Progress on Reading Co. 2100 boiler work

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With side sheets welded in place, Reading Co. 2100 is ready for staybolt work.
American Steam Railroad
CLEVELAND, Ohio — Boiler and firebox work are just about completed on Reading No. 2100, the famed 4-8-4 leased by American Steam Railroad. The new firebox side sheets, welded in place and drilled and reamed, await new staybolts, says Steve Harvey, president of the non-profit.

"We can just about smell the coal smoke," Harvey told Trains on Thursday. The project needs about $29,000 to see the firebox and boiler phase completed, he said. In total, about $255,000 is still needed in the Fire Up 2100 campaign to return the 1960s eastern Pennsylvania fantrip favorite to service. The engine has been undergoing restoration since it arrived in Ohio in 2015.

Harvey said a crew of 8-12 volunteers is working on the tender, preparing to reinstall the stoker that was removed during an unsuccessful conversion to oil-firing. Fortunately, the stoker and its engine were not scrapped and are on hand. In addition to tender work, repairs are necessary to the running gear, Harvey reported. At least one roller bearing in the pilot truck must be replaced, and rod brasses must also be modified or replaced. There is air brake and plumbing work remaining, and all the front-end screening removed must be replaced before a fire is lit.

The project moves at the speed of donated funds, Harvey said. "If fund-raising continues at the present rate, we're probably looking at a 2020 fire-up," he said. Harvey says what is happening now is the assembly phase of the project. When everything is ready, American Steam plans a few test runs before making the engine available for excursion service.

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