C&O 1309 boiler in ‘like new condition,’ steam expert says

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Chesapeake & Ohio No. 1309 was on static display for many years at the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum in Baltimore, Md.
CUMBERLAND, Md. – The Western Maryland Scenic Railroad continues to make steady progress on its efforts to return Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 to operation. The railroad sent out a letter to its foundation supporters on Nov. 22 highlighting recent accomplishments.

“The most significant discovery was that the firebox of the 1309, was as Scott Lindsay put it, ‘in like new condition’, leading to speculation that the C&O replaced the firebox late in the locomotive’s service,” an excerpt reads.

In October, Scott Lindsay and officials from the Steam Operation Corp. completed a detailed ultrasound survey of the locomotive’s boiler.

The testing revealed several areas of the boiler and rear tube sheet with erosion and other potential issues. While the boiler and rear tube sheet would meet current standards, more extensive work would require several patches within the next 3-5 years, according to the letter.

Western Maryland Scenic General Superintendent Mike Gresham made the decision to delay 1309’s return to service to give shop crew times to install the needed patches and bring the boiler to substantially “as-built” condition.

“Although we could operate No. 1309 without repair to some of the corrosion damaged areas, it’s really the only logical decision to make repairs now while the locomotive is disassembled even if it means a delay to [No. 1309’s] return to service. Otherwise, we’d have to be making significant repairs to No. 1309 in 3-5 years,” Gresham said.

The railroad also launched its “1309 Completion Campaign” fundraising initiative that will have the locomotive pulling trains by mid-2016.

“From its beginning, this has been a grassroots effort without the direct support of major corporations or the railroad industry,” the letter said.

The campaign hopes to raise $200,000 through the expansion of its popular “Hand on the Throttle” program. A $500 (or greater) donation, the recipient will receive a gift certificate for a cab ride in No. 1309 during regularly scheduled excursions. For a $1,000 (or greater) donation, the donor will receive a gift certificate for 30 minutes of throttle time. For $2,000 or more, the donor will receive a 1-hour experience.

The railroad has scheduled the weekend of July 24, 2016 for No. 1309’s return to service, as announced during the Trains Magazine 75th anniversary gala in Milwaukee earlier this month, where Western Maryland Scenic accepted the publication’s annual $10,000 preservation award.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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