Chicago & North Western No. 1385
Restoration Journal

steam locomotives number 2, number 1385, and number 1

Steam Status Home Mid-Continent Home

Year: 2014 2013 2012 2011

Rest of Wheels Removed During New Years Eve Work Session

Dec. 31, 2013

One last work session took place during what has been a very productive year for the C&NW No. 1385. The New Years Eve work session involved the removal of the two remaining driver sets. The rear-most driver was removed prior to shipment to SPEC Machine. To accomplish this, the chassis had to be lifted. Crew members included: Steve Roudebush, Bruce Grill, Ed Ripp, Kyle Gehrke, Robert Hasheider with Brian Allen behind the camera.

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The remaining driving wheels were freed from the chassis during work December 31, 2013. Kyle Gehrke (left) and Ed Ripp (right) help gently roll a driver set out from under the frame. A single driver set weights more than many passenger automobiles. Click on the image to browse more photos from the day on photographer Brian Allen's Flickr album.


December 23rd Meeting and Work Session

Dec. 23, 2013

While many people are out trying to finish their last minute holiday shopping, our team gathered at SPEC Machine for a progress meeting and work session. View all the photos by clicking on the photo.

Project leaders and contractors meet to discuss progress to date and the challenges ahead. From left to right, Steve Sandberg - consultant, Bobbie Wagner - 1385 Task Force Member, Mike Wahl - 1385 Project Manager, Chris Zahrt - project volunteer, Steve Roudebush - SPEC Machine, Bruce Grill (background) - SPEC Machine. Photo by Brian Allen. Click on the image to browse more photos from the day on photographer Brian Allen's Flickr album.


C&NW No. 1385 Rebuild Video Released, New Running Gear Disassembly Photos Available

Dec. 21, 2013

A new video is now available which gives an introduction to the C&NW 1385 project and some of the people involved. Video Includes interviews with Steve Roudebush of Spec Machine (the shop performing running gear repairs); Mike Wahl, 1385 Restoration Project Manager; Kelly Bauman, Mid-Continenent's Superintendent of Operations, and Bobbie Wagner, 1385 Task Force Member and key project supporter. The video can be viewed below. Special thanks to Roger Bindl of HEM Productions for filming and editing the video.

Meanwhile, disassembly of the running gear continues at Spec Machine. Two new photos albums are available showcasing the work that took place on December 17 and 18. Recent work has centered on removing the binders as preparations are made to remove the two driving wheel sets still in place. Clicking on the two photos below will open the photo albums for their respective date.

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Disassembly of the running gear continued on December 17 and Mid-Continent member Brian Allen was on hand to take photographs. Click on image to browse more of Brian's photos from the day.


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Steve Roudebush works to get leverage while removing C&NW 1385's binders on December 18, 2013. Photo by Brian Allen. Click on image to browse more of Brian's photos from December 18.


Running Gear Gets Cleaned, Further Disassembly Underway

Dec. 15, 2013

The rebuilding process of Chicago & North Western No. 1385’s running gear is underway. While the R-1 class locomotive had seen considerable disassembly already at North Freedom, further disassembly remained the first order of business on the running gear at its temporary home at Spec Machine in Middleton, WI.

Before starting, the entire running gear received a thorough cleaning. The parts need to be clean in order to allow for accurate inspections moving forward. The 1385 was pulled outside the shop on temporary track for the cleaning to take place on Dec. 2nd.

On Dec. 6 and 7, members of the 1385 Steam Task Force joined employees of Spec Machine  to remove the brake rigging, valve gear and rods. After being removed, each part had an aluminum tag with the original C&NW part numbers then attached. Mike Wahl, Project Manager elaborates:

We were able to determine the original part numbers from the C&NW arrangement and layout drawings we were able to obtain from Lake State Railway Historical Association.  Not only have we been able to obtain these arrangement and layout drawings, but also many details drawings of the parts.  On items like the brake and spring rigging, we have a complete set of detailed drawings with the exception of one or two drawings.  These will be extremely helpful in the rebuild process.

The next steps are to drop the wedges and remove the binders, pistons, rods and crossheads and prepare for the lift to remove the 1st and 2nd wheel sets.  Once the wheel sets are out we will remove the rest of the spring rigging and begin preparation for inspection and measurement of the frame.

On the project fundraising front, the goal set earlier this year of raising enough donations to complete the $250,000 Wagner Foundation challenge grant by the end of 2013 is very close to being attained. With 16 days left in 2013, less than $8,500 of the challenge grant remains unmatched. For anyone wishing to have their donation matched dollar-for-dollar, this is the time to act!

NOTE: Clicking either photo below will link to the corresponding photo album with more images from that day.

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C&NW 1385's running gear gets steam cleaned on December 2, 2013 in preparation of further disassembly and inspections. Photo by Brian Allen. Click on image to browse more of Brian's photos from the day.


Dec 06 and Dec 07 2013 _ working on CNW 1385 at SPEC Machine

An overhead crane and a good deal of muscle are used to remove one of 1385's rods on December 7, 2013. Photo by Brian Allen. Click on image to browse more of Brian's photos from the day.


C&NW 1385 Task Force is Seeking Photos, Videos, Artifacts and More

Dec. 4, 2013

You can help restore Chicago & North Western No. 1385 to service. How? By sharing any images you control the rights to, moving or still, in nearly any format. Mid-Continent Railway Museum's 1385 rebuild Task Force is looking for your help in creating displays for public viewing showing the history and life of Mid-Continent's most famous locomotive.

We are interested in all types of visuals, posters, postcards, photos, video, movies (yes film), paperwork, blueprints, C&NW materials - any and all items that could be connected to the working life of the 1385. We want to tell the story of the life and use of this engine both on the C&NW and at Mid-Continent Railway Museum. Your images will help tell that story.

Graphic Designer and MCRM member Randy Long has offered to scan and then return these items. He can turn just about anything; prints, slides, negatives (color and B&W) and printed materials, into a digital image and can photograph other artifacts that you may have.

Randy can be reached at:

Randy Long
Long & Associates Creative Services
212 East Main Street
Durand, IL 61024

Email:
Phone: 815-978-6673 (Please Note: Phone number shown is for Long & Associates Creative Services. For general museum inquiries, please call Mid-Continent directly at 608-522-4261 or 800-930-1385)

The Task Force would like to thank you in advance for your help and support in bring Mid-Continent Railway Museum's and one of the Midwest's most famous locomotive back to life. With your help you'll soon be able to once more hear that Whistle On the Wind.


Rebuilt Tender Arrives at Mid-Continent, Restoration Moves on to Next Phase

Nov. 18, 2013

This past weekend featured a buzz of activity on C&NW 1385. The tender tank, new (former freight car) trucks and frame were loaded first thing Friday morning (11/15) at DRM Industries. It was then trucked to Mid-Continent where a crane was waiting to place them under the rebuilt display structure north of the depot which also houses the Shay and narrow gauge boxcar.

While the wheels and frame were being placed, a second tractor-trailer arrived with the rebuilt tender tank. Beginnings around 11:30 a.m., the tender tank was moved into position and lowered onto the frame. Even though the tender is at North Freedom, is not quite done. Grab irons need installation, the rear headlight needs to be installed, the tank hold-down brackets need to be installed and bolted tight, and the tank interior needs the protective coating applied. Final touches will need to be completed when the tender is married to the locomotive. For now, it will enjoy prominent position under a covered display area while it waits.

New CNW 1385 Tender_Tank install 11.15.2013.11

Photo by Brian Allen. Click on image to browse Brian's entire Flickr album from the day.

The work on C&NW 1385 continued throughout the weekend. On Saturday loose parts were rounded up from their storage places and placed on shipping pallets. Then on Sunday, the crane was at work again, this time lifting the C&NW 1385's running gear onto trucks for delivery to Spec Machine in Middleton, Wisconsin for restoration work there. The frame and two sets of driving wheels were loaded onto the first trailer around 2:00 p.m. The immense weight of these components required that one set of driving wheels and and the leading truck (i.e. the small wheels in the front that help steer the locomotive through curves) be separated, temporarily converting the 4-6-0 locomotive into a 0-4-0 wheel configuration. Project volunteer Pete Deets explains:

That conversion wasn't by choice... On the day of the pick, the operator quit lifting at 84,000 lbs. and the running gear hadn't budged from the rails yet. They dropped the front truck and the operator stopped again at 79,000 lbs. without lifting off. The #3 rods and driver were dropped and the lift was made at about 72,000-74,000 lbs. The truck and driver came in at 10,000 lbs. apiece.

The first tangible evidence of restoration progress returning to Mid-Continent was enough to entice reg in al media to come report on the 1385's restoration, including a story by Capital Newspapers (publisher of Wisconsin State Journal) which includes interviews with Mike Wahl, Project Manager, and Don Meyer, former General Manager and now serve ring as the project's fundraising consultant. There is also a nice video report by NBC 15, Madison's NBC affiliate in which Pete Deets and DRM Industries' Matt Hillmer do a great job conveying the challenges of the restoration and uniqueness of the 1385.

Our Steam Task Force team deserves a hand for delivering on the first major component of the restoration. They have put in countless hours in the nearly 2-1/2 years since the Wagner Foundation grant was announced, resuming the restoration. There is an even greater amount of work yet to do as the tender is only the first step in the returning of the 1385 to service. Aside from the running gear work alluded to earlier, the cab is about half done at a Fond du Lac woodworking shop. The new boiler will begin to be built after all the required calculations are complete to create the Federal Railroad Administration Form 4.

For things to continue humming along, continued financial support is needed. Please consider visiting our donation page to learn how easy it is to support the C&NW 1385 restoration.

The General Electric 45-tonner positions C&NW 1385's running gear for being lifted by the crane. Richard Colby photo.

Mid-Continent volunteers prepare the running gear to be lifted off the rails. Richard Colby photo.

The running gear, minus one set of drivers and the pilot truck is lifted and about to be placed on a tractor-trailer for delivery to Spec Machine. The remaining wheels had to go on a second truck due to weight considerations. Richard Colby photo.

Volunteers finish securing a load of C&NW 1385 parts, destined to join the running gear at Spec Machine. Richard Colby photo.







Completed Tender Heading to Mid-Continent, Running Gear Heading Out

Nov. 12, 2013

There are three days of C&NW 1385 happenings planned for this weekend.

The delivery of the completed C&NW 1385 tender (which holds the locomotive's coal and water) is scheduled for this Friday, November 15th. It will be loaded at the contractor's shop in Lake Delton, Wis. in the A.M. hours and will arrive at Mid-Continent probably sometime mid-day or perhaps early afternoon. The finished tender will be placed on a display track for public display until the locomotive's restoration is complete.

On Saturday (11/16), volunteers will be gathering, organizing, labeling and palletizing C&NW 1385 parts in preparation for shipment to a contractor's shop.

Finally, on Sunday (11/17), the C&NW 1385's running gear will be loaded onto a truck and delivered to a Middleton, Wis. machine shop which will be performing the repairs to that portion of the locomotive.

comparison of original tender's poor condition to new tender tank


Tender Tank Lettering Complete

Oct. 27, 2013

Lettering on the new C&NW 1385 tender tank has now been completed. Only a few final details need to be finished on the tender deck, frame and trucks before the tender is fully completed and ready for shipment back to Mid-Continent.
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Now that the tender tank project has come nearly full circle, here is a photo showing the difference. The tender originally purchased with C&NW 1385 (shown in left photo) is believed to be the original tender mated with 1385 when built in 1907, although 1926 is the earliest documentation that has been found of the two together.

When C&NW 1385 ran for one year at Mid-Continent in 1963, the original tender was used. After that, 1385 was taken out of service until July 1973. In that time, the original tender was deemed "unserviceable". A leading volunteer on the project in 1971 was quotes as saying, "The tender is shot - completely." As a result, a replacement was found and purchased shortly thereafter. 

For the many years that 1385 operated at Mid-Continent and on excursion on the C&NW, it was not her original tender behind her, but rather a tender originally used by C&NW No. 1361. The replacement had a noticeably different coal pocket and was considerably smaller in capacity. The replacement held a mere 5,700 gallons of water compared to the original's 7,500 gallons. 

No longer in use, the original tender was parked at the end of Mid-Continent's track in the rock quarry. Flash flooding partially buried the tender in 1993 and it remained that way until dug out in 2002. After 9 more years of sitting outside, the result is what you see in the left hand photo. After being labeled "unserviceable" and "shot" in 1971, another 40 years out in the elements and being partially buried for a portion of that time caused further degredation. If the 1385 was to have a tender of its original size and shape, it would need to be built largely from scratch with the exception of a few components from the original that were still usable. This is what has taken place during 2012 and 2013 and the result is what you see in the right photo.

comparison of original tender's poor condition to new tender tank


Tender Tank Lettering In Progress

Oct. 26, 2013

This week featured more easily visible evidence of restoration work on C&NW No. 1385. Countless hours over the past year have been going into engineering design and review of the tender and boiler, but that is not something that produces nice pictures to share on Facebook. Lettering a tender, on the other hand, makes for a great photo opportunity and just so happens to be what took place this week.

After the tender returned from the painting contractor's shop early in the week, Mid-Continent's Owen Hughes headed over to the DRM Industries shop to begin lettering the new tender tank with the familiar Chicago & North Western System trademark.

Meanwhile, the tender deck was also being prepared. As indicated by the original C&NW drawing and specifications sheet, 2" white oak boards are being used. The timber was locally hewn by James Frazier & Sons Logging of Blue Water, WI. The decking still needs to have preservative treatments applied before the tender tank can be mounted to the deck.

Other final details are also in the process of being finished. The lower left photo shows the new bushing installed in the drawbar pin hole. The drawbar is what connects the locomotive to the tender (and the rest of the train).

four photos of tender painting and construction


Tender Back at DRM Industries for Lettering and Final Assembly

Oct. 23, 2013

The shiny new tender tank for Chicago & North Western No. 1385 moved recently from the paint shop back to the construction contractor's shop near Wisconsin Dells in preparation for final assembly. Lettering began being applied today and is expected to take about three days to complete. The tender is on schedule for a November delivery to the Mid-Continent Railway Museum grounds.

unlettered tender tank

Photo taken Oct. 22, 2013. Photo courtesy of Mike Wahl.


Boiler Lift

Oct. 17, 2013

This is what C&NW #1385 looks like without it's 30,000 lb. 1907 boiler. The boiler took a while to get off but eventually made it to the track vacated by Saginaw Timber No. 2's boiler earlier today. Thanks goes to all the volunteers with the projects today! The removal of the boiler from Chicago & North Western No. 1385 will allow better access to the running gear as well as the boiler for upcoming repairs.

A video of last week's boiler lift at Mid-Continent has now been posted to the museum's official YouTube channel.

Photos courtesy of Richard Colby. YouTube video courtesy of Randy Long.

preparing for boiler lift frame with boiler removed

Boiler Lift to Proceed Tomorrow

Oct. 16, 2013

Mid-Continent Railway Museum's steam restoration progress continues in a very noticeable way tomorrow (Oct. 17) with a crane coming to the museum to lift parts of two steam locomotives.

First, Saginaw Timber Company No. 2's boiler will be lifted on to the frame/running gear. This comes after successful early tests of the running gear in the preceding weeks. Reassembly and further testing will continue in the coming months.

Next, the boiler (along with smokebox and firebox) from C&NW No. 1385 will be removed from its frame/running gear. The boiler will be set down in the space next to the Engine House being vacated by No. 2's boiler.

This move marks a transition in the C&NW 1385 project from focusing on rebuilding the tender (which will be completed in the coming weeks) to working on the locomotive itself. The separation of the boiler from the frame/running gear will allow easier access to parts for restoration work and reverse engineering of replacement parts as the project moves forward.

Photo by Jeffrey Lentz.


C&NW Lettering on Tender Set to Begin

Oct. 15, 2013

In the next few days, the tender (fuel and water car) for steam locomotive Chicago & North Western No. 1385 will have lettering prepared and applied by volunteers Richard Dipping and Owen Hughes. The tender is anticipated to be returned to North Freedom and placed on display in November.

The 1944-1957 era C&NW "SYSTEM" monogram has been selected and a stencil prepared [see photo]. This was the monogram style in use when the locomotive was removed from C&NW's active roster in 1956 and was still on the locomotive when sold to Mid-Continent in 1961 back when Mid-Continent was still known as the Railway Historical Society of Milwaukee. C&NW went through a few other variations before returning to this monogram style from 1981 until purchased by the Union Pacific Railroad in 1995.

For an in-depth history of C&NW's trademarks/monograms, read the article "The Ball, the Bar, and the Badge: The Evolution of the Chicago & North Western Railway Company Trademark" in Volume 2013, No. 1 of the Chicago & North Western Railway Historical Society's publication "North Western Lines".

Photo courtesy of Richard Dipping.


Tender Nearing Completion

June 3, 2013

Back in May, members of the C&NW #1385 Steam Task Force inspected the tender tank (the car that carries the locomotive's fuel and water) progress at DRM Industries in Lake Delton, Wis. for what turned out to be the last time before it was to be sandblasted, cleaned & painted inside and out.  The last details to be completed will be the addition of anti-slip dots on the steps and shoveling deck, drilling of an anti-siphon vent in one water fill pipe and attachments for the brackets for the electrical conduit.  This will culminate over 15 months of work on the tank.

There are still other goals to accomplish which will be much easier with the tank out of the way.  These include repair work on the drawbar pocket and pin, draft gear pocket and fitting of the white oak decking that goes on the frame under the tank.

The replacement trucks purchased for the tender are in Lake Delton, waiting to go under the frame so any necessary adjustment of height can be made where the tender can be more easily handled.  When the tender is ready to roll it will be shipped back to North Freedom to receive lettering and go on public display. It is planned for this to occur around the end of August 2013.

Meanwhile, fundraising efforts continue. The Wagner Foundation’s $250,000 challenge grant has now been over 70% matched through the generosity of many, many donors. That positive momentum and spirit of generosity will need to continue for the C&NW #1385 project to progress. With the tender rebuild nearing completion, the boiler represents the next major hurdle and it will most certainly be the single most expensive portion of the 1385’s restoration.


View of top of tender. Accessories such as ladders, tank hatch, and electrical conduit have been added and are awaiting paint. Photo courtesy DRM Industries.


View of coal pocket from atop tender tank. Photo courtesy of DRM Industries.


C&NW No. 1385: 106 Years Young

March 30, 2013

Today is the locomotive’s 106th birthday so we are celebrating with a restoration update!

The R-1’s tender tank is complete and ready for paint. The frame is also done and is in primer paint. In mid-February 2013, Mid-Continent volunteer Jim Connor delivered the deck tender boards to DRM Industries. Unfortunately, no new photos are available to post at this time, but you can view images posted earlier of the construction of the new tender tank on Facebook, a sampling of which is shown below.

One item of debate had been over whether to attempt to salvage the trucks. The trucks had largely sat idle with the tender since 1973 when the tender from steam pile driver X263579 was substituted for use with the 1385. Most people’s image of the appearance of the 1385 tender is actually the X263579. The old tender was stored at end of track for nearly 30 years at Quartzite Lake where it eventually became buried in mud and debris caused by flash flooding in 1993. The trucks remained largely buried until the tender’s rescue in April 2002 [see December 2011 issue of Mid-Continent Railway Gazette for the rescue story]. Under guidance from Steve Sandberg, new project consultant, it was determined that seeking “new” used trucks during the current restor ai ton was a better option.

Tender trucks dug out of the mud and rock in 2002. The decision was recently made to find replacements.


Detail of old tender truck journal box. Being buried in mud for nine years was not kind to them.


Detail of old tender truck journal box.

Two used serviceable trucks were purchased in mid-February 2013. They had previously been used on a freight car. One truck had all four casting marks and the other had three. This tells us how many times the trucks have been rebuilt. When all four casting marks are removed, the truck is scrap. The wheels will be pressed off and new ones pressed on.

The draft gear resides inside the coupler assembly of the tender to help dissipate the shock of coupling into a string of cars or trying to start them. It also helps smooth out the forces through the coupler as when going down the track. In late 2012, Mid-Continent was seeking a replacement for the tender’s draft gear. As it would turn out, Miner, the manufacturer of the original draft gear used on the tender, was seeking old draft gears for their corporate museum. The draft gear found on the 1385’s tender was a model which they lacked in their collection. Discussions between the Steam Task Force and Miner led to a trade arrangement in which Miner supplied a more modern style draft gear in trade for the old one.

Brake cylinder, coupler and yoke removed from the C&NW 1385 tender, ready to be sent to Miner to appear in their museum.


The cylindrical device is the new draft gear. It contains a friction clutch and extremely heavy duty springs to absorb impact in either direction and even out the pulling and braking forces.

The plan is to finish the tender and move it to North Freedom for display. This will offer a visible sign of progress on the project. With most ongoing work either taking place off-site or being of the engineering and design variety, there has been little thus far for visitors to Mid-Continent to actually see.

As for non-tender developments, the Steam Task Force is continuing to work on boiler engineering with nothing specific to report at this time. Meanwhile, work on the cab has picked up. Boards have been milled for the cab roof. Investigations are also taking place into finding a suitable replacement for the original Lehon Mule Hide covering for the cab roof.

Milled boards for the cab roof. Photo courtesy Jim Hackbarth.


Lehon Mule Hide advertisement from 1915. Source: Railway Age Gazette, Vol. 59.

As for overall project status, there is still much work to do. The biggest cost area, the boiler, still lies before us. Work is also yet to begin on the running gear. Roughly 70% of the Wagner Foundation’s $250,000 challenge grant has now been met by matching donations since the challenge began in June 2011. Despite this progress, the project will still require roughly $1 million in additional donations in order to cover the estimated total cost for the project. That is why YOUR help is needed. The sooner we are able to meet this fundraising challenge, the sooner everyone will be able to enjoy seeing 1385 under steam. Anyone wishing to make a gift to the 1385 restoration can do so directly on our new donation webpage or can find instructions there for how to mail your donation. Finally, THANK YOU to everyone who has already donated! We couldn't have gotten this far without your help!


Year: 2014 2013 2012 2011

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Saginaw Timber
Company No. 2
Chicago & North
Western No. 1385
Western Coal &
Coke No. 1