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.

Tender Tank Removal

We were able to remove the tender tank on July 28. Big thank you to Al Rollins for coming out on a Saturday and operating the crane for us.

The lift went perfectly and thanks to prep the night before from Ron Jenkins and Bob DeWachter, was completed before noon. The only hitch was the removal of the valve for the injector while the tank was in the air. Bob made quick work of the nuts and the valve is currently in storage awaiting restoration.

The tank is currently sitting on cribbing in Washington Junction waiting documentation in order for a replica to be built. Unfortunately the corrosion was too severe for the original tank, so it has to be replaced. Hardware will be reused from the current tender.

470 Moved Indoors

For the first time since 1954, the frame of Maine Central 470 is under cover.

Building Construction

Since the last update, track 7 has been laid inside the building and a utility pole has been set for the future electrification of the building. Note that the track is temporary as it will be removed for the later installation of the inspection pit and drop table. 

David Tutweiler Paintings

The paintings were made to support the 470 restoration, and give life to the locomotive's capabilities. David Tutwiler is recognized for his highly detailed locomotive paintings, and is a regular participant at railroad shows around the nation. His gallery and the availability of his work can be seen at TutwilerFineArt.com These paintings will be on display in the Acadia Invitational Part II exhibition, opening June 1st at the Argosy Gallery in Bar Harbor ME.

Samuel Freeman Foundation, $50,000 Grant Award

The Samuel Freeman Foundation Trustees have chosen New England Steam Corporation's tender rebuild project as recipient of a grant of $50,000! The Freeman Foundation would like to see this funding figure matched to bring the total to bear on getting 470 a "new, old tender"! We say " a new, old tender", because new steel will be fabricated using the original as a template. The assembly process will use hot riveting, the historical technique used by American Locomotive Works in 1924.

Building Roof Covered

On Tuesday, March 27th, a team of thirteen volunteers and our contractor's crew, pulled the tarp covering over the steel arches of the New England Steam Corporation shop. This structure effectively gives us a dry, all-weather work area measuring 60 feet by 120 feet. 5,280 sq. feet will be open area, including the boiler and the extended track on which 470 will stand. Once the sea of mud is dried and stable, the boiler will be moved indoors. One of the first projects this season will be to construct panel track, and to pull the frame and driver gear indoors. Electrifying the shop will be the next major addition. The track will be temporary as we are still planning to install a drop pit.

The tender fund has grown to approximately $17,000, while we wait for answers from potential granting agencies. "Thank you", to everyone who donated and continue to help build the tender fund. Once the $100,000 goal is met, the tender will go out for complete rebuilding. Donations can be made using PayPal or by mailing a check to our Winterport address.

Tender Fundraising Campaign

A locomotive cannot operate without a tender, and 470's tender body is corroded beyond renewal. A complete replacement is required. The body will be taken apart to form templates make CAD diagrams. A new riveted tender body, historically accurate and reproduced in must the same way as in 1924, will be created. Essentially, 470 will receive " a new, old tender". Original hardware, including coal bunker doors, the stoker motor, grab irons, steps, and ladder, will all be incorporated in the new body.

$16,000 is presently being held on account in the tender fund. We need to raise a total of $100,000 to complete this critical work. A Maine contractor has been identified to undertake this job, which will employ Maine steel workers for half a year. The funds you donate will stay in the local economy, doing even more good. The tender is big, it's essential, and what a showpiece it will be on completion.

In 2016, The Mystic Valley Railway Society granted $6,200 to strip hazardous paint from the tender frame. These funds have also purchased undercoating and finish paint for the frame and trucks. This summer, a shop truck will be used to remove the original tender trucks in turn, while each is disassembled, cleaned, painted, greased and reassembled. The brake gear will be rebuilt in a similar manner.

Donations in any amount, to help rebuild the 470 tender, can be given here through our PayPal (under "GET INVOLVED"), or mailed to: New England Steam Corp., P.O. Box 302, Winterport, Maine 04496. If a check is mailed, please indicate it is for the tender rebuild.


2/22/2018 Turbo Generator Restoration Update

President Richard Glueck was invited to A.C. electric to witness 470's turbogenerator being tested as a DC motor! The unit is nearly complete now. We are currently working on the castings for the stolen covers.

January 2018 Update

Springfield 2018 C .jpg

NESCO President Richard Glueck stands between 470's replacement classification lights, at the Amherst Railway Society show, on January 27.  The show was a wonderful time to bring new friends and old acquaintances together to discuss our project and where it's going this year.  Because of efforts by a great number of individuals, we are able to say, the restoration building is 90% completed, awaiting a few warm days to complete raising the cover.  Smaller but necessary components of the 470 itself, are being checked off as completed.  The Valve Pilot and speed recorder, heavily damaged by vandals is being rebuilt by a mechanical engineering student from the University of Maine, complete with near parts being 3D printed and re-cut from brass.  

Dick would like to point out the immediate goals of electrifying the shop building and completely funding the tender restoration.  The electrification as projected will cost around $10,000, perhaps less.  The tender rebuild has $15,000 on account, is underway, and requires approximately $85,000 to complete.  These efforts are not out of grasp, and we can assure donors of a first class job.

Remember, when you donate to New England Steam Corporation, the money goes toward restoration.  The restored locomotive is a gift to the future, and as a donor, you are an active part of the work being accomplished. 

With funding in place, you can have a historically accurate replacement tender in the next year.  Won't that be an accomplishment?

Building Construction Update 12/22/2017

Complete Construction has tack welded the plates to the tops of the containers and has begun to assemble the arches. The entire support structure is expected to be complete by the end of the next week with the tarp roof being installed New Years weekend. 

Building Construction Update 12/12/2017

Complete Construction of Houlton, Maine, expects to begin erecting the Arch-Tarp shop building beginning Monday, December 18th. New England Steam personnel will be prepping the site for winter construction as necessary. It is our hope to build panel track to extend track 7, indoors during January.  Weather permitting, most of 470's assembly will be brought indoors once the track is completed. The individual containers will be modified and put to use once the building is enclosed. Two generous private donations will make it possible to purchase and install mechanical doors for the structure.

Membership Renewal

Dear Friends and Members:

We are trying to move all our annual membership notice reminders to a single time of year.  Many of you have already begun to update your memberships for 2018.  This makes it easier for us to maintain current records and gets everyone onto the same calendar year. 

As members, you have been receiving issues of "The Booster" (another issue coming out in a week) and our regular newsletter  WE NEED YOU AND WANT YOU TO STAY A PART OF THE RESTORATION OF MAINE CENTRAL 470.  In 2017, you've seen the shop building coming together, several significant parts of the locomotive being restored, and some terrific interaction with an excited public.  There are bigger things coming in 2018!

Please consider joining of renewing your annual membership for 2018 by either using Paypal on our website, or by mailing a check to New England Steam Corporation, P.O. Box 302, Winterport, Maine 04496.  

We will be back at "The Big E" in Springfield, this January, and you can renew or rejoin there as well.  By renewing now, we can update the membership and you won't get "bugged" again in the 2018 year! 

Thanks for your continued support.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Richard Glueck

Building Construction

The construction of the building has started! These photos were taken over a period of a few weeks to allow for the concrete to set. Soon the roof and doors will be installed!

Tender Restoration, Part 1

After lots of planning and work, we have finally started! We would like to thank Mystic Valley Railway Society for kickstarting the restoration by funding paint, primer, stripper, as well as supplies, and tools to remove the paint!

Cylinder Cock Restoration

After Touch-a-Train, there was a mini work day on the locomotive. Bob DeWachter removed the cylinder cocks, linkage, and actuators for refurbishment and restoration. These photos document their restoration.

While there was some pitting on the valves, they were all salvageable and are ready to be put back on the locomotive!

Touch-a-Train 2017

Touch-a-Train 2017, at Washington Junction Yard (Railroad Siding Road, Hancock, Maine) is Saturday, June 10th.  If you are in the area, touring in Acadia, or just need an excuse to come visit the 470, please join in.  The event begins at 09:00 and will run until about 1PM, when a special train of the Downeast Scenic Railroad will leave the yard.  Remember, Maine Central 470 made it's final revenue run 63 years ago, that following week!

  • See 470 in it's new home.
  • See the preparation for the shop erection in progress.
  • Climb aboard Downeast Scenic's Diesel locomotives.
  • Blow the whistle and ring the bell!
  • Ride Downeast Scenic's restored Reading caboose!
  • Take chance on two outstanding H-O scale Maine Central locomotives, courtesy of Bowser Trains!
  • Talk with the New England Steam Corporation directors and get you questions answered, first hand!

Have a great time with railroad  and historic preservationists.  No cost to attend, explore, and watch your children's faces light up!