Boring a Steam Engine Cylinder

Discussion in 'The Real Thing- North America' started by Fluesheet, Jun 13, 2007.

  1. Fluesheet

    Fluesheet Member

    I find these photos fascinating, and don't believe I've previously shared them. The attached images were taken during restoration of a heavy consolidation (2-8-0 steam locomotive) by the Ohio Central Railroad. While the subject matter is interesting in and of itself, I have a particular soft spot for this ugly beast of a locomotive as I was a kid when my father and a couple friends purchased it in 1967 (I believe) for use (eventually) on a tourist railroad (Hocking Valley Scenic). In hindsight, I was fortunate to help with some day to day work on this locomotive back in the '70's - mainly limited to shoveling out the smokebox, cleaning the waste from the main driver journals, and other tasks that the adults didn't want (or were too big) to accomplish.

    Long story short, if you've ever wondered how a steam locomotive's cylinders where freshened up, here you go...

    Attached Files:

  2. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Those are great! I love seeing pictures like that. Is that locomotive operational now?

  3. Fluesheet

    Fluesheet Member

    The last update I got was that it had passed it's boiler tests and completed some shakedown runs, but found one of the driver journals was running hot. They've since de-wheeled her again to correct a 3/32" (or something like that) out of quarter issue with her main driver.

    The OC's owner's intention is to use this locomotive as motive power for some revenue freight runs. i.e. a full-sized train set.
  4. zedob

    zedob Member

    Did someone have it in their toolbox, or do museums and rebuilders borrow each other's specialized tools that they have acquired over time? I know they didn't go down to Grainger's and buy that rig.:mrgreen:

    I have seen a similar set up at a foundry's machine shop that was boring out the cored hole in a 48" dia cane roller and I have seen them in new old books (Lindsay Publications:thumb:), but not on a loco in color (like that really matters on a steam loco).

    Glad to see that another steamer will get to run again. :thumb::thumb::thumb:
  5. Fluesheet

    Fluesheet Member

    The guys that work for the OC steam department have been in that niche for decades. The guy that oversaw much of the work on this engine was also one of this locomotive's original purchasers way back in the 60's, so has had plenty of time to accumulate this kind of stuff - first for the Hocking Valley, and now for the Ohio Central. I think it's like any other specialty - you learn where to get what you need.

    You can see more photos of the restoration of this particular locomotive at [SIZE=-1] Incidentally, the OC's owner recently completed the purchase of a Nickle Plate Berkshire, which he also intends to restore.[/SIZE]

    By the way zebob, interesting dam page.
  6. slekjr

    slekjr Member

    I had the good fortune to work on the 1551 for a short time when it was in Austintown Ohio in 1987. I got some video while they were retubing the boiler. Never have seen it operate. I Also really enjoyed the dam page. I spent the winter of 1983 in sunny Watertown NY rebuilding 3 Leffel horizontal turbines with Frances runners that we installed in a Hydro plant in Beaver Falls, Pa.
    I spent 12 years listening to the generators making power with these turbines which are now over 100 years old. I left the job in Jan of 1995.
    I have some photos if you are interested pm me and I'll send them to you
  7. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    I'll throw a little OC background in here since there's interest in it...

    Jerry Jacobson (aka Jerry Joe) was an anesthesiologist whom bought an un-wanted line and built up a nice freight business. (He's no longer an anesthesiologist). His house overlooks his railroad need Sugarcreek. His main shops are at Morgan Run.

    Jerry Joe got his start with the 765 crew. After he had his own railway, he restored a Canadian 4-6-0. He then collected a Canadian 2-6-0, an 0-4-0t, BC&G 2-8-0. He restored all but the mogul. Next he nabbed a Canadian 4-6-2 and restored which point he had about a dozen nice passenger cars. He then caught the GT 4-8-4 and began restoring it. He helped broker a deal over the C&O at Dennison, OH. Next he grabbed the former Gettysburg RR engines...a Canadian 4-6-2 (which had the boiler explosion of the mid '90s which changed all the boiler laws and stopped numerous steam engines cold) and a I thought there was also a 2-8-0. The engine seen here came next, a LS&I 2-8-0 which was formerly on the Hocking Valley. Most recently he's brought in the NKP 763.

    I suspect that what's happening in the picture isn't really boring out the cylinder, but actually machining the cylinders...getting them back to round after being a few hundredths or thousands of an inch off. Cylinders are castings.

    Some of the specialty tools are common and some are rare. Wheel Lathes for driving wheels are an extremely important tool every 100,000 miles. I can think of 3 shops in the country that can handle drivers...the Grand Canyon Railroad, Strasbourg, and Chattanooga.

    In order to get good grease, a few mainline steam operators had a large batch made in Canada a number of years wasn't a legal formula to manufacture in the US anymore...but legal to import.
  8. Dave Harris

    Dave Harris Member

    I'm so glad to see these pics. I just put them on a CD.
    I have a couple of junk Riverossi engines that I was going to model one to be an engine either being scrapped or overhauled --- guess now it will be an overhaul.
    I need now to find some pics of a boiler retube-- I have seen them in the past but I don't have any on file
    Thanks ,
  9. Dave Harris

    Dave Harris Member

    Oh I forgot to mention , I just bought a whole bunch of pocket watch parts to get the Winding gears to use in A Shay ---- NOW I will have a use for some of the other gears!! SUPER!!!
  10. Fluesheet

    Fluesheet Member

    I suspect you're right - just a freshening up. The cylinders are castings, but the bores are pressed in liners similar to what's done in some internal combustion engines. I'd be curious to find out if these are considered wear items that can be pressed out and replaced once they become too thin after multiple freshenings, or if that the liner were for all intents and purposes a lifetime item. A question for my father (or someone here).

    Re: the OC, the word is that the owner has commissioned some studies of different sites to build a steam locomotive service facility, including a roundhouse. The architect (my father) said it will have the feel of a real roundhouse, but with modern construction techniques - apparently it would be far too expensive to replicate original construction techniques and materials.

    Other news while on the topic of OC - 765 will apparently be moving to the OC for excursion work, that's supposed to happen this month.

    Also, the 763 (mentioned in the original post and in NKP174's post) was recently moved from the Virginia Museum of Transportation to the NS East End Shops for inspection before the move to Ohio.
    See http ://
    It's passed inspection and is ready to move, but NS has asked to retain it in the shop a little longer as an exhibit for the celebration of the 125th anniversary of the Roanoke shops. They also moved the 611 and 1218 to the shops on 9/4. Coincidentally, my wife and I just visited the museum 9/3. Good thing we didn't wait until the following weekend!
    See some very cool shots of the 611's move here: N&W J611 on the Move
    Unfortunately it got too dark for the photographer (Sam Putney) to get pictures of the A being moved.

    OK, quite the tangent - back to your regular stations...

    Good stuff - thanks for the info. The 33's drivers (2-8-0 that is the subject of this post) went to Chattanooga for quartering. Don't know if they did any work on the tires.

  11. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Good information Matt. I hadn't heard anything about Jerry Joe's engine house...but his Morgan Run shops are overrun with trains...and they also are his diesel facility. He definitely needs a larger facility.

    You're spot on the 763 remaining in Roanoke a little while longer...which is funny considering how that engine was always treated like a red haired step child. Jerry Joe had been trying to work out a deal for some time that involved something being sent to Worthington for the N&W 4-6-2 to exchange for the 763, until it finally just became a direct purchase.

    I will remain silent on the 765 for now...:mrgreen:
  12. Fluesheet

    Fluesheet Member

    The 4-6-2 would have been a nice fit for VMT. It'd also make a decent tourist engine - not too big.

    I've been to Morgan Run once during the 33's restoration, but I have no direct connection to the OC other than through my father. He is good friends with one of the steam department guys from back prior to the Hocking Valley days and is doing the roundhouse drawings. Good updates come via that channel occasionally.

    Spill the beans on 765!
  13. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Let me see if I can recall the deal (second hand, of course) with the only surviving N&W many know, it used to be run regularly by the Ohio Railway Museum (ORM). The ORM had two camps...juicers and steam/diesels...and one peacemaker whom allowed it to work. When he died, the civil war got going and the 4-6-2 has been sitting ever since. Further, rumor has it that they didn't own a grease gun, so the rod bearings might not be mainline worthy...but that is very much an unconfirmed rumor and I doubt it. I do not know if the group is still dysfunctional, but that certainly would cause enough of a problem to prevent Jerry Joe from swinging his deal for the 4-6-2.

    I do know that Jerry Joe covets (or at least used to) the NKP Hudson at St. Louis in my sig. I also know that Doyle McCormick, when asked if the PA-1 will be his last project, mentioned a fondness for that NKP 4-6-4. I have 3 of them in brass, so you can guess how I feel about it...that might be the next major, major horse trade deal.

    The 765...this is a subject that many people care very much about. Hint hint...sign up for a membership, I thing it is $15 currently. Last year there were, um, communication issues with a certain railroad. They didn't seem to want to be bothered, even if it was for just a small move. A bypass was not nothing happened. This isn't really spilling the beans as there isn't much here that isn't on their website. It is very important for such a group not to let word out on such deals for parties involved may get cold feet if things aren't final, and the parties may look bad if things don't happen.
    When the 765's test run occurred in march '06, it was not announced in advance for two reasons: 1) minimize bad publicity if things went poorly and 2) to avoid having too many people around which worries railroad lawyers (no future operations). This is very important as historically there has usually only been one class 1 RR whom was excursion friendly at any given is very much the case now...although Amtrak certification is needed prior to anything on a class 1 for insurance reasons.
    I do not recall if anything has been announced as coming down the pipeline, but the kind of people that can come up with $500,000 to overhaul a mainline steam locomotive are the type of visionaries and business men to have ideas and contacts to make things happen. If you look around at the potential can see some of their ideas...:twisted: Just be sure to join the society as a member.:wink: I might run into you if you do.

    Here are a couple pics I took at the top secret test run. I somehow managed to make hear about it and make it up...4hrs time to catch it :wink: Afterall, I did have more than a 4 day heads up.

    Attached Files:

  14. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    Wonderful pics, thanks for sharing- also about the machine!!

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