Steam locomotive 'Skookum' running gear problems resolved; few tickets remain for TRAINS' event

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Skookum, the Pacific Northwest 2-4-4-2 that has not run since 1955, was under steam Thursday and moving under its own power after repairs.
Martin E. Hansen
GARIBALDI, Ore. – A week of good shop work is worth everything for a locomotive that hasn’t run since 1955.

That’s the story behind 2-4-4-2 No. 7 Skookum at the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad, where the full shop crew concentrated on the famous articulated to diagnose and correct a timing issue that prevented the locomotive from making a full debut during a photo charter in October.

Parts that had been bent on the low pressure engineer side were straightened, machined, and re-installed. Then the engine was towed in the yard to make sure all running gear parts were moving freely. Then a fire was lit and Skookum’s boiler brought up to working pressure of 200 psi.

Team Skookum diagnosed the problems suffered by Skookum’s low pressure engine as a timing issue that actually originating in the high pressure engine valve train. Once this was corrected with new keys made to set the high pressure eccentrics and installed, the bind in the low pressure mechanism went away, and Skookum was ready to be tested.

With the sun beginning to set in Garibaldi, Ore., on Thursday, Skookum was back together and was at full boiler pressure. All her running gear parts were back on and she was ready to roll. With OCSR CMO Scott Wickert in her cab, Skookum was put through her paces first up and down the yard track and then out on the Oregon Coast main line out of town along the bay. She worked flawlessly.

In the coming weeks there still are additional small items on Skookum that will be addressed by the shop crews, but this was another big milestone for her return to full operation.

There still are a few tickets left for the second and last Trains Magazine-sponsored Skookum photo charter in March (this coincides with Winterail). If you miss snapping up one of these tickets, you will regret it as this may be the last time to see and photograph Skookum in her natural environment along the rivers and in the forests of the Pacific Northwest. Tickets are available by calling Oregon Coast Scenic at 503-842-7972.

To ready more about Skookum, pick up the October 2018 issue.
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