St. Louis Iron Mountain & Southern Railway
Since 2003, several Iron Mountain volunteers have been working to return our steam locomotive number 5 to operating condition. The majority of work completed since then has been disassembly of the engine to determine exactly what will need done to get this historic piece of equipment steaming again. The engine will also have to be brought into compliance with a new set of rules regarding steam locomotives which were set forth by the Federal Railroad Administration in the year 2000.
The largest and most important component of any steam locomotive is the boiler. To date, all of the insulation and sheet metal jacketing has been removed from number 5’s boiler. It has been thoroughly cleaned on the outside and had a primer coat of paint applied to protect it. The boiler will have to be marked off in grids of one foot squares and then checked for thickness in each of those sections with an ultrasonic tester. Then, the measurements are sent off to a professional engineer to be calculated and determine the exact thicknesses and structural integrity of the boiler. This is all extremely expensive work and must be completed before any actual repairs can begin so that we know what needs attention. Replacement of all of the nearly two hundred boiler tubes will be necessary as well.
The locomotive’s running gear (drive rods, wheels, cylinders, etc.) is in fair condition but will still require replacement of several bearings, fresh lubrication packing, and a thorough cleaning of all components. The valve timing of the locomotive will also have to be reset to ensure reliable operation and maximum horsepower. Piston and valve rings may also require replacement depending upon their condition.
The tender of the locomotive which carries the coal and water will require major sheet steel replacement. Years of acidic coal dust and water mixed to eat away the sheets of the coal bunker. The tender will have the coal bunker area replaced along with any sections of the water tank that are found to be leaking or getting thin. A new cab for the engine will be built as well, using the old one as a pattern. This will replace the old cab which was getting quite rusty and had a lot of patches.
Much work has been done to keep progress moving forward in expectation of completing the rest of the necessary items. Much of this progress has been made in the way of bending and cutting new pipe work for the engine. New components have also been purchased such as two new water injectors, special pipe fittings, and tools. All of this has been paid for out of pocket by the volunteers working on the engine as a labor of love.
In order to get the ball rolling and have the initial engine inspection done in preparation for the boiler work, we need to raise about $3,000. This is so our contractor can do a thorough evaluation of the locomotive and work up a plan of work that will systematically rebuild the engine a section at a time and ensure that it is done properly. We estimate that it could take as much as $150,000 and maybe more, to get the engine back under steam. Iron Mountain Railway is a 501(c)3 not for profit, and donations, no matter how big or small are always greatly appreciated and are tax deductible.
Iron Mountain Railway
c/o Chris Bollinger
P.O. Box 244
Jackson, MO 63755
Make checks payable to :
#5 Restoration Fund
memo line: Steam Engine
This page will be updated with photographs of the progress soon.
Photos ©Copyright -St. Louis Iron Mountain and Southern Railway