Sunday, November 30, 2008

"Old 97 Saves the Day"

The original illustrations created by artist Gretchen Hatfield for the new Children's book: Old 97 Saves the Day are on display at the Oliver O. Jensen Gallery at the River Valley Junction display building adjacent to the Essex Depot. The gallery will be open during operating hours on days when Holiday Trains are running (see schedule).

In the book, two children on Christmas vacation discover an abandoned railroad complete with roundhouse, a steam locomotive (Old 97) and a mysterious old man who asks for their help getting the locomotive running. Along the way the children learn about railroads and how a steam locomotive works and help repair Old 97 before going on a magical trip to the North Pole and back.

The book is soft bound, measures 7" X 9" and has 27 pages, each with a full color illustration as well as color covers.

Individual copies of the book are available at our Gift Shop at the depot priced at $12.00. Single copies are also are also available by phone or Internet for $12.00 plus $2.00 shipping.

Bulk orders (5 or more copies) can be obtained by mail from the publisher: Steam Locomotive Services, 23 Blake St. Ivoryton, CT 06442-1130 for $8.00 each, shipping charges added to invoice.



After several days work dismantling the locomotive to lighten it's weight and lower it's height, No. 3025 was lifted off it's wheels and loaded onto a trailer truck on November 25, 2008.

Wayne Hebert and Kjell Benner made two trips to remove the brake rigging, valve gear and rods as well as remove all the fasteners on the spring rigging, etc. prior to returning on November 23rd with Bill Wolf and Dave Conrad for the final preparations. On the 25th, as cranes from Smith Hauling were positioned, the driver pedestal binders were removed. The locomotive was slung front and back. Once a test lift of a couple of inches had been made, the locomotive was lifted about 6 inches and the trailing truck was rolled back to free the tongue. Finally the locomotive was lifted up about 5 feet to clear the driving wheels. It was then swung to the side and set on blocking so the binders could be safely re-installed. The lead and trailing trucks were disassembled sufficiently to remove the wheels. All the wheels were loaded for shipment to a wheel shop for turning.

Once the loading area had been clear of snow (again) by former Knox & Kane employees John Hafer and Chris Slater (who also helped with the dismantling), a heavy hauling "beam" trailer from Barber Trucking was backed into position. The locomotive (sans wheels) was again lifted, swung and lowered onto the trailer. After a bit of repositioning, it was chained down and the cranes were disconnected. The next day it was moved to Barber's yard for final weighing, possibly another repositioning and final measuring for clearances. It is hoped that it will be delivered to Essex before the end of the year.

Special thanks are due to all of the fine people who helped us and were so nice to us while we were in the Kane area including: John Hafer and Chris Slater formerly of the Knox & Kane Railroad, Steve and the crew from Smith Hauling, Tom and John from Barber Trucking, Sterling Watts (who let us use his frontend loader AND installed a furnace in his store room so we could warm up now and then), Bob from Peete M&A Services (who moved, hauled and loaded tons of spare parts for us), Margi and Warren from the Kaneview Motel (who sheltered us), all of the waitresses at Texas Hot Lunch (who kept us fed) and the staff at SUBWAY (who even Wayne couldn't get a laugh out of), (but he kept trying).


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

NYNH&H No. 3025?

The New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad never had a steam locomotive No. 3025. Their class J-1 Mikado 2-8-2s were numbered from 3000 to 3024 and none survive, in fact, no New Haven steam locomotive escaped the scrappers torch. But what if the New Haven had purchased one more steam locomotive and what if it had been saved? It might look like this concept drawing courtesy of former New Haven Railroad Historical Society President Alvin Lawrence.
The basis for the above is, of course, the Valley Railroad's "new" locomotive, recently purchased at an auction in Pennsylvania. While planning the rebuilding of the "new" locomotive, a number of employees and volunteers suggested that since we must build a new cab anyway, why not build a typical "US" style cab and while we're at it, make it look like a New Haven cab with the classic arched windows, and how about putting a New Haven "Sunbeam" headlight on it, and, and, and.
So, the plan is to modify the appearance of our "new" locomotive to resemble a New Haven class J-1 and incorporate as many "New Havenisms" as we can manage. Some of the J-1s even had "clear vision" tenders like ours (we'll modify the sides of ours to suit). When finished, No. 3025 will be a decent representation of New Haven steam power and right at home on a former New Haven branch line.