Frisco 1522: What it took to restore

Discussion in '1500 Class Mountains' started by Frisco152251, Nov 17, 2014.

  1. Frisco152251

    Frisco152251 Member

    I am starting this thread because I feel that having a nice place to keep information about the restoration of Frisco 1522 on the Frisco forums is a must. The SLSTA members are getting older every day, and their knowledge might be fleeting, so we should be asking our questions now while we still can!

    This thread is for asking questions about Frisco 1522’s restoration/maintenance during operation by the St. Louis Steam Train Association, and for any former members/helpers to clarify any questions we might have.

    Questions:
    1.What was your starting budget for the restoration?
    a.Was this money gathered from donations, or personal assets?​
    2.How did the SLSTA members come together?
    a.Who decided to restore a Steam Locomotive?​

    ThomasF.
    :D
     
  2. frisco1522

    frisco1522 Staff Member Staff Member

    In 1985, Pat Cravens and Wellie Lazier approached Doc Roberts, the director of the Museum and asked about restoring an engine to operation. They looked at several engines and picked 1522 for it's size, local connection to St. Louis. They did a cosmetic restoration effort on the N&W 2156, preparing it for display at Union Station and were given permission to do the 1522.
    Pat had been involved in restoration of an engine or two up east and had some experience with it. He developed a scope of work and approximate needs and then assembled a "shopping list" of skill sets needed to bring it off and asked people who possessed these if they wanted to be involved. Someone had recommended me because of my rabid Frisco steam knowledge and my machining/tool making background. We had an Ameren high pressure boiler
    welder, I convinced a couple other folks where I worked to get involved. We started on 9-15-85 and as word got out, other folks started showing up. We had attorneys, a doctor and various other folks involved.
    At first, the Transport Museum Association was paying the bills. Many local companies got involved through "in-kind" donations of materials and labor.
    Eventually, the St. Louis Steam Train Association was formed and obtained a 501 (c) (3) status and that helped raise finances through donations and memberships. The local NRHS chapter helped from time to time.
    In 1988 we were up and running. I was appointed Chief Mechanical Officer for the locomotive, three of us were certified by the FRA as engineers. The SLSTA was recognized by the FRA as a "railroad". My responsibility was assigning tasks for maintenance purposes and filing the Federal reports and scheduling inspections.
    The rest is history .
     
  3. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    Holy cow! I had no idea. I'm very impressed and my hat's off to you, Don.
     
  4. Frisco152251

    Frisco152251 Member

    Wow! That's amazing! How did you do all of this without the internet as big as it is today? (i.e. acquiring members, acquiring materials, contacting railroads/FRA) It just seems like too much for, what I think was the 20+ of you guys back in the 80's.

    Something else, did it ever reach a point where it seemed like it started becoming too much to handle? Were there ever fights or serious arguments between members?

    I'm loving these behind the scenes details! Keep em' coming!

    ThomasF.
    :D
     
  5. frisco1522

    frisco1522 Staff Member Staff Member

    The internet really was no help to us. We had some people come and work with us from time to time who were experienced in restorations, plus I developed a few friends in the "industry" who were a tremendous help to me.
    Our organization was run internally somewhat like a "Benevolent Dictatorship". We had a Board of Directors and officers and operated mostly like a business. Something of that magnitude cannot succeed by operating as a hippie commune where everybody "does their thing".
    It takes a good deal of supervision, a "boss" who understands how locomotive works, what needs to be done, when and how and materials needed and on and on.
    We had plenty of "worker bees" who learned their jobs well. If someone became a giant PITA, they were talked to. We really had a great group of folks in our crew.
     
  6. wpmoreland719

    wpmoreland719 Member Frisco.org Supporter

    I do locomotive checks for the Central Midland and the little Crab Orchard and Egyptian RR. While I'm sure that many of the FRA safety standards are the same for diesels and steam locomotives (i.e., wheel gauge tolerances, couplers and pilots at proper height, etc, etc,), I can only imagine that there is a lot more involved with a steam locomotive due that it has a boiler that has to be inspected as well. I would love to know some those additional safety requirements, but I'm sure that would take a good deal of time to explain.

    By the way, did you guys have a pit at the MOT where you could perform work under the 1522, or did you have another location for that? After crawling and scooting under the trucks of an SW1200 to gauge wheels and grease traction motor gears, I think every locomotive mechanic or maintenance person should have a good pit to work in, especially if they want to avoid trips to the chiropractor.

    Pat Moreland,
    Union Mo.
     
  7. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member Staff Member

    Hi Pat,
    Nice to hear from you! Sounds like your coming right along. Thats some kinda work to crawl on the ties to put crater grease in those gear cases. When I was a machinist in Alliance NE. They could spot 16 units at a time on the service pits and I was elected by virtue of my seniority to grease the traction motor (TM) gear cases many nights. What I remember most was the animal parts one could find on top of those traction motors.
    If you ever get a chance to see and work on traction motors of similar vintage units, you will see that the axles ride on journal box's with roller bearings in the truck frames, but the axles sit in huge brass machined plain bearings (in an oil bath) in the TM. kind of ironic that they ride on roller bearings, but where the 600-900 HP motors meet the drive axle via the pinion and bull gears, they use plain bearings, up to, and including, the SD60's. Some really heavy duty stuff.
    Great to hear from you Pat, I hope you have enjoyed your career thus far, please carry on.
     
  8. wpmoreland719

    wpmoreland719 Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Thanks, Tom. Good to hear from you too. This thread is about the 1522, so I'll keep it brief. Working under the engines without a pit is a pain in the rear, literally. Most of the inspections that I do are conducted in Lackland yard on 90 lb. rail, which makes it even more difficult to get under them. I try to do them in Union as often as possible, since the rail is 112 lb. here, not to mention I'm close to home when I finish. With the absence of a pit, the height of the rail makes a huge difference.

    Pat Moreland,
    Union Mo.
     
  9. frisco1522

    frisco1522 Staff Member Staff Member

    The guy who was director of the MOT had a pit put under one of the shop tracks, but since he was such a genius, it wasn't very usable due to depth and length, but it was better than rolling around in the dirt outside.
     
  10. wpmoreland719

    wpmoreland719 Member Frisco.org Supporter

    LOL, love the sarcasm! Was the MOT pit built specifically for the 1522, or for the equipment collection in general?

    Pat Moreland,
    Union Mo.
     
  11. frisco1522

    frisco1522 Staff Member Staff Member

    It was for the collection in general. Best thing he ever did was leave MOT and now they have a Director who is on top of it, has sense, listens to others and asks questions. She was very helpful to us when we were active even though we were a pain she gave us what we needed.
    It's in good hands now.
     
  12. Frisco152251

    Frisco152251 Member

    In the beginning, how did you guys manage to contact UP to let you leave to the mainline? I don't think they were listed in the Yellow Pages back in the day, so I wonder how you found their number...if it even took a phone call. Was it by snail-mail? Also, in your later years, did you have a contact in UP that let them know a little faster?

    Edit: How did you contact BNSF to let you take the Employee Special?

    ThomasF.
    :D
     

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