Saturday at the Yard

Leverett has arranged for the first pair of tender wheel to be turned at the Pan Am shops in Waterville. Volunteer Joel Ackerman has offered to use his truck and trailer to make the trip. After the rain passed, DESR volunteers came out to assist with the loading.

Other activities included Hanna Brooks and Jim Armstrong meticulously cleaning the four tender journal boxes. New dust covers for the journals have been located. Dick continued the paint removal on 470's smokebox face, begun by Peter Violette last week. We are almost ready to remove the smokebox front and prepare plan the removal of parts and machinery at the front of 470's boiler. Roger Bennati continued to needle scale and prep the second set of tender trucks.

Work Day 8/17/19

Bob, Jim Armstrong, and Dick removed and stowed the right piston valve. The valve casing had a blob something from your worst Rod Serling nightmares existing inside. Wes Kauppila cleaned the glob out and saved humanity.

I don't mention Roger Bennati enough to praise the work he does, sometimes with assistance from a partner, to scale and clean the tender trucks and wheels. Here's a photo of Roger at work. Note the journal ends of these trucks. Some turning may be required, but these are excellent. I want to mention NAPA Auto Parts of Ellsworth, who has donated not only a case of spray lubricant, but today, a case of brake cleaner. Roger went to work with some of the latter as soon as it was received.

Hanna Brooks arrived with her typical power-house energy, and immediately took charge of the right crosshead guides. When she finished, the crosshead itself literally glided across the steel guides. This is good news for everything that needs to work on the locomotive.

Jim Armsrong and Dick Glueck power washed the tender truck springs, as well as the pony truck bolster. We had two pairs of visitors attend, both of who got the 50 cent guided tour, along with introductions to the entire work crew.

Paul van Steenberghe led Wes and Austin in the stripping of the top of 470's boiler once again. Today they succeeded in freeing the steam turret and the top of the steam dome, however both items are so heavy, they were left in place until a safe system for bringing them down is in place. At some point in the near future, we will remove the smokebox face and the heavy parts still remaining inside. Peter Violette arrive early and went to work inside the frame, freeing, lubricating and labeling all of 470's brakes mechanism. All these parts will come out and be evaluated for reinstalling or replacement. Peter's research has been invaluable for locating drawings thought to be lost to the ages.

-Dick Glueck, President



Work Day 8/10/2019

Another huge weekend workday, yield a tremendous amount of gains.  Bob teamed up with Hanna to get the valves and cylinders cleaned up, then went on to remove valve gear rod on the engineer's side.  Paul V.S. was back and performed skilled surgery to remove a key which was holding the right valve gear in place.  Roger and Alex were going to completely needle scale the tender wheels, but were foiled when the starter of the Diesel compressor forgot its job and had to be removed for service.  Ron did repair work on the crane and other mechanical chores, including arranging the new DESR rail stack, adjacent to our shop building.  Leverett worked with the steel crew as well, but cycled through the NESCO shop periodically to work with us.  Jim Armstrong teamed with Dick to power wash as much of the tender truck as possible, starting with the journal boxes, brasses and shims.  Jim and I finished by washing the truck frames as well.

The team approach on multiple tasks worked very well.  (Editorial comment:  Hanna seems to be at her happiest when absolutely filthy).  Using a power wire brush, she polished the crosshead guide on the fireman's side so the crosshead will slide the complete length, using muscle power alone.  Hanna has called "dibs" on the opposite crosshead guides.  Alex and Roger wound up chipping paint onto tarps for collection, using just scrapers.  Jim and I got soaked, but got almost the entire frame cleaned.  The thunderstorms which followed in the afternoon coincided with kicking off for the day.

I should add that the DESR people did a fantastic job of racking their extra rail.  It's a nice, neat, stack, separated with timbers.

Leverett and I spoke about the trucks.  The axle journals are pretty good, but there is pitting of about 1/16th inch which should be turned down on at least one set.  He's thinking of shipping them to Brian Fanslou for turning, and getting them back, hopefully, in a week or so.  If that goal can be met, we may get the first truck set together - permanently - by September, or at least early September.

-Dick Glueck

Productive Work Day 7/27/19

Quite possibly the single most productive day on 470 since she was moved in 2016 was held on Saturday, July 27, 2019! Two people warrant special recognition, Bob Moore and Kerri Davis. Bob operated the big crane, while Kerri prepared another amazing lunch of American Chop Suey, Garlic bread, toll house cookies, and strawberry cream pie.

Bob DeWachter was able to install lighting in the office container, while Bob Moore and CMO Leverett Fernald rigged up the frames of the first tender truck for separation. Dick torched off some remaining nuts and bolts, then gave Kerri a quick class in using a cutting torch. Kerri is a quick study and torched off two of the remaining problem fasteners. Jim Armstrong helped Leverett and Bob with collecting truck parts and getting them onto pallets for storage. After lunch, we turned our attention to the fireman's side valve gear. It took Bob DeWachter, Jim, Dick, and Kerri to set up the tripod and chain fall, then press the valve out with a Porta-Power. Two surprises initially; the valve slid out with little resistance, and quarts of what appeared to be clean water came our into the lower cylinder. The valve itself looks very clean and undamaged. The valve cylinder looks fairly smooth and clean, but was filled with a sludge mixture of coagulated oil and water. We did not get a chance to clean that mixture out, but the disassembly on the left is done. All in all, we checked off several major items on our summer list. It was a huge day of labor, but the results were absolutely worth the aches and pains.

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!

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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.