran into an issue with the cylinder bores. The top and bottom cylinders are not concentric and will require some sleeving to make them so. This was not the fault of the engineering team. NESCo will be looking to have this work completed in the near future so the pump can be lubed and made ready to install. Parts are in hand or on order, and the entire pump will be transferred back to NESCo's shop in Hancock, next week.

The team made a point of thanking Bernie Watts of Backshop Enterprises, the technical team at Steamtown, USA National Monument, and New England Steam's CMO Leverett Fernald. Without these three resources, the pump project would have been infinitely more difficult.

In the end, University of Maine Mechanical Engineering seniors, along with guided assistance from those mentioned above, saved the 470 restoration about $50,000 in labor and expense. Four young engineers will graduate into the professional labor pool with real life experience and real grease under their fingernails. New England Steam has opened our shops to the College of Engineering for students and field classes. The professors have invited NESCO to offer similar mechanical rebuild projects for future capstone project.

NESCo Receives $2,000 Grant from NRHS

New England Steam Corporation has received a National Railway Historical Society Foundation grant of $2000 for 2019, to be applied to our tender fund!  The NRHS has granted New England Steam Corporation funding in successive years for the work being accomplished in restoration of Maine Central steam locomotive 470.  We are most gratified to have the serious nature of this work supported by an organization dedicated to recognition of America's railroads and the people who built and maintained them.  Those wishing to help match the NRHS grant with private donations may do so by mailing tax deductible donations to New England Steam Corporation, P.O. Box 302, Winterport, Maine 04496.  

Westbrook Train Show

New England Steam Corporation will be at Westbrook Train Show, April 06, Westbrook Community Center. A huge number of old railroad poster-style calendars for sale, going way back into the 40's in some cases. Signed and numbered color prints of the New Haven. Some great RR books and memorabilia, including lots of early Amtrak material. All this courtesy of the the family of the late Sam Vaughan. Everything priced to sell or you make a reasonable offer. This is stuff you will not find again in this good condition, and at these prices. One original NYC print of "The Centuries Pass at Night" in original frame. We’re also selling New England Steam tee shirts and hats. Please come out and support the ongoing restoration of Maine Central 470!


NESCo Announces Springfield Show Appearance

New England Steam Corp. will be at the Amherst Train Show January 26 & 27th, at The Big E in the The Better Living Center, next to Downeast Scenic Railroad.

We have the new "470 Restoration", as well as the "American Made" shirt. Have your children ring the bell, become a new or renewed member, talk directly to the Board Members and get your questions answered.

We look forward to meeting you!

Make the donation that funds our progress! 
New England Steam is a tax deductible 501c3 organization.

MEC #467 Model on Display at Bangor Public Library

The William John Walsh model of Maine Central 467 is currently on display at the Bangor Public Library.  Mr. Walsh was born in Houlton, but lived in Bangor, and rode one of the final steam excursions in the early 1950's.  He was man who both knew and loved steam locomotives, and wanted to do something significant when the steam whistles were silenced.  The Walsh family has contributed a photograph of the builder.  Pictured here as well is Al Jenkins, who carefully restored the model to its glory today, depicting 467 as she appeared on her final run with the Massachusetts Railway Enthusiasts.  467 was scrapped immediately after the excursion in 1952.  The model can be viewed on the second floor, and is kept behind glass.

467's younger sister, Maine Central 470, is presently being restored at the New England Steam Corporation shops in Hancock, ME.

New T-Shirts!

While we still have a few in stock (mostly 2XL and 3XL), we are phasing out the "Keep Calm and Steam On" shirts, at least for the foreseeable future. We are still stocking the gray "Built American" shirts, with the builders plate on the back. 

This new design ("Steaming Back History") reflects the progress we've had with moving forward on the restoration of Maine Central 470, and in particular, the tender restoration. The new shirt is available in small, medium, large, and X-Large right now. A few 2XL and 3XL's are being ordered.  The cost is $10 for NESCO members, $20 for non-members, and $6.70 Flat Rate Priority mailing.  

Click here to order in our online store!

Shirts and our embroidered baseball caps will be available at the Brewer Train Show and Springfield Train Show.

Cross Compound Pump

Leverett Fernald and Dick Glueck met the UMO Mechanical Engineering team on Monday, October 8th to deliver the cross compound pump for their assessment.  The delivery went without a hitch, and the pump is now safely indoors on a pallet and cart. 

The enthusiasm of these young people was overwhelming. They had started research and found a 500 page Westinghouse document, detailing every part of the pump, and had already began to study it. They started making comments about the best way to approach opening the pump, photo documenting all of it, removing corroded nuts, saving all salvageable parts, replacing those which could not be safely re-used. 

At this time, they seem to have a meticulous approach to solving the issues that may face them.  Leverett was able to discuss "machinist talk" with the team and there seemed no lack of understanding. These guys are good!

From left to right: NESCo CMO Leverett Fernald, then the UMO Cross Compound Pump team: Chris Daggett, Casey Roy, Ryan Lindsay, and John Davee.

From left to right: NESCo CMO Leverett Fernald, then the UMO Cross Compound Pump team: Chris Daggett, Casey Roy, Ryan Lindsay, and John Davee.

Amazon Smile

If you shop online with Amazon, please note that New England Steam Corporation is registered with the Amazon Smile campaign. When you go online, please go to Amazon Smile, and register your account with New England Steam Corporation as the beneficiary. Each yearly quarter, 470 will receive a check from Amazon as a donation from their earnings. It costs nothing to register and the donations will help finance restoration of Maine Central 470.

Tender Frame Lift

On Saturday, October 6th, we had the services of retired Cianbro crane man Al Rollins once more. Several of our people rigged up the tender frame to Al's satisfaction and we got underway. The whole lift took about three hours, which was much quicker than the tender body.  Everything went well, and the trucks are now ready to be moved indoors for rebuilding.

Structural Engineer Ron Kief of Cianbro also visited with us to inspect the tender tank and offer advice about the rebuild. Ron got the full tour and left later in the day, enthusiastic about everything we're doing. A big "thank you" to Ron!  

Brian Hebert made the l-o-n-g trip up from NH to help with the work load. Also present were Bob Mueller, Ron Jenkins, Dick Glueck, Kerri Merion, Jim Armstrong, and later in the day, Alex Fogg. 

Kerri made us lunch, bringing up a crock pot for spaghetti in meat sauce, homemade chocolate chip cookies, and the best two-layer chocolate cake with peanut butter icing we've ever had!

Later in the afternoon, we loaded the cross-compound pump (1,700 pounds) into the bed of Leverett's truck for delivery to the UMO engineering shops. The rebuild team is anxious to see what they've bitten off. We think with guidance from Jason Lamontagne and their professors, the pump will be in good hands.

Alex and Jim stayed a little later to further scrape residual paint from last weekend's work.

With the frame on the ground, we have completed one of the final goals for 2018. The next thing will be to roll the tender trucks indoors.

Membership Renewals

October is the best time to join or renew your active participation in New England Steam Corporation and the restoration of Maine Central #470. Members get regular informational updates as well as historic information in our journal, "The Booster." The restoration continues to make strides inside NESCo’s new all-weather building. Your donations, contributions, and funding make it run smoothly and without long gaps while we purchase supplies. Active membership means you are personally taking part in the restoration of this iconic treasure of American railroading. Join using PayPal or by sending a check with your membership information, to New England Steam Corp., P.O. Box 302, Winterport, ME 04496. PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS.



Tender Drawings Underway

Steve French (of SKF Detailing) visited Ellsworth on September 23rd to create a fully detailed set of drawings of 470’s tender. These drawings will be used to cut the new sheet metal needed to fabricate a new tender.

A Journey of 1,000 miles begins with...

 ...begins with two chain falls and a hydraulic ram.  Bob DeWachter, Paul van Steenberghe, and Leverett Fernald applied tension to the main driver counterweights, and put them under tension.  Steel plates formed a resistance for the ram.  50 tons of ram pressure was applied to the crossheads and slowly, punctuated by creaking and occasional snaps, things started to move.

The story goes back to 1970, while 470 was being towed up from Waterville yard to be placed on display by the College Avenue bridge.  The locomotive was rolling freely then locked up solidly.  After greasing the rails, Maine Central shoved the bound up locomotive onto its display.  470 sat in that condition for forty-six years while sand, dust, and rain water further locked up the parts.  Before New England Steam Corp. even existed, Leverett Fernald would occasionally oil the engine in the park.  When NESCO took over the locomotive, an intense program of lubrication and cleaning was begun.  The oiling, the cleaning with putty knife blades, finally paid off.

470's cylinders have been opened and oiled.  Dick Glueck describes them as looking like gun barrels, gray and smooth, devoid of knick or gouges.  Again, heavy lubrication has been applied to the interior of the steam cylinders.   What we don't know (yet) is what's on the back side of each piston.  When 470 locked up in 1970, it did so in what may have been the worst position.  The rods are against the driver centers and the valves are blocking the passing of a fiber-optic cable.  The back sides may be full of gravel and sand or smooth as the forward portions.   This will remain a mystery for a few more weeks. 

Today we got a movement of 1mm and were thrilled.  More oil and cleaning, and Bob pressurized  the pump.  Paul tightened tension on the chain falls and we saw the crosshead slowly slide forward.  By the time we knocked off in the afternoon, the crossheads on both sides had slid about two inches - That's quite trip after 50 years of being rigidly locked.  Leverett aptly compared it to the Tin Man, from "The Wizard of Oz".  Bet 470 felt good after that short stretch! 

In other work, Dick and Alex Fogg continued to removed old paint from the drivers and rods.  In the photos, you'll see the original red primer from 1924 has been exposed.  As the layers of paint peel off, so does most of the graffiti which visitors scratched into the finish over 62 years.  

Each driver will been inspected for possible cracks or other damage before eventually being turned.  Along with the paint comes pounds of railroad grime and hardened grease.  Underneath, we're finding numbers, both cast and stamped into the steel.  All of it has meaning, whether they indicate service dates or to which locomotive the part originally was assigned.  One old spoke repair has been located, but no other damage from her service years.  As for the rods, a tap with a ball-peen hammer results in a bright "ting", indicating the rod is solid and probably in great condition. 

There will be weeks more of paint scraping and loosening up the drivers, but thus far, we are, in fact, moving forward.