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786 Train Press Kit - May 2013
Components of Historic Steam Engine Return to Texas for Re-assembly
"The freshly overhauled components of Southern Pacific steam locomotive No. 786, which powered the Austin Steam Train Association's excursion trains in the 1990s, have returned to the association's home rail yard in Cedar Park, and now, it's "some assembly required."
Trucks arrived at the yard Friday, April 26, one bearing the engine's frame and cylinders, and the other the boiler and firebox. Other truckloads have arrived this week with 786's driving wheels and other relatively smaller components.
ASTA's board and staff are reviewing and revising the plan for re-assembling the 143-ton locomotive to determine what work remains to be done, who will perform it and how long it will take. Restored by ASTA after more than three decades on display in an Austin park, the 1916 engine pulled the association's regular excursion trains through the Hill Country from 1992 until it was removed from service in 1999.
The popular weekend excursion service has continued uninterrupted, using diesel locomotives, over 33 miles of track owned by Capital Metro between Cedar Park and Burnet.
The complete rebuild of the 786 involved sending the engine's various components around the country to contractors best qualified for the different parts of the project. After disassembly in the Cedar Park yard, pieces of the engine were sent to shops in Alabama, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Colorado, where they were worked on for seven years before their return to Texas.
Transportation of the engine's parts--two large high-wide loads and several regular flatbed loads--was performed by Freight Management Inc., and unloading was handled by Crocker Crane Rentals.
For background on ASTA's operations and information on the 786's history and technology, please visit our website, www.austinsteamtrain.org. ASTA is a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to historical rail preservation.
Alco Diesel 442 Engine Turns 50
The locomotive which had faithfully led all of the Austin Steam Train's
weekend excursions since 2000 will turn fifty years old on June 26, 2010.
Steam Engine Southern Pacific 786 Restoration Update
Work on 786 has now reached the re-assembly stage.
The 786's cylinder saddle, the massive two-piece casting that holds up the front of the boiler and includes the engine's cylinders and steam chests, has been mounted on the frame and its alignment verified. The cylinder saddle will be permanently mounted with custom-made frame keys and tapered bolts.
Machining operations on the cylinder saddle were completed last March at Steam Operations Corporation in a shop in Muscle Shoals, Ala. The newly made castings, each weighing about 13,000 pounds, were shipped to Alabama in March, 2006, and actual machining work began in May, 2007. Replacing 786's original cylinder saddle, the castings were made by the Fairmount Foundry in Hamburg, Pa.
Restoration work on the boiler by Historic Machinery Services in Alabama is complete. All of the thin spots have been replaced with new steel plates, new tubes and flues have been fabricated and installed, and a new smoke box bottom has been installed. The completed boiler has been pressure ("hydro") tested to 250 psi, 25 per cent over working pressure. It is currently in storage and is ready to be installed on the frame and new cylinder castings.
The engine's 63-inch driving wheels have been successfully turned in the shops of the Tennessee Valley Railroad and eight new steel tires for the drivers have been fabricated and installed. The drivers are complete and in storage, ready to be installed under the frame.
The air compressor, cold-water pump and dynamo have been completely rebuilt by Backshop Enterprises in Colorado. The hot-water pump and the power reverse remain to be overhauled. New driving boxes have been cast and machined, and they will have new crown brass and thrust bearings installed before they are placed into the frame. Read more about the history and restoration of 786 at "Where is the Steam Locomotive" or look at the work in progress at the Photo Gallery.
Read more about the restoration at "Where is the Steam Locomotive" or look at the work in progress at the Photo Gallery.
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