Page 1 of 1

NYC steam in Elkhart

Posted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 2:20 pm
by CAT345C
So whats the deal with that Steamer in Elkhart? Is the museum planning to get it running again? I saw some pictures of people working on the rods.

Re: NYC steam in Elkhart

Posted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 4:31 pm
Probably cosmetic. Unless money starts growing on trees, that steamer ain't going to run again.

My guess, with the current state of financial affairs, you'll see LESS steamers steaming rather than more.

Practice Safe CSX

Re: NYC steam in Elkhart

Posted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 9:01 pm
by GreatLakesRailfan
That steamer isn't exactly owned by the museum. The museum is owned by the City of Elkhart, while the steamer is supposedly owned by one of the local railfan groups. I say supposedly because the last I heard, no one had any way to prove exactly who owned it.

Last fall (2007), before the city election and the change in museum curator, some work was done on the steamer, mostly to see what was there and what wasn't. Apparently after being retired by the NYC, the 3001 was cosmetically altered to look like a Texas and Pacific locomotive and spent quite a while down south in a park or something. Eventually it was found, purchased or something like that, and brought back up north, where it's been sitting for a couple decades. I'm not quite sure exactly how the Lakeshore group got ownership of it, or why the city of Elkhart didn't get it but..

At the time the work was done last fall, there was discussion about how to go about restoring it, if we found the funds to do it (as a side note- the Robert R. Young NRHS chapter was founded about a year ago and one of the things discussed in the beginning was restoration of the 3001, which would be more feasible with the involvement of the NRHS than it would be otherwise). One of the ideas brought up was to make it the first digital steamer. Rather than rely on the traditional ideas and operation of the thing, the idea was to use the technology available today to have a steam locomotive operated by modern day technology, not 50-year-old technology.

Some food for thought. By the way, those pictures of the rod work are from late Fall 2007.

Re: NYC steam in Elkhart

Posted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 12:06 am
by GP30M4216
Charles is right on; he and I both spent time at the NYC museum during the fall of 2007, although we never actually ran into each other there during that timeframe.

As I understand it, the locomotive is owned by the Lake Shore group (can't remember their full name), but essentially this group was founded prior to the actual establishment of the city-owned museum. The group acquired much of the rolling stock currently on site. Later, the city stepped in, beginning the official NYC Museum, working hand-in-hand with the Lake Shore group. They continue to maintain agreements today, as far as I know.

Yes, little projects were being undertaken during the Fall of 2007 on the 3001. Nothing like getting her boiler re-certified, but as Charles said, mostly trying to figure out what was there and what was not. I know the sand dome cover was replaced, correctly. The GG1 and a line of equipment on an adjacent track was pulled back so the engineer's side of the locomotive could be examined and worked on. The front and fireman's side of the unit got new paint, but unfortunately the engineer's side did not. Incidentally, the Lake Shore group traded a second GG1 originally at the Museum with the group down in Texas for the 3001, back in the 80's, and that's how the big steamer came to Elkhart.

The talk about making it a digital steamer was considered at that time. One other major advantage the 3001 has is its size. Although a 4-8-2 wheel arrangement, it is fairly small for that type of locomotive, which could some day be an advantage if ever used in excursion service. It also already has a water tender which could be used with little modification, and for an added bonus, it's an authentic NYC tender as well. There is an interesting story behind that second tender.

The work days on the 3001 and other pieces of equipment there always took place on Saturdays, and I was only working there on Tuesdays and Thursdays. So I could see the progress, but never the actual work being done. With their new director, I'm curious to know how the Museum as a whole is making out. They just don't have the money to get it operable, so unless someone has some big pockets, you can still admire it with a paid admission ($5 I think) to the Museum grounds.

Re: NYC steam in Elkhart

Posted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 8:40 pm
by GreatLakesRailfan
The "new" guy in charge of the museum isn't exactly new to the museum. He was there for quite a while before he was replaced a couple years ago (or he quit...I don't recall exactly why he stopped working there).

The museum is still allowing the NRHS chapter (and the Lake Shore group and I think at least one other group) to hold their meetings onsite, but I don't know how much, if any, other activity is taking place these days.

If you know the story of that second tender, Nathan, I'd definitely be interested in knowing more. All I know is that if you look at it just right, you can still see the outline of the AFT paint under the black.

When we pulled the line of cars back last fall, something happened to the crane (which was used to shuffle the cars around) and that's why the pickup was being used to move stuff around (there's a picture in the photo gallery). I don't know if they managed to fix the crane or not as I didn't get a chance to go back before the curator change happened (it was toward the end of the semester, I had projects and stuff to get done).

The time I got to spend over there was time well spent. It left a good taste in my mouth (eh, that might not be the right figure of speech :oops: ) for that kind of preservation, and (if I can find the time) I'd like to do that kind of stuff again in the future.

The 3001's second tender story

Posted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 11:37 pm
by GP30M4216
Among the few concrete things which I have to document my time interning at the NYC Museum, I did two historical write ups which were meant to be pamphlets or included in a new rolling stock roster and history. I wished I had been able to do more, but I didn't have many of the things needed to continue, the biggest thing was time! The two write ups I did were for the 3001's second tender (we had many questions from visitors about the second tender... and never answers!) and the GG1. Anyhow, here's a copy of the article I wrote about the tender.

The story of the 3001's two tenders...

You may have noticed that our New York Central class L3a 4-8-2 Mohawk steam locomotive, number 3001, is joined by not one, but two tenders on the Museum’s grounds. The 3001 locomotive is the largest NYC steam locomotive remaining today. The tender behind it is the original tender for the 3001 and they have been together since they were built by ALCO at their Schenectady Works in 1940. So what about the other tender?

The second tender is also from a New York Central Mohawk, but it was originally from the class L3b Mohawk number 3042 steam locomotive. When built, both tenders were nearly identical. This second tender has had a storied life, however. When the locomotive 3042 was retired, the tender was saved for non-revenue duty by the New York Central, and it became essentially a large diesel fuel tank car retaining the shape of a steam tender. It survived in this modified way in company service into the Penn Central era, when it was relegated to a far off corner of the Van Wert, Ohio, railroad yard until purchased by Mr. Ross E. Rowland Jr. Ross was instrumental in putting together the American Freedom Train, a steam powered exhibit train which traveled around the country in 1975 and 1976 to commemorate our nation’s bi-centennial. The NYC 3042 tender was used as a water tender for the Reading Railroad number 2101, a class T-1 4-8-4 steam locomotive. This locomotive pulled the American Freedom Train No. 1, which traveled around the eastern United States. After 1976, Ross Rowland converted the 2101 into the Chessie Steam Special, a steam powered excursion program set up by the Chessie System Railroads in 1977 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, which then continued through the late 1970s and early 1980s.

The Chessie Steam program was a large success, and in the off-season the steam equipment was stored in a roundhouse at the Chessie Yard in Silver Grove, Kentucky, across the Ohio River from Cincinnati. On March 7, 1979, however, a disastrous fire consumed the roundhouse and much of what was inside it. Thankfully, the 3042 tender escaped severe harm. Much of the other equipment, however, was seriously damaged, ending the running carrier of the 2101 as the Chessie System replaced it with the Chesapeake and Ohio class J3a 4-8-4 locomotive number 614. Robert Spaugh Sr., the founder much of the National New York Central Museum’s collection, saw the value of one of the last remaining pieces of New York Central steam equipment, and had the 3042 tender donated, adding it to the Museum’s collection. The tender has a capacity of 16,000 gallons of water.

Looking closely at the paint on this second Mohawk tender, you may be able to see traces of its colorful past, including markings from both the American Freedom Train and Chessie Steam Special, as well as areas of exterior steel that were warped and misshapen when the cold water from the fire hoses first hit the hot steel as the tender sat in the 1979 roundhouse fire. When the National New York Central Museum achieves its goal of restoring the 3001 as an operating L3a Mohawk steam locomotive, it will be joined by its original tender. The 3042 tender may be used as an auxiliary water tender to extend the distance it can travel between water stops.