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Diesel Service Updates

Diesel Service Report – November 2, 2021

By November 2, 2021January 26th, 2022No Comments

Diesel Service Report, November 2nd, 2021

Day Out with Thomas Event (DOWT)

After skipping our annual DOWT event in 2020, it is back this year. It will be held November 6, 7, 11, 13, & 14. There will be two DOWT Diesel powered trains in operation. The mainline train will feature the blue Thomas the Tank engine and the Middleton siding train will feature Thomas’s green little brother, Percy. Of course, neither of those locomotives have real engines in them. As a result, Diesel locomotives will be powering the trains. SF108, our EMD FP45, will power the large mainline train and SP1006, our EMC SW1, will power the smaller train based out of Middleton siding. This shows Thomas and his little green brother as they rest up in Carbarn 7 prior to the event.



SF560 Restoration

After many months of work refurbishing the exhaust system in our Fairbanks Morse H12-44 locomotive, the Diesel engine has been reassembled by John Salvini and Richard Berk and tested for cooling water leaks. The engine was filled with water and pressure tested to see in there were any leaks that were not previously noticed. The engine passed the test and is now ready to have the exhaust snubbers (muffler & spark arrestor combinations) reinstalled. After they are installed, the governor and fuel plumbing will be replaced. Once that work is done, the complete cooling system will be refilled and the engine started. The cooling system fan and shutter controls have been rebuilt and are ready to use.

Once everything is ready to operate, the engine will be started and numerous checks made to ensure that cooling water pressures into and out of the water pump are approximately correct. When those numbers look correct, the engine will be load tested using our large resistor-based load bank. When that is underway, a lot of information will be gained regarding the system cooling capacities and the engine power ratings.

While the engine work has been progressing, Tom Platten has been needle gunning trucks, Tim Johnson and Bob Bray have been replacing brake cylinder cups, and Carl Pickus has been replacing rusted sheet metal and rebuilding cab floor boards. This picture shows the rear cab wall area that Carl had to partially replace due to severe rust problems.

Frank Kunsaitis removed the rear headlight housing for repair after vandals broke the glass lens. The headlight has been refurbished and is ready to reinstall. The headlight brass hinge pins had corroded so tightly to the aluminum housing hinges that the brass hinge pins sheared in two places as the headlight door was opened. The broken pins were drilled out and the new hinge pins are stainless steel so that problem shouldn’t happen again.

As the project has matured in its planning, the decision was made to remove both trucks for refurbishment and painting. But that won’t happen until after the Diesel engine testing is complete and we have had a chance to road test the locomotive.

There is a lingering memory of a bad journal box brass causing a “hot box” from years ago. So far, we haven’t driven the locomotive enough to prove the problem still is there or if it is, can we solve it by refitting the journal brass. In a worst case scenario, we could find the wheel axle assembly is damaged and have to replace it. If that turns out to be the case, we have spare wheel assemblies to chose a replacement from.

Painting of the locomotive is going to be a major task. There essentially is no paint left on the body. It fell off long ago and left bare metal to rust. Before any painting can be done, the complete body will need to be grit blasted to remove the rust and remnants of old paint. There appears to also be an appreciable amount of foundry scale on the metal from when the steel was originally made in a steel mill. We have a lot of testing and experimenting to do before we come up with a final solution for preparing the body for painting.

The DOWT Locomotives

Our SW1 locomotive will be pulling the Percy train for the DOWT event. The locomotive is painted gloss black so any dust on it shows up immediately. It has been a long time since it was washed so Frank took care of that last Saturday morning. He also topped off the engine lube oil and journal boxes getting it ready for the event. This locomotive really is one of the favorites of the Operations crews for switching operations.

It starts easy, is easy to control, has good visibility out the cab windows, and is small enough to get into tight places.

SF108, our beautiful EMD FP45 will be powering the large DOWT train on the mainline. It has been used for that purpose for a few years now and performs perfectly.


The SF5704 Bicentennial EMD SD45-2

Stephen Priest, the project founder and coordinator, reports that the restoration work of the body is almost complete, and that painting should be underway shortly. All this work is being done at Mid America Car Company in Kansas City. The actual delivery of the locomotive to SCRM has not been scheduled yet. When the project gets closer to completion, it will be announced as to when the journey will be made to Perris.

In the meantime, if you want to follow the refurbishment work, log into Stephen Priest’s page on Facebook. This is what his front page looks like, but you will need to search for “Stephen Priest” to find it.

– Dave Althaus

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