Steam Locomotive #5 Restoration
Our steam locomotive, the #5, also called “Shelby Brown”, is a 2-4-2 “Columbia” type built by H.K. Porter in 1946. The 2-4-2 represents the wheel arrangement of the two lead 'pilot' wheels which guide the engine through curves, the four main driving wheels that provide power to the rails, and the two 'trailing truck' wheels to support the firebox. Number 5 was built as a tank engine for the Central Illinois Public Service Company, originally as a tank engine for switching duties. It was donated to the Mid Continent Railroad Museum in 1963. In 1971, it was sold to the Crab Orchard & Egyptian tourist railroad at Marion, IL, where it was converted from having a tank engine to its current tender appearance with a former Illinois Central water car. In 1985, it was sold to Semo Steam in Jackson, MO. It was in service for the St. Louis Iron Mountain & Southern Railway until 1997 when taken out of service for mechanical repairs. Since 2003, several Iron Mountain volunteers have been working to return our steam locomotive #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 stricter 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 has been marked off in grids of six inch by six inch 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 thickness and structural integrity of the boiler. The inspector's report will then be submitted to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). The stay bolts on the boiler need to be hammer tested cleaned out. 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, 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 preliminary 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 $5,000. 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 $200,000 and maybe more, to get the engine back under steam. The St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern Railway is a 501(c)3 not for profit, volunteer operated operation, and donations, no matter how big or small, are always greatly appreciated and are tax deductible.
You can follow our progress at www.slimrr.com/5
Thank you in advance for any donations you can offer.