Typically you find that many parts of restoring steam locomotives are never easy or simple. Take the task of re-drilling just one hole in Southern Pacific #1744’s frame. What sounds quite simple was just the opposite.
With most of the suspension for the main drivers removed from the locomotive’s frame, it was determined that one of the mounting points that would hold a pin to hold a spring pack for the drivers had become worn and oval over the locomotive’s 100+ years of service. It was decided this needed to be repaired.
So… Our welder, John B., completed the process of filling the oval hole back up with weld to the point where there would be enough new metal to drill a round hole of the proper diameter out again. You can see him here starting the process of filling in the oblong hole which is about 4 inches wide as it is the same width as the 1744’s frame.
With the hole welded up, the next challenge was creating a mobile machining rig capable of drilling the hole. Our machinist, Art R., jumped in and over several weeks developed, testing and refined a drilling rig to handle the job.
On Saturday, January 13th, everyone was ready, the rig was mounted and even in part welded to the frame, and the hole cutting process was successfully undertaken over the course of a few hours. Here is a gallery of images of the work.
All photos and videos except as noted by Christopher Hauf – Used with permission
Video courtesy of John Blaine – Used with permission
See the drilling rig in action in this short video…
With the hole complete, the team can look at starting the process of re-installing some of the 1744’s spring packs so ultimately its rebuild drivers can be placed back under the locomotive.
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Thanks and look forward to more updates soon!