I was wondering if anyone knew anything about or where to find a bit more info about steam locomotives currently under restoration in the NJ/PA area as a whole. In looking on line, I have found tidbits of stuff related to steam locomotive restoration. I've read some roomers that the Blue Mountain and Northern is restoring a Pacific, I know that New Hope and Ivy Land has a 4-8-4 that they are currently restoring, but that got sidetracked as they figure out what to do about revamping the line for increased demands of that locomotive as well as the possibilities of a new shop. Then I know that there were two steam railroads in NJ that had steam locomotives but don't know if any are currently under restoration. I think both the Black River and Western, as well as the narrow gage railroad museum. I even saw that they may be trying to revive 614.
I am rather excited actually as this summer starting in another week and a half I will be living in New Brunswick, New Jersey and working for a company that owns many power plants and hopefully starting to break into the power industry. I have one year left of school, I'm studying mechanical engineering, and figure as one who has loved steam locomotives all his life that the power industry is one of the last remaining holdouts on commercial steam and hope to make a living in the industry maintaining steam power plants.
At the same time always having had steam locomotives in my heart I'd really love to start learning the ropes of locomotive restoration work. While in high school I built myself a 1/8th scale coal burning, steam locomotive and have learned to be a pretty decent machinist. Growing up back home in Massachusetts while I have a nice garage machine shop which I love working in, we are kind of in a full sized steam locomotive dessert. So now that I will be in NJ for the summer thou I am rather excited about having so many locomotives near by. I grew up going to a rather active live steam club (miniature steam locomotives), where I could go on the weekends lend a hand and learn a lot.
While I know this may not be the best forum, since I've seen the likes of Kelly Anderson posting here, and have the great privilege of tagging along with Joe Michales on a job or two also I was wondering if anyone here would have any advise on which group would be best to go to. I'm looking for a place where I could go and lend an eager hand a few weekends a month work hard, and learn a lot. I have a young back don't mind crawling in and out of tight places, can do a decent job at machining, have a great respect for working around heavy machinery. Does anyone know which would be the best place in the area for a young guy like me to go volunteer over the summer and learn a bit or two also? Or does anyone know of a practical steam locomotive restoration forum to place this question on?
...the Pennsy K4 Pacific 4-6-2 #1361 is being restored at Steamtown...if I remember correctly...Joe Michaels is involved in the project.
The 3' gauge Pine Creek RR at Allaire State Park in NJ has a nice shop with many old machines that they actually use. When I was last there, they were runing a tiny diesel on their excursions but they do have several steamers.
The last time I was there, they had a steamer all disassembled. The boiler work involved installing a new front tube sheet. (I think that's the correct term.) The new sheet was being drilled for the tube holes with a huge camelback drill press.
There was a teenage student machinist at work on a crank pin. He had it in a large flat-belt-driven lathe. I'm not sure why they were using the big lathe for this, it might have been partly to put on a show for the tourists, but the young fellow was turning the piece true and getting a nice finish on slow feed.
There was a new tender tank under construction by welding. (Yeah, I know, a "bull rivetter" would be more authentic.)
As you make plans to volunteer, keep travel time in mind. If you have to spend half a day driving, you can't spend a whole day working. Allaire isn't all that far from New Brunswick, which might make it the best choice.
Oh, you are off to a good start in life! A combination of a University education in engineering and practical experience.
As far as the K4, I guess it is a matter of time hopefully before Joe chimes in on that project here, however, the thing about that one is that they tend to be doing all the work on that engine via professional help. I am more interested in something where I can lend a hand and learn! I was lucky enough to have the privilege of tagging along with Joe one day on that project, but I am looking for an environment where I could really take part in the work.
The best place for serious communication on this subject is on "Railway Preservation News".
Or does anyone know of a practical steam locomotive restoration forum to place this question on?
I believe the WK&S uses volunteers.
Wanamaker Kempton & Southern
Also the W&W.
Wilmington & Western
if your looking for a place in NJ check this place out for the best in restoring and riding trains. Just click NJ transportation museum
Strausburg Railroad. In Pa.
Thanks guys, for the help. I guess I'll post this over at Rypn too as it seems to be a pretty good site. I have been to Alaire State park, a few years back so I guess I will have to visit there this summer.
Fishermanscan, I was wondering what is with the NJ Transportation Museum? I have seen bits and pieces about them, aren't they primarily trolleys and and buses? Thou in reading that article it sounds like they are trying to restore the turntable pit in Netcong which is rather cool being that my girlfriend lives right around there. However after checking out google's satalite imagery it looks like they have a ways to go before before doing that as it seems as thou the pit may even be filled in. Do you know anything about this museum it seems like they are rahter scattered about in different places. Do they have any steam locomotives? It seems they are affiliated with stuff in Phillipsburg where I know Joe Michael's Chineese locomotive runs, I have been there and they seem like great guys, but if possible I'd really love to spend more time in the shop.
Strasburg RR in Strasburg, PA is a good place to visit. A privately owned operation, I am not sure what kind of volunteer group they have.
Across the street from the Strasburg RR is the Pennsylvania State RR Museum. They do have a volunteer group and a part of the group does do restoration work on the trains. Pretty good collection of rolling stock, both inside and outside.
This would be a bit of a drive, as it is very near Lancaster, PA. Probably 2-3 hours from New Brunswick.
The Strasburg operation is worth a visit, but might be a bit far for regular volunteer work.
Another trip is North Conway, NH. They have a small operation there that operates several steam locomotives.
Another trip is the Cass railroad out here in PA somewhere above Harrisburg. If I am not mistaken it is also known as East Broad Top. I haven't been there but I have heard of their historical accuracy due to things having never been updated.
One more piece to see is in Aberdeen, MD. At the Aberdeen Proving Ground there is a small military museum, mostly of vehicles from previous wars. They have Leopold, the 28 cm (11")railway gun from Germany and WW2
I don't know too much but I have a friend that volunteers there and I could get his mail for you. It's : firstname.lastname@example.org
Like I said he volunteers there and has access to the shop and equipment so if you need more info his your man. Just tell him that John Scancella from the NJBA thought you could point him in the right direction. who knows maybe they will even hire you to work there (I almost did but to far of a commute). Anyways hope that helps.
The Friends of the NJ Transportation Museum in Phillipsburg have the former pump house including the Allis Chalmers triple expansion pumping engine. Nobody has taken the lead in caring for this engine and you might be able to get in there and do some work on it. Not railway preservation but but that triple is just as classy as any locomotive.
When I was there last year much of the brightwork had started rusting, there was some damage to the valve gear from a previous aborted attempt to turn over the engine. This engine is in NEED of someone who will care for it, clean the brightwork, do some repainting and get it back into mechanical tip top shape.
Just don't step off the end of one of the platforms, its a long way to the bottom of the building!