Bessemer & Lake Erie No.643 Update
The winter months and holidays have slowed the movement of B&LE #643 running gear and boiler arrival to the Roundhouse. However, behind the scenes efforts continue to work out all the intricacies with local and state authorities for using roadways. Several decisions are also being evaluated regarding the use of railroad flat cars. Labor and cost are driving factors in this decision making. We feel that work should be resuming shortly, weather permitting.
Meanwhile the No.643 tender was inspected and repaired as needed. The coal bunker and stoker auger system has been thoroughly cleaned of coal, scaled rust and other debris. This area was painted with good a rust preventive primer and finish coated with gloss black. The upper elements of the tender that were removed to lower the height for road travel have been carefully reinstalled in their original locations.
The use of the original stoker motor was very beneficial in helping clean the bunker out. We were very pleased with its performance as it took little effort to start up and run flawlessly for several days of use.
The Brakeman’s cabin, also known as the “doghouse”, was repaired while it was removed, including the rusted areas in the well area in which it sits. After several good coats of paint in the well, the doghouse was re-bolted to the tender deck.
The bottom of the tender cistern has eight washout plugs and these have been removed and the water compartment is currently receiving a complete descaling and flushing out of loose scale and flaked rust. The tender journals looked very well maintained but were still cleaned and had fresh oil applied. Plans are in place for the entire tender body to be sandblasted to grey metal and repainted using high quality industrial paint.
In conclusion, Age of Steam Roundhouse Museum would like to thank all of you that have donated to, offered support for, and well wishes for this complicated yet exciting project.
More updates will be forthcoming as we gain momentum in the next phase.