Southern Pacific 9010
Front End Work
-- Update January 25, 2010 --
There are 4 major areas needing repair on the pilot. The two rips in the bottom edge were caused by running the locomotive into wheels stops which were firmly attached to the end of storage tracks. The bends in the center and the bend in the step were caused by the common event of striking something hard between the rails. Liberal applications of cutting, forming, welding, heating, jacking and banging brought the pilot back to a presentable condition. Oh, and that center "divot" is not a dent, like we first thought. It is actually a clearance that KM applied to the entire second batch, 9010 - 9017. It took some sleuthing to discover that 9010's plow was actually banged up by design!
The rips -
- the "divot" -
- the step -
- and the pilot, almost ready to paint.
Some may ask, "why didn't you fix the bends at the center bottom of the pilot?" My answer is that we are representing the 9010 at a day in its service life, not the day it came off the ship. If we were making it look brand new, many other defects such as the welded patches in the fuel tank would also have to be repaired. The 9010 is, after all, a used locomotive.
In addition to the work above, the front end was given a coat of epoxy primer and then the lower part and the back side of the pilot were painted with SP Dark Lark Gray so when the pilot is mounted, there will not be any unpainted areas. The cut levers were temporarily mounted to wooden brackets to allow painting the back and underside of the assemblies. The paint is a catalyzed polyurethane custom mixed to match a Southern Pacific color chip for Dark Lark Gray.
And later that week, we finished the wiring to the MU box and then mounted the the cut levers and the pilot to the front end. "Bondo Dan" Furtado came down to work his magic on some scars on the pilot and then the entire front end was given a coat of paint. The front end and pilot will receive another coat when the construction of the new hand rails is finished. Unfortunately, the 9010 has to leave the shop building for about a month so the Steamies can work on some freight cars for an upcoming event so work will start on the front end hand rails.
According to visiting mad man Bob Zenk, "beauty is in the details". The welding scars seen in photo 1 and 4 are a result of SP's very first modification; the raising of the MU box. We decided to keep them.
-- Update February 10, 2010 --
The front hand rail assemblies are of interesting construction. A short bar has its ends turned down slightly and inserted in holes in the vertical members. The two are welded together and the welded joint is ground flush. There is a little heating and bending involved in the assemblies but unfortunately, no banging (my favorite part). We removed the parts from the rear end to serve as patterns.
And now, we have a completed assembly which includes the little latch for the MU step.
Our blacksmith, Joe Man is working on forging the ends on the hand rails that attach from the front end to the hand rail assemblies. Watching him work the metal is a real treat.
With the locomotive outside for a while and the hand rail assemblies completed, work will resume on the nose.
-- Update March 12, 2010 --
Once back in the barn, Gerry turned his efforts toward cleaning out the front sand boxes. When they were plated over, the sand inside turned into something resembling a refrigerator experiment.
-- Update April 28, 2010 --
Our attention turned to finishing the handrails that Joe Mann forged. The compound bend at the bottom of the bars were a particularly interesting challenge. With the installation of the other hand rail, reconstruction of the front end sheet is done. There are a few details like MU hoses and paint that will be added at a later date.
-- Update May 21, 2010 --
I have been ignoring the two missing front sand box mounts for a long time because their construction seemed complex and the condition of the remaining metal was so bad. But, the day came when I decided to dig in and figure out what to do. Both front boxes had their mounting plates completely removed during camera car conversion so there was no help there. I opened up the left rear box and found that the majority of the plate was intact, at least enough for me to measure the angle of the plate which turned out to be 65 degrees. With that in mind and having opened up the two front cavities, the work began by cutting out the rotten triangular shaped pieces at the ends of the openings. New pieces were fabricated, tacked into place and then dimensions were taken for the base plates which were cut and test fitted. Bob Zenk had created a drawing showing dimensions of these plates which was a tremendous help.
The plates received their 28 - 1/2" holes and the central opening. Plus, covers were cut and drilled. These pieces will serve to cover the openings in the bases and will eventually be the mounting flanges for the sand boxes. The angle iron shown in the center 2 photos was bolted to the plate to keep it flat during the welding process. Once that was completed, these two boxes were as done as they could get for now. There are only 6 more to do - some day. As it turned out, this was not too bad a job with a lot of cutting, drilling and fitting but unfortunately, no hitting which is usually my favorite part.
While working on the right front corner, I welded a patch into the hole that was left when the hand brake (relocated here by the SP in 1968) was removed during Camera Car conversion. The newly formed bracket to the left of the sand box lid is for a front side hand rail stanchion.
-- Update July 03, 2010 --
There has been work on the two missing front hand rails. The first order of business was to make replacements for the two stanchions that support the railing. I removed part of the railing behind the cab and put the new bar through both of the supports which allowed me to hang the stanchion from the bar. By doing this, I was able to align the stanchion to the mounting bracket and bend the top of the stanchion as required. The stanchions are actually EMD parts that were lengthened for this application. There will be more work on them once the end of the bars are forged to make the mounting pads that are bolted to the body next to the steps. I also worked on the extension angles that will support the walkway extensions.
-- Update July 17, 2010 --
Rich has been busy with the cup brush cleaning all the metal surfaces on the front deck. He then applied a coat of a rust converting chemical. The surface is now ready for the new aluminum deck plates which have yet to be made.
-- Update November 28, 2010 --
Joe finished the front end vertical hand rails. His talent with forge and steel continues to amaze me.
-- Update February 01, 2011 --
We finally managed to repair the left front pilot step that had a rather nasty bash. Our machinist Bill located a product called "Alumiweld" which is much like brazing, only for aluminum. With some bending and hitting and Bill's application of the Alumiweld, the step looks nearly like new and is back in place on the pilot.
-- Update May 04, 2012 --
Bill has been working on the new aluminum walkway plates for the front end. He has done a wonderful job and all the plates fit nicely.
At this point, the plates were removed and sent off to the sand blaster for a light dusting to make them match the "patina" of the other aluminum plates on the walkways. I gave the deck surface a coat of the same water tank coating agent we used on the cable ducts down the fireman's side. When the plates came back, Bill bolted them down thus completing one more part of the project. He then turned his attention to the small aluminum cover for the front MU step. It was completed and installed in short order. Then Bill completed making the front end walkway extensions. They were taken to the bead blaster and given the same "patina" as the floor plates.
-- Update October 25, 2012 --
Now that the new nose is in place, we were left with only finish painting of the body and hand rails to look foward to. I wish we could have painted the rest of the gray before the nose went on but the stars would not align for that which led to a lot of masking. But once the painting was done, the hand rails and grab irons were painted white and the decorative rings were installed around the step well light holes. For all intents, the front end of the 9010 is done. Granted, we need sand boxes, MU hoses and another coat of paint on the front sheet but that will come in time.