Sunday, November 8, 2015

5057 update - the restoration plan

Last month we visited the 5057 at the Pend Oreille Valley Railroad (POVA) shop in Usk, WA.
Not much has happened since the 5057 arrived there late last year.  Progress has been slow because the shop at POVA has been busy with work for clients that are in a bigger rush than us. In June some of the parts we borrowed from the Western Pacific Railroad Museum in Portola, CA were removed and returned.  We are still need to return the rear pilot plate we borrowed from them and are seeking dimensions for the replacement from the 5056 at Illinois Railway Museum.  
Wayne Monger poses by the 5057 in June 2015 while picking up parts to be returned
to the Western Pacific Railroad Museum (photo courtesy of Wayne Monger) 
While we were at POVA, we talked to them about the work we want to do before we repaint the 5057. Based on our conversation, the first task we tackle will be restoring the cab.  This is probably the most extensive portion of the work.  Typical of early GE ‘U-boat’ locomotives, the cab has a lot of corrosion.  In some places, the steel will need to be completely replaced.  We will be matching the existing material as much as possible as we replace things.  New and repaired metal will be primed to protect it until we are ready to paint.  While this will be a lot of work, it is something that can be accomplished a little bit at a time, with the 5057 going in and out of the shop as their schedule permits.
You can see some of the sheet metal corrosion
on the cab that needs to be addressed before the 5057 is painted.
After the cab is finished, we will work on the hood.  Most of the hood doors need to be straightened and many of the latches need to be replaced.  We have a good supply of replacement latches that were acquired from GE by the Western Pacific Railroad Museum and came to us with the 5057.  Another thing we plan to do is replace the missing access door on the cabinet under the walkway at the rear of the locomotive.  This cabinet is where a flange lubricator system was installed after the 5057 was retired by the Milwaukee Road. The flange lubricator will be removed.  We also plan to make some modifications to deter vandals and thieves from damaging the locomotive while it is on display.
This is the flange lubricator that will be removed.  The missing door will be replaced.

One door with a latch, another without a latch.
Overall, we expect the preparation work before painting to cost about $15,000.  The painting itself will be about $20,000.  Right now, we have most but not all of the funds need to complete the preparation work. Please make a donation today to help us get the 5057 looking good again.

Monday, July 13, 2015

5057 is 50!

The 5057 is fifty years old this month!

It entered service for the Milwaukee Road on July 14, 1965 as locomotive number 388.  By the end of the month, it was pulling freight across the system.  The first documented trip in Washington we have identified occurred on July 31, about two weeks after it entered service.

According to this train sheet, the 388 passed Maple Valley, WA at 12:23 a.m. pulling 2,915 tons (25 loads and 58 empty cars) with three other U25B locomotives.  It then passed Black River at 12:50 a.m. on the way to Tacoma. It would have passed through Cle Elum sometime on July 30.

Here is an August 1965 view of the 388 going through Cle Elum, one of the earliest pictures of the locomotive.  Right behind the power, all GE U25B locomotives like the 388, the dynamometer car is collecting data on the performance of these new additions to the fleet.

In honor of the 5057's birthday, consider making a birthday gift donation to the 5057 Project!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Something borrowed, something new...

We are starting to send back parts we borrowed from the Western Pacific Railroad Museum in order to move the 5057 to the Pend Oreille Valley Railroad shop in Usk, WA.

This week, composite brake shoes and a P2-A brake application valve are being removed from the 5057 and returned.

The P2-A brake application valve

Next, we need to fabricate a replacement for the missing rear pilot plate.  We used one from Western Pacific 501, an EMC SW1, to get the 5057 back to Washington.  It fit pretty well, but we are contacting the Illinois Railway Museum to request the dimensions of the rear pilot plate on the 5056 so we can duplicate it.  The 5056 is the other surviving Milwaukee Road U25B. 

You can see the gap under the coupler where the rear pilot plate should be.

Since the restoration work on the 5057 and 5056 will face many similar challenges, we hope to build a good working relationship with the Illinois Railway Museum. 

In the meantime, we are still working with staff at the Pend Oreille Valley Railroad to develop a plan for the restoration work on the 5057.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Thirty-five years ago - March 1980

Thirty-five years ago this month, the 5057 left Washington as the Milwaukee Road packed up and abandoned the state.

At the time no one probably would have guessed that it would ever come back, let alone be the focus of a campaign to cosmetically restore it and display it at Cle Elum.  Who knew then that it would be one of the few survivors and someday be tasked with introducing future generations to the fascinating, bittersweet history of the Milwaukee Road?  Yet there it sits today in Usk, WA, on the former Milwaukee Road branch to Metaline Falls, thanks to the efforts of many railfans, former Milwaukee Road employees, and other friends.

It has come far, but still has a long way to go before it finally returns to Cle Elum.  Together, the Friends of the 5057 will eventually bring it home.

The Burlington Northern dispatcher at Maple Valley, WA documented the last trip of the 5057 between Black River, WA and Maple Valley, WA on March 13, 1980.

The train with the 5057 finally arrived in Cle Elum on March 14, 1980 after taking 12 hours to make the 55-mile trip from Cedar Falls.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

5057 in the news

We have received some good publicity about the movement of the 5057 back to Washington.

The North Kittitas County Tribune newspaper (Cle Elum) published an article in December illustrated with a photo by Rob Jacox. The Daily Record newspaper in Ellensburg also published an article in January. You can read the Daily Record article here.

More recently, Railfan and Railroad published a news item about the move in the February issue of the magazine, with a photo by Ted Curphey of it heading to Usk on the Pend Oreille Valley Railroad. 

We are working with the folks at POVA to plan the restoration work and hope to have some news to report soon.  Stay tuned!